Oh dam! Government warns against flocking to dams and rivers as beaches shut

Holidaymakers have been warned to take care while swimming.
Holidaymakers have been warned to take care while swimming.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The water and sanitation department has warned South Africans against rushing to rivers, dams and swimming pools as alternatives to beaches.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced the government’s decision to bar public access to Eastern Cape and Garden Route beaches between December 16 and January 3. Access to Durban beaches is also prohibited on public holidays until the first week of January.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said that, traditionally, the festive season was notorious for drownings as many people take to swimming wherever there is water, including rivers, dams and swimming pools.

“Unfortunately, this results in increased drownings, especially among children,” he said.

According to Stats SA, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the country.

“The department therefore urges parents to always accompany their children to ensure their safety when they go swimming,” he said.  


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