Durban beefs up beachfront security before festive season influx
Close to 800 extra guards and police will be sent to Durban's beaches as the city beefs up security ahead of an influx of holidaymakers and other revellers.
The eThekwini municipality, the KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development and environmental affairs, and the private sector have come up with a range of interventions to ensure all Durban beaches are safe and clean during the festive period.
The security measures include the recruitment of 341 security guards, who will also act as "beach ambassadors", 430 metro police trainees and additional cleaners.
Economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala, who went on a walkabout with Durban mayor Zandile Gumede and other officials on Thursday morning, said the security measures could not have come at a better time.
"The level of confidence demonstrated by international regulatory bodies recently saw nine KwaZulu-Natal beaches being awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status. Two of these are here in the eThekwini municipality - uShaka and Westbrook.
"This augers well for the city and the province at large and it is a much-needed boon for tourism prospects."
National Geographic had recently selected KZN as a must-see destination, he said.
Gumede said the city had zero tolerance for criminal activities and litter on the beaches.
"Not only will the deployment of security and police personnel ensure a memorable experience for the visitors, but stringent enforcement of rules and by-laws will be undertaken. Metro police will not only deal with controlled access to our beaches but will arrest anyone found to be flouting rules, violating by-laws and engaging in criminal activities," said Gumede.
She added that those who litter will face harsh consequences.
“Our waste management unit will place clear and visible garbage bins while our parks and recreation unit will ensure that facilities including horticultural places are well maintained,” she said.
Volunteers and private security companies will work together and their visibility will not only be confined on the beaches, but will cover the city centre and townships, said Gumede.
She said contingency measures were also in place to look after the homeless and house those without shelter.
Most hotels in Durban are expected to be fully booked during the festive season.
Violent incidents such as stabbings and muggings, drownings and children getting lost have often marred the festive mood, especially on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Over 800,000 tourists made their way to eThekwini during the festive season last year, while Durban’s beaches had 3.9-million visitors, spending R2.3bn and contributing R3.8bn to the GDP. At least 94% of the visitors were from Gauteng, while 12% were foreign tourists.