Public pools unused while children drown in canal


Residents of Kirkwood, a farming town in Eastern Cape, want to know why their children are exposed to a dangerous irrigation canal when there are two large unused public swimming pools.

According to police records, six children drowned last year alone while swimming in an irrigation canal that supplies water to citrus farms. One child drowned in January swimming in the canal in Valencia location, near Addo.

Makhukanye Rural Movement, a non-profit organisation dealing with poverty in the Port Elizabeth area, said there were eighteen fatal drownings in the canal between 1984 and 2015; sixteen of them were children.

The Sundays River Valley Municipality includes Addo, Paterson, Enon and Bersheba. None of these towns have a public swimming pool or recreational facilities, but there are pools in Kirkwood.

Monalisa Panziso, a resident, says the pools only open during the Easter holidays and the festive period. “It is disheartening that there are two large swimming pools in our town that are lying idle while our kids have no place to play … Children end up playing in the irrigation canal where some have drowned … We have held protests and submitted petitions to the municipality demanding provision of swimming pools, but to no avail.”

Kelvin Matipathi, who lives in Moses Mabhida location, Kirkwood, said: “Many children either play in the canal or roads where their lives are at risk … The municipality opens the pools during festive season [only] and to make it worse, people have to pay to enter.”

Sundays River Valley Municipal Manager Sydney Fadi said, “The swimming pools in Kirkwood town are used, but for various occasions. They are used for public events like weddings and anniversary celebrations. We are however in the process of relocating the pools to Moses Mabhida location, that’s nearer the residents.”

“The other reason is that the swimming pools are located at the centre of town and people who live nearby have been complaining about noise when the place is hosting events. We have to consider their complaints also.”

“With regard to [the] other towns, places to build recreational parks have been identified in Addo and Paterson towns. We would like to train lifesavers in these areas to operate the pools and recreational facilities. This will also help create employment and also save children’s lives. The proposal will be going through council very soon.”



This story first appeared on GroundUp

South Africa Today – South Africa News


© 2018 GroundUp. Creative Commons License
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

Related Post

Walmer woman arrested for robbery and illegal poss... A 30 year old Walmer woman will appear in the Port Elizabeth magistrates’ court on 13 December 2018, on a charge of robbery, illegal possession of a f...
Man gets 18 years imprisonment for murder of girlf... Tsomo Regional Magistrates’ Court sentenced a 29 year old man, Mthandazo Bambiso to undergo 18 years imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend. Th...
Police hot on the trails of criminals in the North... Since 3 December 2018, a total of 12 suspected gang affiliates are in police custody for crimes ranging from murder, attempted murder, illegal possess...
Cele commits to rid Port Elizabeth northern areas ... A commitment to build a new police station within eight months, the deployment of an Anti Gang Task Team including 42 community patrollers were receiv...
Disclaimer: The views of authors published on South Africa Today are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of South Africa Today. By viewing, visiting, using, or interacting with, you are agreeing to all the provisions of the Terms of Use Policy and the Privacy Policy.