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Thousands of people in KwaZulu-Natal spent Reconciliation Day relaxing on various beaches in the province.
A large number of law enforcement officers were deployed to monitor safety and control crowds.
Five children went astray from their families early in the day but were later reunited with their parents.
"We have tents where we accommodate lost children," said police spokesman Michael Read. "And if a child's parents cannot be found, the child is housed at the Addington Primary School, which is close to the beach."
Motorists going to the beaches were expected to have valid permits to prevent overcrowding and traffic congestion.
Though some motorists were frustrated by the metro police refusing them entry without a permit, others said they were happy with the plans to control the crowds.
"I got my permit from the metro offices a while ago because I knew there would be crowds throughout the season, with everyone wanting to park near the beach at the same time," Thabani Zulu said.
Taxis flocked to the beaches from as early 8am.
Sowetan spoke to some of the people on their way to the beach, especially the youth, most of whom said they had no idea what Reconciliation Day was all about. They saw it as a public holiday and had planned to visit the beach as always.
Swimming pools for both children and adults were packed to capacity.