Is eThekwini Municipality ready for the festive season?

Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda at the reopening of the Lagoona Pools in Durban. Picture: Supplied

Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda at the reopening of the Lagoona Pools in Durban. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 29, 2023


Following a not-so-festive 2022 holiday period, with many beaches in the eThekwini Municipality out of commission due to health concerns, as well as the stigma attached to it, the City has put measures in place to ensure 2023 will be back to its usual bumper-to-bumper traffic.

From deploying added staff onto beaches across the municipality and developing the Durban beachfront with new attractions, authorities in eThekwini have also employed private security forces to beef up safety during the festive season.

Durban beaches, public swimming pools and restaurants will be fully functional this festive season, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda assured the public earlier this month.

The famous Lagoona Pool, further up north on the Golden Mile, has also been reopened after it was closed last December due to technical problems that were not resolved.

The City also told IOL it will be installing new CCTV cameras around the tourist hotspots to ensure better safety.

“To proactively curb crime in the city and deter criminal activities, particularly at our tourism sites, the City is currently repairing all CCTV cameras and this work will be completed by the end of November this year,” said eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana.

Last week, the City got a huge tourism boost after the new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal was officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa, a host of South African government delegation and the leadership from the MSC Cruises South Africa, who funded, built and will be operating the terminal.

Ramaphosa said the opening of the cruise terminal was an important step in establishing the city as a major cruise destination in the world.

“The launch of the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal is more than a milestone.

“It is an important step towards restoring the position of this city as a premier cruise tourism destination, alongside the finest in the world,” he said.

Sisilana explained that in 2023, 61,840 cruise passengers from 25 cruise ships docked in the Durban and Richards Bay ports.

This figure is expected to double in 2024, with 120,307 passengers disembarking from 51 cruise ships.

Head of MSC South Africa, Ross Volk said that more could be done around the city to ensure the safety of tourists and the future success of the tourism industry as a whole, as Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal have a lot to offer foreign guests.

“I think we need to now focus on building infrastructure inland to accommodate all these new tourists. I am talking about places for people to go and see, better safety and security.

“I think first we need to secure the people, a safe people is a happy people. After that, we would be able to attract better tourist numbers, build better destinations as a whole to accommodate cruise passengers,” Volk told IOL.

One isolated incident that occurred on the Durban beachfront last month did leave a foul taste in the mouths of many residents ahead of the festive period.

This was after a 35-year-old woman was raped in the early hours of the morning by two men on the beachfront, near the Durban Country Club, according to private security firm Boss Security and the SA Police Service.

The two men were charged with rape and have already appeared before the Durban Magistrate’s Court.