It was fun and festivities galore in Durban during the Christmas long-weekend as tourists and locals filled beaches to enjoy themselves with friends and family.

The long-weekend saw a gradual increase in the number of people visiting the beaches, with 26 and 27 peaking at 102 480 and 301 900 respectively.

On 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, an altercation between a lifeguard and a group of approximately 30 people ensued at La Mercy beach when he tried to redirect them to a safe bathing area. The lifeguard received minor injuries and was treated on site.

Other statistics for the long-weekend (23 -27 December 2016) are as follows
Approximately 707 524 people were 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.

Child identification armbands issued were 24 240. Children separated from their parents/guardians were 302 and have all been re-united.

With the Durban Solid Waste Department working on a three-shift system, 101 770 tons of litter were collected. The Department works on a staff complement 373 people.

The occupancy rate at hotels is currently 95% full and more bookings are expected over the New Year long-weekend.

With New Year’s Eve coming up, patrons are urged to adhere to the City’s by-laws and exercise caution when handling fireworks. The use of fireworks is only permitted from 31 December 2016 at 23h45 to 01 January 2017 at 00h15.

Here are some safety tips to ensure that all residents have a memorable and safe celebration during the New Year period:
  • The use of fireworks should always be done under the supervision of an adult.
  • Animals must be looked after. Call your nearest SPCA or Vetenerian for advise.
  • Do not place any body part directly over a fireworks devise when lighting the fuse.
  • Allow fireworks to complete their burning. Ensure that the flame is completely doused by pouring water on it before discarding it into the bin.
  • Do not detonate a fuse whilst aiming at a person or animal.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in a metal or glass container.
  • Light one fireworks device at a time and move away quickly.
  • Do not try to re-light or pick up fireworks if they have not ignited fully.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Deputy Head of Communications, Mandla Nsele.

For more information contact Vuyo Ndlovu on 031 311 4838, vuyo.ndlovu@durban.gov.za