Mini Cooper: power in a stylish pack­age

Con­cern that lack of com­mu­nity pool adding to in­crease in dam drown­ings

Daily Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - ZIYANDA ZWENI MTHATHA BUREAU

First it was a prob­lem with the qual­ity of wa­ter and bod­ies of dead peo­ple found in the pool.

For al­most two years, the only pub­lic swim­ming pool in Mthatha has been non-func­tional, con­tribut­ing to the dire lack of recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties in the greater King Sa­bata Dalindyebo mu­nic­i­pal area.

The Mthatha Swim­ming Bath was closed due to leak­ing pipes and bro­ken fil­ter tanks and al­most two years later, the pool is yet to be reopened.

A spike in dam drown­ings could be seen as a di­rect re­sult of the pool’s clo­sure as chil­dren re­sort to swim­ming in un­safe dams.

Mthatha res­i­dent Thobeka Sod­layiya said the pool’s clo­sure was frus­trat­ing.

“Our chil­dren used to fre­quently swim in this fa­cil­ity.

“We were sure that our chil­dren were safe there. It was just closed un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously and there was no no­tice.

“We were not told that it was un­der ren­o­va­tion and when it will be re-opened.

“This is con­tribut­ing im­mensely to the prob­lems of a lack of recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties in this town,” said Sod­layiya.

Athenkosi Maqaqa, 17, said he used to to visit the Mthatha Swim­ming Bath for pic­nics with his par­ents or to swim with friends.

“But for the last three years, I have not been there. First it was a prob­lem with the qual­ity of wa­ter and the bod­ies of dead peo­ple found in the pool.

“Also, the fa­cil­ity was be­ing fre­quented by crim­i­nals and drug smug­glers. It be­came un­safe, with no life­guards and also no se­cu­rity per­son­nel,” said Athenkosi.

O R Tambo Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion chair­man Fe­fe­lenkosi Mh­lauli said the pool’s clo­sure had hit them hard as they had to hire pri­vate pools for train­ing.

“We have lit­tle re­sources in O R Tambo. If the pool was func­tional it would make our lives eas­ier and we would ne­go­ti­ate with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in terms of funds so our ath­letes can train,” said Mh­lauli.

Work­ers said the two-year clo­sure was due to the pool be­ing ren­o­vated.

“The pipes were very old. Fix­ing of the pipes started last year in Novem­ber and now they have been fixed,” said worker Yongama Mbityi, adding that there had been a num­ber of break-ins at the fa­cil­ity over the past two years.

“At present there are no guards here and we have moved the chem­i­cals to a safe place. In the pre­vi­ous years, we would find corpses early in the morn­ing float­ing in the pool.

“An­other chal­lenge was of peo­ple who came to the pool drunk and those who sneaked al­co­hol in.

“But now the perime­ter se­cu­rity fence has been fixed and we are go­ing to be stricter this year.

“Our wish is for more work­ers, es­pe­cially life­guards, to be de­ployed here.”

Al­though the work­ers said the fa­cil­ity would be opened in Septem­ber, KSD spokesman Son­wabo Mam­poza would only say that it would re­open “dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son”.

He said, how­ever, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had set aside more than R500,000 for the ren­o­va­tion of the pool, which in­cluded fix­ing a purifier tank at a cost of R200,000 and in­stalling a con­trol box for R97,000, among other things.

Mam­poza said due to van­dal­ism at the fa­cil­ity, mu­nic­i­pal po­lice would pa­trol the vicin­ity.

Pic­ture: ZIYANDA ZWENI

BRO­KEN DOWN: The Mthatha Swim­ming Bath has been non-op­er­a­tional for more than two years due to bro­ken pipes and pu­rifi­ca­tion tanks that are not work­ing.

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