Nelson Mandela Bay pool closures not a people-wise decision

Residents cool off at the Gelvandale Swimming Pool, something they won't be able to do for much of the summer holidays
Residents cool off at the Gelvandale Swimming Pool, something they won't be able to do for much of the summer holidays
Image: Werner Hills

The festive season is the three weeks between December and January when we usually put all the hardships of the year aside, and have a good time with our families and friends.

For South Africans that means fun in the sun, sundowners near the beach and spending hours in the water any — or every — day of the week.

This week, however, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality announced that it has cut the number of days that some pools in the townships and northern areas will be operational.

The pools are in Zwide, Motherwell, Wells Estate, Gelvandale, Varsvlei, Rosedale and KwaNobuhle as well as the Kings Beach middle pool.

These pools, the municipality said, would be closed from Monday to Thursday, and only open for business over the weekends and on public holidays.

Municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron explained this was due to the ongoing drought.

“Due to the prevailing drought, with our main supply dam levels below 35%, a decision was made to reduce the operational days of municipal swimming pools,” Baron said.

The municipality must be commended for trying to be water-wise during this drought period.

However, it is unfortunate that it is the areas that are probably the furthest from the beaches — barring Wells Estate — that are affected by this decision.

For many people in the townships and the northern areas, it is a costly exercise transporting their families to the beaches to swim every other day over the festive period and they count on being able to make use of the public pools.

Because let’s be frank, very few homes — if any — in those areas have pools.

While the municipality is doing what it must to conserve our water supply, sadly, this decision further disenfranchises communities already placed at a disadvantage due to their financial situation and location.

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