from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – EVERYONE here is excited and in high spirits.
From street vendors, local visitors and those from beyond the city, the mood is jolly.
Not only because Durban has not been spared the festive fever that has gripped South Africa.
The reopening of the uMhlanga beach, timely so on Christmas Day, was an added incentive.
Among those excited at the reopening is Helen Smith, from the Gauteng province.
Her visit to Durban was on the verge of disaster.
She came to Durban and booked in the resort uMhlanga, two days before Christmas, unaware of the e.coli controversy that had led to the closure of some local beaches.
“I didn’t know anything about e.coli until I came,” Smith acknowledged ignorance on the issue.
“I was angry and wanted to go back early and cancel my accommodation,” the tourist said in this interview.
“But I heard the news (of the reopening) on Christmas Day and I was over the moon,” she added.
However, the unfriendly weather threw her another curveball.
“I couldn’t come on that day and on the following day due to rainy weather,” she said.
Things worked out eventually.
“Then this was the perfect day to visit the beach. The sun is out,” said the elated tourist.
A local visitor, S’bahle Mpungose, who stays 7km from Umhlanga, is equally elated.
“I was happy to hear the news,” she said of the reopening of the local beach.
Both the visitors said they felt safe and believe the water is clean.
Local street vendors echoed excitement as business booms.
Authorities have assured beach revelers of the safety of the Umhlanga Main and Umhlanga Bronze beaches.
“The decision to re-open the beaches was taken after results from the latest rounds of water testing confirmed that the water quality is at an acceptable standard and is safe for swimming,” Msawakhe Mayisela, Ethekwini municipality spokesperson, said.
E.coli, Escherichia coli in full, is a bacterium.
Its presence in water is a strong indicator of sewage or animal waste contamination.
In Durban, this is attributed to sewage spills, owing to infrastructural challenges and the floods earlier in 2022.
– CAJ News