WEST BEACH BANE
Meeting agrees to roll out festive season campaign on swimming risks
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.