BCM launches swimming programme
DROWNINGS are listed as one of the top causes of unnatural death among children in South Africa.
Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) has several suburbs and townships that are near or close to bodies of water which makes the life skill of swimming essential.
Every summer, thousands of visitors flock to the beaches in the metro and sadly so many families go back home with one of their loved ones wrapped in a body bag.
To prevent any more of these tragedies, the metro and its “sister city” in Germany, Leiden, have established a water safety project in January last year where youngsters from Isibindi Child and Youth Care and Safe Park in Duncan Village were given introductory swimming lessons and trained on water safety.
This year, the programme continues with a six-month swimming programme where 20 youngsters from the Safe Park and another 20 from Scenery Park, aged between nine and 15, will be equipped with water safety skills.
The group from Scenery Park are children who were involved in the drowning tragedy at the Umzonyana Dam, which claimed a young life in February this year.
The programme will ensure that the identified participants are able to practise water safety activities in different aquatic environments and are able to swim and surf.
BCMM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said: “It is our aim that the life skill of swimming is imparted to as many children as possible and that they are exposed to the different forms of water sport, including swimming, diving and surfing, without fear.”
Buffalo City and the City of Leiden will spend a total of R137 550 towards the project-covering costs that include swimming equipment and gear, transport to the venue and salaries for the project team.
The launch, which was attended by BCM executive mayor Xola Pakati, portfolio head councillor Xolani Witbooi and the BCM sports committee, was held at the Orient Pool yesterday.