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According to the Dolphin Coast Conservancy‘s (DCC) Di Jones, for many years KDM employed a beach manager who could act as a central point for reporting issues such as bins, litter on beaches, benches, slipways, lifeguards, ablution blocks, lights not working in ablution blocks, stairs down to beaches not being in good repair, etc.
“That was the beach manager. He then obviously then made out a worksheet and delegated the concern to whichever department was responsible, e.g. plumbing (which falls under Civils), beach cleaning (which falls under Waste Management) and so on,” said Jones.
In days gone by it was Steve Honneysett who filled the role of beach manager. Asked why the post had been closed, KDM spokesperson Siphi Mkhize said that was not the case.
“Council has never closed the beach manager post, however Council resolved to separate Municipal Services into two Business Units, namely ‘Community Safety,’ and ‘Community Services and Public Amenities’.”
Mkhize said that in terms of the separation of duties, Honneysett was now responsible for Marine Safety, which falls within Community Safety Business Unit.
“He is still responsible to take concerns from the public regarding anything to do with beaches. It should further be recorded that the beach problems can be reported to Mr Steve Honneyssett or any other municipal official, any official is well placed to forward the same to the relevant division, the reconfiguration of the Business Units does not mean the public cannot still report beach challenges to Mr Steve Honneyssett.”
Mkhize told the Courier council had since approved the position of a Manager of Public Amenities (not beach manager) to be the line manager responsible for overall beach operations including issues of general upkeep, beach cleansing and maintenance, this post would fall within the Community Services and Public Amenities Business Unit.
Jones welcomed the move to appoint someone to take control of the beaches, saying: “For far too long now we have had a situation where nobody is taking responsibility for the overall management of what is surely the most valuable asset of KwaDukuza – our unique, beautiful beaches, which are free to all residents and visitors from all over the country. We have watched with dismay as the situation has gone from bad to worse, in some cases no action being taken on eroding accesses, malfunctioning ablutions, breaking of by-laws, etc.”
However, she was dismayed that the Dolphin Coast went through the festive period without this key post having been filled.
“Managing beach amenities is, indeed, a complicated issue, involving staff, cleaning schedules, collections, supplying of bins and plastic bags. However, co-operation is needed from other Departments within KDM, such as Electrical, Civils and so on, and without the appropriate co-operation and authority, it is unlikely that the situation is going to improve in the foreseeable future.
“As far as the Safety and Security side of the operations is concerned, the combined knowledge, expertise and passion of Steve Honneysett and Bongani Xulu (KDM lifeguard supervisor) brings us the best of the best as far as lifeguard services are concerned.
“We are lucky to have them.”