Swimming still off limits at KZN beaches

The beach at Salt Rock on the KZN North Coast
The beach at Salt Rock on the KZN North Coast
Picture: Booking.com

DESPITE most beaches on KwaZulu-Natal’s coastline being officially still closed, holidaymakers and residents have made the most of the recent warm weather to spend time in the sun and even swim.

Legally these beaches will only be reopened in October.

KwaDukuza Municipality, under which many of the north coast beaches fall, has yet to open the beaches for bathing, as they are still busy with safety protocols.

KwaDukuza municipal spokesperson Sipho Mkhize confirmed this week that swimming in the sea is not yet allowed.

“There are discussions to resume this activity from the beginning of October 2020. In the interim the municipality is procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) that would make it easier for lifeguards to perform rescues as well as beefing up the manpower at the bathing beaches.”

No shark nets in place

This week, an advertisement has gone out from the municipality, calling for 20 lifeguards for the coming months with the festive season approaching. Mkhize said there are also no shark nets in the water. He said the Natal Sharks Board is currently engaged with reinstalling their safety gear.

He said apart from the risk of sharks in the water, bathers risk drowning with no lifeguards on duty on the beaches.

“People must learn that the threat is not only sharks at sea.

“Should someone drown or have any complication we would be forced to wait for ambulance and rescue services,” he said.

He said:

“Our plea to halt bathing is not because we disregard the need to bathe but it is against safety measures that ought to be deployed in the face of the pandemic.”

“Our plea to halt bathing is not because we disregard the need to bathe but it is against safety measures that ought to be deployed in the face of the pandemic.”

eThekwini Municipality also confirmed earlier this month in a statement that its beaches will only reopen officially for swimming on October 1.

Of the City’s 52 swimming pools, 19 that had met all Covid-19 requirements were reopened to the public. The remainder of the pools were still going through repairs and maintenance.

“The beach has been opened in phases for walking, jogging and surfing since lockdown level 3. Swimming is still prohibited and will only be allowed from 1 October.”

Shark safety nets are being installed by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board.

“Lifeguards servicing both pools and beaches are currently undergoing fitness training in preparation of their duties,” the municipality said.

On the South Coast people were also making the most of the summery weather and a resident said he had seen people swimming.

• newsed@witness.co.za
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