THE eThekwini Municipality was out in full force today (November 29) for the official launch of the 2023 Festive Season programme.
The eThekwini mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, unpacked the City’s state of readiness to ensure a safe and enjoyable festive season and unveiled 62 new metro police vehicles that will be patrolling the streets of Durban during the festive season and beyond to keep communities safe.
The mayor delivered a comprehensive update on various developments in the city and highlighted the many attractions and offerings that locals and tourists can enjoy during the festive season and beyond.
“During this festive season, Durban is anticipating receiving an estimated 950 000 visitors. The hotel occupancy rate expected this year is around 62 percent compared to the 57 percent achieved last year. We want to assure our visitors that when they come to Durban, they will find the city clean and our warm beaches and swimming pools open. Currently, the city has 23 bathing beaches and 34 swimming pools that are open and safe for swimming,” said Kaunda.
Kaunda went on to say that the City recently conducted a joint sampling of water quality with Adopt-a-River, a non-profit organisation whose samples are tested by an independent laboratory, Talbot.
“We are pleased that the water quality results were comparable and reflected that our water was safe for swimming. The joint sampling is to enable credible comparison of results and to ensure transparency and public safety. Our water and sanitation technical teams continue to monitor all our coastal pump stations to ensure they operate optimally. Working with uMngeni-uThukela Water, we are accelerating the operation and maintenance of 10 of our wastewater treatment plants that handle over 90% of the total wastewater generated by the eThekwini Metro,” said Kaunda.
Mayor Kaunda also focused on the safety and security measures being implemented by the City’s Festive Season Management Committee at strategic tourism precincts. This includes the employment of additional seasonal staff at beaches.
“As part of our effort to deliver a safe and memorable festive season, the Durban Metro Police are working with all law enforcement agencies, including the SAPS, Road Traffic Inspectorate and private security companies, to maintain high visibility in all tourism sites and areas that we have identified as crime hotspots. About 168 contract security personnel have been added who will conduct regular patrols with the police around the city and on the beaches,” said Kaunda.
“To control traffic on the beachfront, certain roads leading to the beachfront will be access-controlled. The park-and-ride facility will be available at no cost and will be operational from 07:00 to 00:00. During this period, road safety becomes one of the key components of ensuring we deliver a peaceful and joyful holiday season. Our law enforcement officers have declared zero tolerance for drinking and driving and reckless behaviour on our roads. Law enforcement operations, including multidisciplinary roadblocks, will be conducted throughout the city to clamp down on all forms of criminality,” said Kaunda.
The mayor went on to add that the City has employed over 500 seasonal workers who will be deployed to various tourist destinations so they can quickly attend to any issues that may arise. “These include 65 beach guides who will be stationed across the various city beaches to help visitors. An additional 160 seasonal lifeguards have also been deployed to various beaches to ensure the safety of bathers.”
“Another critical area that always requires attention during this period is the issue of keeping the beaches and the city clean. The Cleansing Solid Waste (CSW) Unit has appointed 135 additional litter pickers to keep our beaches pristine and our city spotless. However, we want to appeal to the public to play their part and keep the city clean by not littering. Let us use the bins provided by the City to dispose of waste so we all contribute to keeping our beautiful city litter-free,” said Kaunda.