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Uvongo Beach closed due to apparent water contamination, suspected high levels of e-coli

Uvongo Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. I Wessel Strydom

Uvongo Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. I Wessel Strydom

Published Dec 30, 2021

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DURBAN - The Ugu District Municipality, on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, has again been thrust into the spotlight over apparent water contamination and suspected high levels of e-coli. This comes after after Uvongo Beach was closed.

DA ward councillor ward 19 at Ray Nkonyeni Municipality (RNM), George Henderson, said that the Ugu Environmental Department had closed Uvongo Beach due to water contamination and high levels of e-coli.

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“They will take samples again on (Wednesday) morning and the results are likely to come back (this) morning. I will keep residents posted.”

Henderson is also the DA Ugu caucus leader and member of the executive committee.

The south coast area is a prime holiday destination along the province’s coastline. Frustrated residents of Margate and the Ugu District, including holidaymakers, took to Facebook to express their concerns.

Gerhard van der Merwe said after all the years of monitoring the quality of the lagoon water, he was amazed that the “learned people” of Ugu and RNM had not tried to establish the source of contamination.

Van Der Merwe said it was not that difficult to take more samples upstream, at the freeway, NPC, the P200 crossing and to the west of Nositha, where the river can be reached by road.

He said this should indicate where the problem arises from. He also claimed that the stream running through Masinege was one big rubbish dump.

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“Formal waste sites are monitored for environmental impact, but the illegal river dump site is ignored. The ignorance of the powers that be boggles the mind and that shows that no one in in the municipality is willing or able to take the initiative and solve the problem. So the easier solution is to simply close one of the best beaches in the country to safeguard bathers.’’

He added that the RNM had absolved themselves from being taken to task for not doing anything; this, irrespective of the disastrous impact on tourism.

On Facebook Ugu Complaints, Carol Dempster said: “What I don't understand is the holiday makers are swimming and riding boats on the lagoons, when we hear that there is E-coli raw sewage in the water.. no wonder the people are so sick. Why are there no signs up on the beaches warning the people to stay out?”

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The mayor of Ugu District Municipality, councillor Phumlile Mthiyane, said they had convened an urgent recess committee meeting to consider a consolidated report on the status of water supply and environmental impact on rivers and lagoons in the district.

The committee comprised of members of the executive committee of the municipality. The meeting considered a consolidated technical report on the status water supply in the district. Measures were then put in place to rapidly respond to areas that are still experiencing water supply disruptions through provision of alternative water relief supply.

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