File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN - Thieves have left Cape Town municipal swimming pool users high and dry at three facilities around the city. 

"I have learnt, with dismay, about incidents of theft at three of our swimming pools in recent days that have caused thousands of rand in damages, and more importantly, resulted in the closure of the Retreat and Manenberg swimming pools," mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said in a statement on Sunday.

In the early hours of Thursday, March 28, thieves gained entry to the filtration plant room at Retreat and removed the steel pipes, gauges, and valves from the filter. This impacted directly on the operations of the facility as the damaged infrastructure was key to maintaining the water quality of the swimming pool.

"We will only have a clearer idea in the next few days of the time-frame for repairs, as well as the cost of damages," Badroodien said.

Retreat swimming pool was one of the few indoor facilities in the city, which meant access all year round.

"This act of wanton destruction means that children in the area are unable to use the swimming pool over the final few days of the school holidays; the Learn to Swim programme has had to be cancelled and the numerous swimming clubs whose members use the facility as a training venue will have to find costly alternative venues until the repairs are completed."

The Manenberg swimming pool had been closed for several days already after the power cables were stolen, leaving the facility without electricity and affecting the water quality, he said.

"We are also assessing the situation at the Parow North swimming pool, where a similar incident took place on or around Human Rights Day. Among the items stolen in that incident were a chlorinator, two booster pump motors, a dosing system, chlorine masks, PVC pipe, copper pipes, and other fittings."

What made this incident all the more disappointing was that the swimming pool was in the process of being filled, with a view to opening it to the public. These plans had now been scuppered.

The City of Cape Town worked very hard to provide quality facilities for the benefit of communities and to safeguard them as much as possible. In August last year, the community services and health directorate announced a major financial injection to help keep clinics, libraries, and community facilities, such as recreational centres safe from criminals.

This included R10.1 million for improving security measures, such as burglar bars, alarm systems, high mast lighting, etc; R20 million for the deployment of facility protection officers; and R9.8 million for the deployment of 312 safety wardens.

"Unfortunately, acts of destruction like the ones highlighted here continue to hamper our progress and deprive communities of access to amenities and opportunities. I call on residents to help us secure our amenities by reporting any suspicions or incidents that they witness or hear about."

Anyone with information about these specific incidents should please inform the South African Police Service or the city’s public emergency communication centre by dialling 021-480-7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.

"Thieves and vandals will continue their inconsiderate and selfish deeds with wild abandon, unless they are caught and dealt with by the criminal justice system," Badroodien said.

African News Agency (ANA)