Joggers, walkers and pigeons out and about on Durban's beachfront

There was a police presence on Durban's beachfront and promenade on Wednesday
There was a police presence on Durban's beachfront and promenade on Wednesday
Image: Mluleki Mdletshe

A handful of people wearing masks jogged and strolled along Durban's promenade on an overcast Wednesday morning under the watchful eye of law enforcement officers.

Durban's beaches were closed on Wednesday, after an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night.

Traditionally the beaches are packed to capacity on December 16, Day of Reconciliation, marking the official start of the summer season in the coastal city. On Tuesday, crowds of beachgoers enjoyed the cool waters.

However, on Wednesday there were only a few people who came out.

William Jones told TimesLIVE: “I am just here enjoying my liberty and the day of reconciliation. My mates (from high school.) and I do this every three years and today we decided to come. We will not be swimming though. The police they didn't give us any trouble to be honest.”

Another visitor who didn't want to be identified said: “I came for my 30-minute walk, which I do every morning and afternoon. I guess I came because I wasn't expecting to be chased away by the police. Even though I won't swim, I told myself long ago that today I would be at the beach. They (police) seem to be dealing with people who come to the beach sand.”

eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said on Wednesday that the promenade is opened for jogging, cycling and walking.

Kaunda urged visitors to the city and province to be mindful of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic when enjoying themselves during the festive season.

He implored hotels, restaurants and eateries in the townships to put the health and safety of their patrons and the public in general before profits and warned that law enforcement officers would be making regular patrols.  

He said the municipality had made significant operational changes to this year’s festive season plan and operations in keeping with Ramaphosa's address.

'These include:

  • A curfew, which entails that every person is confined to his/her residence daily from 11pm-4am;
  • To follow mandatory protocols including the wearing of a mask when in any public space or property, including on public transport;
  • No consumption of liquor in public places (including beaches and parks), except in licensed on-site consumption premises;
  • The closure of beaches in eThekwini will be enforced on December 16, 25, 26 and 31 and January 1, 2 and 3. Residents can still enjoy other activities along the beach such as jogging on the sand, walking, running, yoga and other healthy lifestyle exercises. The park and ride facility which operates on the central Durban beachfront will be closed on these days as well;
  • On all other days all beaches are open between 9am and 6pm. Lifeguards are on site to monitor and ensure there are no drownings on the beaches. The park and ride facility will adhere to these times;
  • The curfew will be strictly enforced, and no-one is allowed to sleep overnight in public spaces, buses, taxis and cars;
  • Any loud music whether live or otherwise will be prohibited.
  • The non-compliance with the prohibitions, conditions, days of opening of beaches and wearing of face masks and social distancing measures, will result in the closure of those non-complying beaches throughout the festive season. Law enforcement are doing regular patrols to ensure that safety precautions are observed.

“Metro police and other law enforcement agencies are all out to ensure that regulations are adhered to in public transport as well, more especially minibus taxis that ferry the majority of residents,” Kaunda said.

Post-funeral gatherings are prohibited and a maximum of 100 people is allowed for any indoor gathering while not more than 250 people are allowed to gather outdoors.

TimesLIVE

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