Durban cashing in as holidaymakers flock to coast
While thousands of holidaymakers have already returned home, Philip Sithole, eThekwini Municipality’s deputy manager for economic development, was upbeat that the next influx of visitors was expected to arrive soon.
“KwaZulu-Natal holidaymakers are divided into three categories; those who come at the start of the month and leave just before Christmas, those who come right before Christmas, and those who come after the new year when the city is not so busy.”
Sithole said the city expected at least another 50000 tourists to stream in over the next few weeks in addition to the onemillion who had arrived at the start of the holiday season.
“Foreign visitors prefer to visit after the festive buzz has died down, so the peak is not yet over,” he said.
Sithole said the next group of visitors was likely to arrive before the start of the new school year, next week.
Mxolisi Kaunda, Durban’s mayor, said key township restaurants had all reported a good festive season.
uMlazi-based Max’s Lifestyle said its sales figures had trebled compared with the same period last year, with thousands of visitors in December.
Kaunda said the newly extended promenade, which was now the longest in Africa, had led to a massive influx of visitors.
“The development has increased the number of beachgoers by approximately 5000 people per day,” he said.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli called on law enforcement agencies to intensify operations on all major roads in the province following an accident that claimed the lives of seven people in uMhlali outside KwaDukuza on Friday.
Preliminary reports revealed that the driver of a minibus taxi lost control of the vehicle and it rolled down an embankment.
Ntuli went to the scene soon after the accident took place and also visited the 15 passengers who were injured and taken to nearby hospitals.
“This is the first incident of this nature this year, and it pains me that so many lives were lost in this accident. We have worked hard to deal decisively with lawlessness on the road in order to drastically reduce fatalities during the festive season,” he said.
Ntuli said as a result of an integrated safety plan, traffic officials had seen a reduction in major accidents during the holiday period. He also urged motorists to play their part.
“Bad driver behaviour and blatant disregard for the rules of the road are some of the causes of fatal accidents.
“I was shocked to discover that this minibus taxi, certified to only carry 15 passengers, had 22 people crammed into it.
“The law must take its course,” he said.
Police confirmed that the taxi driver would be charged with culpable homicide.
Since the start of the holiday season, provincial law enforcement agencies stopped more than 108000 vehicles and more than 9500 charges were issued for various traffic violations.