The beach patrons will this festive season enjoy their stay differently as the upgraded facilities from the Blue Lagoon to uShaka Marine World will give beachgoers a wonderful experience. 
   
To ensure that all citizens who descend on our shores during this festive season have a safe and memorable time, eThekwini Municipality has put together a comprehensive festive season management plan that comprises of roles and responsibilities of various internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality.
 
The new and fascinating look of the Blue Lagoon included the rehabilitation of the southern bank to Umngeni River, the pedestrianisation of the Blue Lagoon Pier, picnic and braai areas, trading kiosks and a special cycle lane from Blue Lagoon to Riverside Road.
The Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo said patrons can feel free to enjoy breakfast in the new restaurants which will be operational during this festive season. These restaurants will provide a casual dining experience during the day offering a snack menu, and then in the evening it transforms into an elegant dining restaurants.
 
“Law enforcement agencies which include Metro Police, South African Police Services, Law Enforcement and Security personnel have been deployed at different areas to ensure that patrons are able to enjoy themselves in a safe and responsible manner,” said Nxumalo. 
Approximately 500 Metro Police Officers divided into beach activities group, foot patrols group and motor patrol group will be deployed 24 hours to strategically deal with crime prevention, traffic enforcement and by law enforcement. The targeted areas are north, south and central Durban beaches. 
 
The Municipality’s Deputy Head of Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries Department and Chairperson of Festive Season Management Committee (FESMAC), Christo Swart said there is an increased security, two additional CCTV Centres have recently been opened.  One is situated in Pinetown and the other is at the beachfront. The CCTV Centre at the Disaster Management Centre will also be operational to help spot criminal activities at the beachfront.
 
The Municipality drives the “Clean My City programme, which aims at keeping the City clean and during this joyous time, patrons are urged to keep the City clean at all times and use bins to dispose waste. Durban Solid Waste has extended working hours, as two shifts will be operational this festive season. Sweeping activities will be conducted from 06h00 to 22h00 each day.
 
“Approximately 48 permanent lifeguards, 58 seasonal lifeguards and some voluntary lifeguards will be situated at various bathing beaches to ensure the safety of all bathers. It is important for bathers to co-operate with them and only swim in designated areas and during the specified times, which are 06H00-18H00 for the central beach and swimming pools and 06H00-17H00 for the district aquatic facilities,” said Swart.
 
Children are more vulnerable at this time of the year and it is also important for parents and guardians to ensure that their children receive wristbands that will contain their personal details as soon as they arrive at the beach.  These can be obtained from any of the 100 beach buddies (identified by their orange bibs written “I’m here to help you” or childminder. In cases where children are separated from their   parents/guardians, the first point of call should be the gazebos written “Separated Children” where they will be looked after until collected.  For safety reasons parents collecting children should produce proof of identity.
 
To avoid congestion in the beachfront area, certain roads leading into this vicinity will be closed on peak days which are; 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31 December 2013 and 01-02 January 2014.  Only motorists with access permits will be allowed access to the beachfront. Buses and taxis will be expected to drop off passengers and park at the Drive Inn Site located at Stalwart Simelane (Stanger) Street.
 
“Last year our beaches had a footprint of approximately 3 million people. As is the trend, we expect that more numbers will visit us this summer and we welcome all people with open arms. We encourage them to take full advantage of our scenic tourist destinations, various activities that have been planned and learn about our diverse cultures. We also urge them to do this in a safe and responsible manner, as we would like to see them go back home refreshed and ready to start the New Year,” adds Swart. 
 
For more information, contact Tozi Mthethwa on 031 311 4800/ 083 307 9067 or email: Tozi.Mthethwa@durban.gov.za.
   
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit. Contact Vuyo Gwala   on 031 311 4838/ 0073 250 5704 or email vuyo.gwala@durban.gov.za