Are Durban beaches really ready, Mr. Mayor?

Issued by Councillor Nicole Bollman – DA eThekwini Councillor
24 Nov 2022 in Press Statements

The DA in eThekwini today calls on the Head of Water and Sanitation, Mr. Ednick Msweli to be transparent in his dealings with the public, and not mislead them to believe that its ‘business as usual’. Results of the various water tests in the City should be made public and the head of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Dr. Simphiwe Ndlovu must ensure that our Professional Lifeguards are adequately equipped to get the job done.

This follows public announcements made by Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda that the opening of the uMhlanga beaches is imminent due to satisfactory water quality readings and the long-awaited functionality of the Ohlange Sewage Pump Station in Blackburn Village.

Whether this misinformation to the public is deliberate or unintentional, an oversight conducted yesterday morning concluded that raw effluent is still pouring from various ‘hot-spot’ areas along the Ohlange River. New outflows are evident and the Ohlange sewage pump station lies dormant, only to become functional next week, a short three days from the December 1st ‘Grand re-opening’.

There are currently millions of litres of raw, polluted water contained in the uMhlanga Lagoon just north of one of the suburb’s main tourist beaches. Concerns remain as to the ecological and health related catastrophe awaiting unassuming bathers whether in uMhlanga or further up the coast at uMdloti when this water finally breaks through.

The DA cannot confirm nor accept the reopening of beaches until such time as the various outflows are contained. We need to ensure that the Ohlange sewage pump station is fully operational and that no further issues arise from potential threats along the line once the system has been ‘turned on’.

Furthermore, information at hand is that the Professional Lifeguards stationed at the three swimming beaches are not sufficiently equipped with operational equipment to effectively perform their duties. Should there be a crisis in the water there would be a further risk to our bathers.