Sands of time run­ning out

Lack of ma­chin­ery might see Dur­ban un­able to pump enough sand for its beaches in time for the hol­i­days


IMAG­INE a beach with­out sand. Well, if Dur­ban can’t pump enough of it on to the beaches, that is what may hap­pen this hol­i­day sea­son.

The process falls un­der the city’s coastal en­gi­neer­ing de­part­ment. It keeps the beach look­ing good and pre­vents the waves from crash­ing onto the prom­e­nade.

How­ever, the city’s sand-pump­ing in­fra­struc­ture has ei­ther been de­mol­ished (in 2007) or the ma­chines that re­main are out of or­der.

Ear­lier this year, the city un­der­took the mam­moth task of re­plen­ish­ing the cen­tral beaches with sand via an off­shore pipe­line con­nected to a Transnet dredger. It cost mil­lions of rand and was crit­i­cised for not be­ing a long-term so­lu­tion.

Ma­rine ex­perts and ac­tivists be­lieve it would be bet­ter to fix bro­ken in­fra­struc­ture or buy new ma­chines to do the job.

City Watch has re­li­ably learnt that the city has not been pump­ing sand onto the beaches for the past three months as the Transnet dredgers that are used have been out of ser­vice due to main­te­nance is­sues.

City spokesper­son Msawakhe Mayisela con­firmed that the pump­ing op­er­a­tion had stopped but said there were plans to re­sume for the rest of this month. It would then stop dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son.

“The sand-pump­ing op­er­a­tions are not con­tin­u­ous through­out the year and are de­pen­dent on the avail­abil­ity of the Transnet dredgers and their port main­te­nance sched­ule.

“We are not pump­ing sand, but the dredger is about to recom­mence dredg­ing op­er­a­tions in Dur­ban.

“One of the dredgers is al­ready in Dur­ban, but the two Transnet dredgers ser­vice var­i­ous parts of the coun­try,” said Mayisela.

Johnny Vas­si­laros, of the Save Vetch’s As­so­ci­a­tion, warned that the cur­rent sys­tem was dys­func­tional and ex­pen­sive for ratepay­ers.

“The prob­lem they (the city) face is that as op­posed to the old days, when Dur­ban had its own dredger and would pro­vide sand at will, we are now shar­ing one dredger across the coun­try. So we go for months with­out the use of a dredger and no sand.

“When the dredger is in town for a short pe­riod, the city takes as much sand as it can. But as they are un­able to pump fur­ther than Ad­ding­ton, they have been dump­ing it all at Vetch’s and hop­ing the lit­toral drift would trans­port it to the cen­tral and north­ern beaches, where the sand is ac­tu­ally needed.

“They did this for the past 10 years, achiev­ing very lit­tle,” said Vas­si­laros.

Mayisela said de­spite the de­lays in sand pump­ing, beaches were gen­er­ally in good con­di­tion and the pro­posed sand pump­ing would suf­fice for the De­cem­ber hol­i­day pe­riod.

African News Agency (ANA)

DUR­BAN may be the city of sand and surf but ever in­creas­ingly, there is more surf than sand. It is ex­pected to im­pact the fes­tive sea­son fun.

African News Agency (ANA)

DUR­BAN Tourism has launched new rick­sha buses that will ferry tourists in and around the city. |

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