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‘It’s very painful’- seasonal lifeguards uncertain about their jobs as Durban beaches remain closed

‘It’s very painful’- seasonal lifeguards uncertain about their jobs as Durban beaches remain closed

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Durban – A seasonal lifeguard is concerned that with many beaches remaining closed their jobs hang in the balance.

Charles Khumalo from Lifesaving SA said seasonal lifeguards were hired by the eThekwini Municipality between October and April on a contract basis.

“It could range between a three month or six month contract,” he said.

Khumalo said up to 400 lifeguard jobs were on the line following the closure of many beaches due to the dangerous E.coli levels.

He said these lifeguards were employed at swimming pools and beaches from eManzimtoti on the South Coast to Westbrook on the North Coast.

“In addition to their jobs hanging in the balance, many are not training, life guards rely on training, and with the beaches being closed every other week, this unfortunately is not happening,” he said.

Khumalo said that lifeguards suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic and now this.

“Unemployment is at an all time high and lifeguards are relying on this money,” he said.

Seasonal lifeguard Brian Nxumalo who has been working for the past 10 years, has described the situation as very painful.

“I have two kids to support and I rely on this job. It’s really stressful that the beaches have been closed. We have suffered enough during Covid,” he said.

Nxumalo said he usually works at Warner Beach, Umgababa and Anstey’s Beach on the Bluff.

A week ago, eThekwini Municipality closed some beaches due to poor water quality.

The following beaches remain closed: Brighton, Ansteys, Point, Ushaka, Addington, South, Wedge, North, Bay of Plenty, Battery, Country Club Thekwini, Laguna, Baggies and Reunion beaches.

The City warned residents that all water activities at these beaches are banned for health reasons.

uMhlanga main; Umdloti; Westbrooke and Bronze beaches in the northern region remain closed.

South Coast beaches Toti, Pipeline, Warner, Winklespruit; and Umgababa are open.

EThekwini Spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela said: “The decision to engage or not to engage seasonal lifeguards has not been taken as yet, the engagement of seasonal lifeguards will be informed by the latest water quality results.”

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