Coast KZN

27 Aug 2020

Lockdown regulations permit exercise and picnics at the beach, but swimming remains banned

Sboniso Dlamini (North Coast Courier) Picture: Lockdown level 2 regulations allow us back onto the beach – but not into the water!

KwaDukuza lifeguard superintendent Bongani Xulu said the beaches were open for “outdoor activities”, which do not include swimming.  “You can have picnics, exercise or just relax on the sand but swimming is strictly prohibited at this point,” said Xulu. The reason for this, he said, was because no shark nets were installed and lifeguards cannot wear personal protective equipment if they are called to help swimmers in distress.

KwaDukuza lifeguard superintendent, Bongani Xulu.

“We  are treating everyone as Covid-19 patients and if a lifeguard has to go into the water to rescue someone, that means there will be physical contact and you cannot wear a mask while you are in the water. Both you and the lifeguard will be at risk,” said Xulu.

He said KwaDukuza municipality currently has 2 lifeguards per beach during lockdown, instead of the usual 4.

“These rules apply across the province, not only KwaDukuza. It is not that we denying people the right to swim: there are the rules in place for your safety and they should be respected,” said Xulu.

Holidaymaker Peter de Bruin who was in Ballito from Johannesburg this past weekend, said he saw someone chasing people who were not swimming off the beach on Monday.

“One of the lifeguards must be confused, because the others allow people to sit at the beach and then the next day, people are being chased off the beach,” said De Bruin.

These claims were dismissed by Xulu who said there was no way lifeguards would chase people away from the beach because they are not allowed to do so.

“Even during the other levels of lockdown, people  went to the beach and at no stage did we chase them away. Law enforcement agencies are the ones authorized to do that,” said Xulu. He said lifeguards did their best to inform beachgoers of the rules, and that if people did swim, they did so at their own risk.