Durban — The eThekwini Municipality says that the uMhlanga Estuary exclusion zone is still closed.
The municipality said this in a public notice published on its Facebook page on Thursday.
“The public is informed that the beach exclusion zone of 1km north and south of the uMhlanga estuary between uMhlanga and uMdloti beaches and the estuary itself is still closed. This is done under the Beaches Bylaws cl 10 (1) (c),” the municipality said.
It said that the area was closed because of the chemical spill from UPL during the July unrest in 2021.
The municipality said that the spill destroyed the ecosystems in the estuary.
“The exclusion zone was then put in place to minimise human traffic in the area so as to allow for animal and plant life to recover as quickly as possible and to facilitate monitoring of recovery,” the municipality explained.
It said that a specialist report, due in August, will inform the further closure or opening of the exclusion zone.
“The city and other authorities will scrutinise the report before re-evaluating the decision to close the exclusion zone,” the municipality said.
“The authorities have no intention to keep the exclusion zone longer than absolutely necessary, but any re-opening must be informed by the science and recovery of the system.
“The city calls for patience and cooperation from the public while we work with other organs of state and UPL to restore the estuary,” the municipality said.
The municipality issued the public notice two weeks after ActionSA eThekwini spokesperson Alan Beesley asked the eThekwini Municipality council about the closure of the popular recreational route stretching for a kilometre north and south of the Ohlanga River mouth.
“This route has been closed to residents and tourists for two years, and frustrations are building as to this continual closure of this route,” Beesley said.
He stated that to get a better understanding of the lengthy closure of this popular walk, he formally submitted questions in terms of Section 27 of the Rules of Order at a council meeting held on July 13.
Beesley said that while not all questions were answered, two key answers were:
- There is no law or by-law prohibiting people walking the section of beach between uMhlanga and Umdloti.
- The guards on duty have no authority to stop people walking in this area.
Beesley added it was evident that, once again, the municipality had been misleading the public as there was, in fact, no law prohibiting people from entering the area and that the guards employed had no authority to stop people from utilising it.
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