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As thousands of holiday-makers flock to KwaZulu-Natal beaches, local government leaders yesterday appealed to visitors and locals to take the necessary safety measures in and out the water.
MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu together with arts, culture and tourism MEC Weziwe Thusi embarked on a walk-about on the Durban beachfront yesterday.
It was part of the education and awareness campaign on cleanliness and safety for holiday-makers and tourists visiting the province during this festive season.
Both MECs handed safety-tip leaflets and litter bags to members of the public, as part of a concerted effort to ensure recreational facilities on the beachfront are clean for use by visitors and locals alike, within a safe and secure environment.
Mthimkhulu commended city and provincial municipal authorities for their speedy work in making sure all the region's major beaches, battered by giant tidal waves earlier this year, were now open to the public.
"I am pleased to say that our beaches, especially those on the north and south coast that were ravaged during the high spring tides in March, are open.
"In just less than nine months full repairs have been done to most beaches and the remedial work in Amanzimtoti and Ballito completed in time for our visitors," Mthimkhulu said.
Mthimkhulu and Thusi said they were "extremely" pleased with the high security force presence on the beaches and also satisfied with the good behaviour of holiday-makers.
Meanwhile, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) says the province will net an economic spin-off of over R2,5billion this festive season.
TKZN general manager James Seymour said about 2,3million people will visit the province - including 100000 international tourists.
Hotels and accommodation facilities in the Durban, south coast, and Drakensberg areas were fully booked, with hotels and such facilities in other centres hovering at between 80percent and 90percent full.