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Tuesday Sep 30, 2014

Residents slam Durban's beachfront grass 'neglect'

Durban's North Beach residents say the grassy verges and banks leading to the beach have been neglected by the eThekwini Municipality for months, leaving the area looking unkempt.

The grassy verge near Mini Town, once a lush lawn where people sunbathed and picknicked.

Max Magnussen, 62, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said the patch near his flat had been looking dry for months.

'The city doesn't care about what this area looks like, even though this is where all our visitors - both local and tourists - come to visit. This is what they come to Durban for,' he said.

He pointed out that the palm trees on the verge near Mini Town had been watered, but the grass had been left dry.

'This used to be emerald green. And it looked great. Now there's nothing left. People used to bring their picnics and sunbathe, but how can you do that now with all the loose sand everywhere?'

Magnussen said the situation had been going downhill for months, but calls to the municipality had not helped.

Ryan Pembroke, of Leitch Landscapes - the company that maintained the beaches' grassed areas until May, when its contract expired - said Leitch had been in charge of maintenance from Athlone Bridge to Sunkist Beach and from Durban central beach (Laguna pools) to the uShaka pier.

'The contract has come to an end, so we were told we no longer had the work.'

He declined to comment on the state of the areas once maintained by the company.

The weather had been especially dry this season, exacerbating the problem, he added.

This winter had been the driest since 1983.

But the city defended its care of the areas.

Spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said: 'eThekwiniMunicipality recognises the beachfront is one of its most valuable assets and prioritises maintenance. (It) is still in the process of appointing a contractor for the beachfront landscaping.'

In the meantime, the parks department would do maintenance and rejuvenation.

Daily News


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