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Durban – Despite more than one million visitors to Durban beaches this past long weekend, no drownings were reported. This is according to Tozi Mthethwa, eThekwini Municipality spokesperson.
Mthethwa said 64 children were reunited with their families after being separated from them earlier in the day.
“This was thanks to the held of childminders located on the beachfront. The Beach Buddies and Childminders issued 13 785 wristbands during the past weekend. The wristbands contain details of parents/guardians,” she said.
Mthethwa said a team of 154 lifeguards, made up of both permanent and seasonal lifeguards, were deployed across the beachfront during the busy period, which saw 1 686 174 people flocking to Durban beaches.
“They successfully carried out 11 rescues and a total of 1 905 people received first aid treatment mostly for bluebottle stings, jellyfish stings and minor cuts,” she said.
Malcolm Canham, Chairperson of the municipality’s Festive Season Management Committee, said numbers are expected to rise. He appealed to visitors to cooperate with law enforcement officers.
“I am pleased to report that it was a generally incident-free weekend with the exception of the two people that were arrested for cellphone and handbag theft. As much as we have beefed up security at our beaches, we appeal to beachgoers to ensure that there is always someone looking after their personal belongings,” Canham said.
Beachgoers are also encouraged to make use of the Park and Ride system in order to limit traffic congestion at the beach.
“When parking is full at the beach, people are encouraged to park at the Natal Command Site and the old Drive-In Site. We have People Mover Buses that have been provided to ferry people to the beach at no charge and they depart every 30 minutes,” Canham said.
Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, Metro Police spokesperson, said that the city was applying a very stringent approach to policing drunk driving.
“A total of 172 motorists were arrested for drinking and driving at various roadblocks. There were two fatalities reported, a male who was under the influence of alcohol was knocked by a car and died at the scene on the N2 near Petro Port and another female died in a hit and run incident on Botanic Gardens Road. As much as we appeal to people not to drink and drive we also want to appeal to pedestrians not to drink and walk,” he said.
Meanwhile, police are investigating an attempted murder after a 21-year old man was stabbed on Tuesday evening.