Cape Town has once again raised the flag with the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the country.
Ten of the City’s beaches were given the status at an announcement made in Mossel Bay, which forms part of the National Blue Flag Programme, coordinated by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA).
The City is proud to consistently maintain its record of providing high quality beaches and associated amenities that contribute to it being an international destination of choice for tourists. Achieving the high standards which is set by the Blue Flag programme ensures that local residents are afforded enjoyable recreational spaces.
Blue Flag international accreditation
Blue Flag is an international accreditation which is awarded to beaches that display excellence through meeting 33 criteria covering four categories namely, environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety.
Participation is voluntary and the accreditation status indicates that beaches:
• are clean
• have adequate ablution facilities and parking
• are environmentally sound
• are safe and secure to visit
• adhere to international safety and tourism standards
The accreditation is awarded for one season at a time, and if conditions deteriorate at the beach, it can be withdrawn.
The City’s Recreation and Parks Department works hard to ensure that Cape Town maintains these standards, but we need the public’s cooperation to ensure that our beaches are safe recreational spaces.
Qualified lifeguards man the beaches each summer
During the last few weeks several incidents of drownings and near-drownings have made the headlines.
The City takes public safety very seriously and this is evident in the resources that we devote to our beaches and other areas of public interest.
The City employs qualified lifeguards to man the beaches each summer and this year we aim to have 300 lifeguards on duty by the time it is peak season.
Most lifeguards are recruited from the various lifesaving clubs around Cape Town and are certified by Lifesaving South Africa. They are deployed statically at designated swimming areas and do roving patrols in non-bathing areas.
Bathers have a role to play and we implore them to remain in the designated bathing areas at all times and to only swim where there are lifeguards present.
Two-thirds of drowning incidents are related to the behaviour of bathers and we ask beachgoers not to bring alcohol to the beach because not only is it illegal, but alcohol impairs good judgement.
The thousands of litres of alcohol our enforcement staff confiscate each summer is testimony to the fact that people are not taking the law or their own safety seriously enough.
Blue Flag Beach Programme
The City has successfully participated in the Blue Flag Beach Programme since its inception in South Africa in 2001.
Not all beaches in Cape Town have Blue Flag status, but this is not a negative reflection on these beaches, as they are still maintained to specific standards.
The Blue Flag is a monitoring tool to assist the City in improving and enhancing services and facilities on all public beaches while maintaining the already-high standards set at the beaches. It is part of the City’s commitment to provide world class facilities for everyone and is a key aim of our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP).
The following City beaches were awarded full Blue Flag status for the summer season period between 1 December 2018 and 31 January 2019:
1. Bikini Beach
2. Mnandi Beach
3. Strandfontein Beach
4. Muizenberg Beach
5. Fish Hoek
7. Camps Bay Beach
8. Clifton 4th Beach
9. Melkbosstrand; and
In addition, Seaforth Beach was awarded pilot Blue Flag status for the summer season. This means it will be considered for full Blue Flag status if certain criteria are met within the specified period of time.
STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY; AND SOCIAL SERVICES, ALDERMAN JP SMITH