Coast KZN

12 Feb 2021

Bathing beaches opened for swimming

Bianca Lalbahadur (South Coast Sun)

Residents were left smiling from ear to ear following the relaxation of beach and swimming regulations recently. Bathing beaches were opened, but swimming was prohibited initially. This lead to questions being raised by residents. Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of changed lockdown regulations, the shark nets, which were removed during lockdown, were reintroduced. This, coupled with extremely murky sea conditions that seriously hampered visibility and safety, forced a decision to only open bathing beaches for swimming from Saturday, 6 February.

Unlike previously when lifeguards were caught off guard by lockdown relaxation announcements, fitness and compliance was maintained throughout the period. All services are available with immediate effect.

“While our beaches are essentially ready to receive patrons, albeit in line with certain social distancing and other restrictions that are not necessarily Covid-19 related; murky water, due to wash down from rivers after the rain, could influence the opening. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the city’s 54 public swimming pools,” said ward 97 councillor, André Beetge.

Public pools remain closed due to incomplete pre-Covid-19 construction or repairs. However, according to Beetge, the reason for the majority of the pools not opening, is the city failing to put in place the necessary chemical supply contracts since the start of the 2020/ 21 financial year.

“The situation is really unacceptable, as there has been ample time to get these contracts addressed or make alternative arrangements. Despite the relevant department confirming an aquatic safety roll-out plan that went as far as listing the number of people allowed in each individual pool to conform with Covid-19 regulations during the first week of February.  Sources reveal that absolutely nothing has changed, in fact, none of the initial 28 pools (including Dakota Tiger Rocks, Inyoni, Winklespruit and Illovo), earmarked for opening a week ago, has transpired. Enquiries prior going to press, however, indicate that the matter still remains subject to supply chain management procedures with it only scheduled to be decided by the bid adjudication committee (BAC) in the third week of February.  Yet, with no clarity on the delivery of chemicals previously approved in anticipation of the December 2020 festive season. It would seem residents are going to have to wait just a little longer before they can enjoy the pleasure of the municipal swimming pools.”