Coast KZN

09 Oct 2021

Durban North resident explores legal options over beach closure

(Northglen News) Picture: The beach closures along Durban, due to malfunctioning sewage pump stations, has negatively affected business owners like Jean-Marc Tostee.

A Durban businessman has explored legal options with his attorney about opening a possible class action suit against the eThekwini Municipality.

Durban North resident, Jean-Marc Tostee, who owns a surf shop in the city, said this was because of the closure of several beaches on Durban’s golden mile over the long weekend at the end of September. According to the City, several central beaches were temporarily closed due to the high level of E. coli and were subsequently reopened following an outcry from residents.

“We’ve know there is a problem for a long time. We’ve been told as business owners that rain often leads to these sewage overflows or leaks but it was highlighted last year and still nothing has been done to address it. It almost feels like the City waits to be reactive rather than proactive to fix and maintain the aging infrastructure.

“I feel the municipality has not maintained sewage pump stations and this negligence has led to beach closures. The closures of the beaches has led to a loss of income to my business and the surrounding surf industry impacted by surfing and swimming being banned and the loss of recreational use of our public space to thousands of beachgoers. I have sought legal advice and the option of a class action lawsuit. We have spoken about the best way forward with the best result, so that decision is yet to be determined. What is clear is the City does react when there is an outcry,” Tostee said.

Municipal Spokesman Msawakhe Mayisela said that theft and vandalism has led to the pump stations malfunctioning.

“Sewage pumps that were responsible for the high-level bacteria at beaches, have been fixed. Vandalism is one of the reasons that led to the malfunctioning of the pumps. The City appeals to the public to report any criminal activity or vandalism on City’s infrastructure. Beaches in the north of Umgeni River to Salt Rock remain closed. The public is implored to be patient as the closure of these beaches is in the interest of their safety,” Mayisela said.