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Durban Beach Problems

By J.F. Kloppers

24/06/2016 - South Africa's Durban in the Kwazulu Natal province, used to be the warmest place to be during South African Winter holidays but the poor state of the facilities along the Golden Mile before the school holidays start won't leave a good impression on the many visitors expected this year.

Local newspaper, The Sunday Tribune reports that, on the 16 beaches along Durban's promenade, most of the restrooms facilities were filthy, un-maintained and beach showers and taps were broken.

The July school holidays are a critical time for KwaZulu-Natal as thousands of upcountry South African visitors leave the cold behind for the coast's temperate climate.

During last year's winter holiday season (June to August) the province welcomed 1.8 million visitors and earned R2.9 billion in tourism revenue.

Reportedly the investigation found the most common problem for beachfront visitors was that there was no toilet paper. Where toilet paper was available, people were not told where to find it, even when an attendant was present. Attendants said toilet paper was stolen if it was left out and the dispensers damaged - which was why they dispensed it by hand - or kept it hidden.

Inside the restrooms taps were broken and most hand dryers were not working. There was rarely soap, bins were not always provided, some restrooms stank and many were not clean.

Two toilets on two separate beaches were filled with faeces.

With the influx of visitors also comes the need for beach showers, but almost half of the outside showers were not working.

The beaches were tidy, although visitors complained about broken glass in the sand. Beachgoers told the Sunday Tribune that Durban might claim to be a world class destination, but the beach facilities painted an entirely different picture.

PR councillor for the beachfront, Avrille Coen, said it had been a five-year battle to get the municipality to clean up the beaches.

"All our correspondence sent to the city has fallen on deaf ears. They wanted to implement a beach manager who was to handle the day-to-day running of the beachfront but that did not materialise," she said.

Head of Durban Tourism Phillip Sithole said he was aware of the problems and was working with the city to resolve maintenance issues and make improvements.

"The department of strategic projects issued tenders in May and we are now awaiting appointment of service providers. I am certain that soon these issues will be resolved," said Sithole.

Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, James Nxumalo, said he was unaware of the problems as they were not reported to him during executive meetings.

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