WEST BEACH BANE

Meet­ing agrees to roll out fes­tive sea­son cam­paign on swim­ming risks

Talk of the Town - - FRONT PAGE - NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU

Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion meet­ing at the Memo­rial Hall reg­is­tered a poor turnout on Mon­day.

The meet­ing fo­cused on op­er­a­tions in the area over the 2018-2019 fes­tive sea­son.

De­spite putting out a pub­lic no­tice invit­ing the com­mu­nity to at­tend, and, which was pub­lished in the me­dia, in­clud­ing at­tempts made to in­vite all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, the num­ber of peo­ple who ac­tu­ally showed up for the gath­er­ing was smaller than ex­pected.

Com­mu­nity pro­tec­tion ser­vices deputy di­rec­tor Fanie Fouche gave an overview of what safety mea­sures were put in place last year to en­sure com­mu­nity safety at Nd­lambe beaches.

He also gave a run-down of the prob­lems faced each year.

“Ev­ery year com­mu­nity pro­tec­tion ser­vices work tire­lessly to en­sure the safety of the peo­ple,” Fouche said.

“The SAPS re­cently came up with an idea to put name-tags on the wrists of chil­dren, to curb the num­ber of miss­ing chil­dren at beaches dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son. Traf­fic and SAPS also help with their zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to drink­ing and driv­ing,” he said.

“Beach Bud­dies is also the clean­ing team that is play­ing a huge role in mak­ing sure that our beaches are clean af­ter the fes­tive sea­son,” he said.

“Kar­iega Main Beach brings us more chal­lenges each year – we are fac­ing over­flow.

“West Beach is an­other prob­lem. De­spite sig­nage peo­ple are go­ing there to swim – some­thing needs to be done about that, be­cause that in­creases the num­ber of peo­ple drown­ing in that area,” Fouche added.

Ward 9 coun­cil­lor Mbuleli Njibana pro­posed that more sig­nage be put up at West Beach, and also ap­pealed to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to per­haps hire life­guards for the “no-swim­ming” beach be­cause, de­spite warn­ings to that ef­fect, peo­ple swam any­way. This has led to an in­crease in the num­ber of in­ci­dents.

“Even if we warn peo­ple not to swim, they will go and swim. It hap­pens ev­ery year,” Njibana said.

“We need more mar­shals or a life­guard to stop this drown­ing prob­lem. An­other thing we need to do is to build a re­la­tion­ship with Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity be­cause their peo­ple come here in num­bers.”

The hir­ing of life­guards at West Beach was op­posed dur­ing the meet­ing. Peo­ple felt that this would ac­tu­ally en­cour­age peo­ple to swim there.

To­wards the end of the meet­ing, a cam­paign that could ed­u­cate com­mu­ni­ties about the dan­gers of swim­ming at West Beach was put up for pro­posal. It was de­cided that ra­dio, press and so­cial me­dia plat­forms would be used to get this mes­sage across to the pub­lic.

Com­mu­nity vis­its would also be con­ducted to ed­u­cate peo­ple about West Beach and Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity would also be in­cluded in the cam­paign.

Ward 10 coun­cil­lor Ray­mond Schenk con­firmed that an­other meet­ing would be held, and that all mem­bers of the pub­lic would be in­vited. Street ven­dors, traders in the liquor in­dus­try and all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers were en­cour­aged to at­tend.

“Doors are not closed, noth­ing is fi­nalised yet as we were ex­pect­ing more peo­ple to at­tend. “An­other meet­ing will be held, we need to fi­nalise the ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign be­fore the fes­tive sea­son be­gins,” Schenk said.

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