DURBAN was ablaze with fun and festivities galore over the Christmas long-weekend as tourists and locals filled beaches to enjoy themselves with friends and family.
According to eThekwini Municipalityâ€™s deputy head of communications, Mandla Nsele, the long-weekend saw a gradual increase in the number of people visiting the beaches, with 26 and 27 December peaking at 102 480 and 301 900 respectively.
“Yesterday, (Tuesday, 27 December,) two drownings were reported. One was at Ezimbokodweni River whilst the other was at Umkomaas River. Bathers are urged to only swim in designated bathing beaches, where there are lifeguards on duty.
On the same day, a lifeguard was attacked by a group of approximately 30 people at La Mercy Beach, north of Durban when he tried to redirect them to a safe bathing area. The lifeguard received minor injuries and was treated on site,” he said.
Nsele said other statistics for the long-weekend (23 -27 December 2016) included approximately 707 524 people recorded at the various beaches. More than 153 rescues were carried out and 1021 people received first aid treatment, mostly due to blue-bottle stings and minor cuts. With the Durban Solid Waste Department working on a three-shift system (and 373 staff complement), 101 770 tons of litter was collected.
Over the five days, 302 children who were separated from their parents/guardians have since been re-united. Meanwhile 24 240 child identification armbands were issued.
The occupancy rate at hotels is currently 95% full and more bookings are expected over the New Year long-weekend.