eThekwini ready for influx of tourists to beaches

THE eThekwini municipality is getting ready to manage the influx of holidaymakers, with safety high on the agenda.

THE eThekwini municipality is getting ready to manage the influx of holidaymakers, with safety high on the agenda.

Durban receives thousands of visitors during the summer holidays, which contributes to an increased number of incidents such as drowning, missing children and criminal activity.

The summer holidays this year come at a time when the beachfront is undergoing a facelift.

Motorists and beach users are warned that access to certain roads and beaches will be restricted.

Access to the beachfront will be restricted on peak days - between December 12 and January 4 next year. The highly frequented Addington Beach will be closed until April 2010, while Brighton and Country Club beaches will open on January 12.

uShaka Marine Beach, South Beach, South Beach paddling pools and ablution facilities, Wedge Beach, North Beach, Bay of Plenty Beach, Battery Beach, Suncoast Beach, Thekwini Beach and Laguna Beach and paddling pools will be available for bathing during the festive season.

The municipality's parks, leisure and cemeteries deputy head, Christo Swart, said the arrangements were necessary to ensure public safety and to maintain cleanliness throughout the city during this time.

"We want to dramatically reduce the number of road accidents, drownings and lost children during the festive season.

"We want to ensure that citizens have a happy holiday," Swart said.

"Alcohol is not allowed at the beachfront as it is a glass-free zone. Open fires and braaing at the beachfront are also prohibited.

"People should also remember that loud music and weapons are not allowed at the beach," he said.

In terms of safety the council will make sure that all children are given wristbands so that their names and the contact details of their parents or caregivers can be written on them.

This has made it easier in the past two years to trace families of lost children.

Metro police spokesperson Joyce Khuzwayo has faith that all will go well during this year's festive season.

"All things are in place now and it's just a matter of time before access to a variety of places is restricted.

"This year there will be a huge change since the beachfront is being developed," Khuzwayo said.