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Cape Town - Lifeguards will be back on duty at 25 beaches this weekend after the city reached an agreement with Lifesaving WP on Monday, although a formal contract is yet to be signed between the two parties.
There were no lifeguards on duty at Camps Bay beach last week when two teenage boys drowned, or at Melkbos Beach, where a seven-year-old boy drowned on Monday afternoon.
“Had the contract been ready and signed, we would have had professional lifeguards on all beaches during this holiday,” said advocate Martin Williams, chairman of Lifesaving WP.
For the past six years, the contract provided a stipend for professional lifeguards to cover city beaches during school holidays, which fall outside the period of volunteer lifeguarding over the summer. However, it lapsed in April, and had still not been resolved in time for the holidays this September.
Although an agreement has been reached, the official contract has still not been signed.
“It will be signed as soon as wording changes are made,” said Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.
“Lifesavers will be back on beaches this weekend.”
Williams said lifeguards would be on duty on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 6pm until the start of the summer season.
From the beginning of December, Blue Flag beaches will have full-time lifeguards.
Once the summer season is over and the 2014 school year has begun, lifeguard duty will revert to school holiday periods (not including June/July), public holidays and other high-risk days such as long weekends.
Cadet News Agency