The hospitality industry in KwaZulu-Natal says it is extremely concerned about the state of the Durban metro’s sewage network. Beaches along the Golden Mile were closed over the Heritage Day long weekend in September due to a sewage spill.  

During rolling blackouts last week a major sewage pump station was flooded, causing a spill into the harbour.  

Fedhasa Chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Brett Tungay, says the industry desperately needs a good summer holiday after the tourism sector’s losses due to the COVID-19 lockdown.  

Tungay says the widespread looting and unrest in July also had a prolonged impact on the industry. 

“The municipality has an opportunity now. We’ve got four to five weeks left before the festive season kicks in, to rectify the sewage issues, which we believe that they’re very capable of. And we just need the effort from their side to be put into this problem for rectification to occur before the festive season kicks in.” 

The tourism industry has urged law enforcement to ensure that beaches around the province are free of all forms of contamination, as the festive season approaches.

This also follows reports on social media of a possible sewage spill with surfers spotting patches of a mystery green sludge off Durban beaches at the weekend.

Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) Spokesperson Brett Tungay says early detection of pollution or a spill can avert a possible long-term beach closure.

Tungay says, “We need to have a good season for the tourism industry in eThekwini. Tourism country wide has been badly hit by the pandemic, so we were hoping, especially for eThekwini, a good Christmas season. So, we are urging the municipality – they basically have 4 weeks left until the season starts – we need to have an action plan before the arrival of the main tourist influx in December.”

MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs explains the extent of the spillage in Umgeni, Durban following the July riots and unrest: