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Massive waves close Durban beaches

Durban - Hugh waves pounded KwaZulu-Natal’s coastline this weekend, leading to the closure of four piers along Durban’s beaches.

An eThekwini Municipality beachfront law enforcement official, who requested not to be identified, said swells of between 5m and 6m were estimated. He said bathing and surfing, for those brave enough to take to the water, was prohibited on certain beaches.

A ship carrying diesel is being kept afloat at Durban harbour after it apparently hit the bottom of the North Pier, the Transnet National Ports Authority said. File photo: Shelley Kjonstad. Credit: DAILY NEWS

Plastic bags were filled with sand and placed outside the entrances to the parks and gardens department’s beachfront office and police station to prevent flooding.

Surf industry mogul Mike Larmont, 63, said normal sea swells off Durban were between 1.5m and 2.5m.

He said this was the biggest swell this winter because of a low pressure system.

“Very powerful swells coming into Durban. We experienced something similar in 2007, when parts of the KZN coastline were eroded. In Salt Rock, the currents were very strong.”

Some Durban beachfront sand sculptures were washed out, much to the dismay of the artists for whom they are a source of income.

Sand artist Sibusiso Mthembu said he had been out of business for a few days, since the water level began rising on Monday last week.

Mthembu said he and other artists had to move from North pier. “We moved to a central position on the beach, but still our art was washed away. We built walls around the sculptures, but the water kept coming through. We built an even higher wall, but no luck,” he said, sighing.

“It is month-end and we are out of business. It is a waiting game. We reshape the sand to make a few rand, but in between the water flows over and we start again.”

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