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Crowded Durban beach sparks uproar but city says it can’t impose its own lockdown

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
This image shows crowds gathered at a Durban beach on Saturday.
This image shows crowds gathered at a Durban beach on Saturday.
Image: via Facebook

A picture of hordes of people frolicking in waves without social distancing at a Durban beach has sparked outrage and shock on social media platforms.

The image, which has gone viral, was captured on Saturday afternoon when the temperature soared to more than 30ºC.

Many questioned the lack of social distancing and the threat it posed to SA’s battle against the Omicron variant.

“This is irresponsible. No social distancing,” said one Facebook user.

Another said: “Country closure justification.”

“Is there no more Covid-19? It’s bad. We will bury ourselves,” said another Facebook user.

Metro police confirmed hundreds of people had descended on the beach at the weekend.

eThekwini municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela told TimesLIVE with SA on alert level 1, “the city cannot on its own impose a hard lockdown because it is home to beaches.

“We must also bear in mind this is outdoors as opposed to being confined indoors. Covid-19 protocols are enforced at all times once people are not in the water.

“You can’t expect people to wear masks when swimming. You must also be mindful that we need to protect our economy within Covid-19 protocols,” he said.

The city announced last week it had procured private security services in preparation for holidaymakers expected to descend on beaches and entertainment establishments during the festive season.

About 2,000 metro police officers, supported by police, would be deployed.

Around 65 beach guides will be stationed at beaches to help visitors and 120 additional lifeguards have been deployed. Alcohol is prohibited and will be confiscated.

Meanwhile, the N3 Toll Concession is expecting traffic from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal to start increasing from Wednesday as the holiday season officially starts.

“Congestion and slow-moving conditions are expected when traffic volumes are high (more than 1500 vehicles per hour in a particular direction).

“On the N3 toll route, volumes typically increase to between 2,000 and 3,500 vehicles per hour on peak days.”


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