Some Cape Town residents threw stones at staff at a closed swimming pool.
- The City of Cape Town has condemned an attack on its staff members at a Manenberg public pool, which is closed.
- Over the weekend scores of residents illegally entered the facility to swim.
- Police say they are aware of any break-ins at the pool facility.
Scores of Manenberg residents who were drawn to crystal clear water at the local public pool, entered it despite the facility being closed, and then threw stones at staff.
The pool is currently closed so that the water quality can be assessed.
The City of Cape Town condemned the residents’ behaviour. However, community policing forum (CPF) chairperson Vernon Visagie said he understood the residents’ frustration.
Visagie told News24 that when the children saw how clear the water was they decided to enter the premises.
“The days are getting hotter, and the children just want to swim before school starts, they were not able to make use of the pools for a very long time. Had the City been more transparent with us and the residents I don’t think this would have happened,” he said.
Visagie criticised the City for not allowing public participation in the pool’s closure.
“Residents are frustrated and I can understand why. The City has not been in contact with the CPF or residents on the update on how far the pool’s maintenance repair work is.
“It’s as if they are singling out Manenberg because of the status of the area. Why must our people pay money to travel to Sea Point pool or other public pools when we have our own pools in the area?” he asked.
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The City said it had no choice but to close the pool facility for health and safety reasons.
Mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said even though the Manenberg swimming pool was open during the 2021/2022 summer season, the pools had to be closed when concerns about the water filtration system arose.
“Water quality was compromised [and] a decision was made to close the swimming pool for assessments, so as not to expose the community to unsafe pool conditions and health risks,” Van der Ross said.
“This year the outcome of the preparation phase was that rust was observed when the filtration plant was put into circulation. The extent of the problem meant that the pool needed repair work, which could not be completed in time for the pool to be open this season.”
According to Van der Ross, rust pushing through the pipes deteriorates water quality making it hazardous for public use. Rust also makes the water milky and difficult to see the pool basin, “which severely hampers the task of lifesavers on duty”.
She said the City had not yet determined what it would cost to repair the pool.
“The department needs to conduct a detailed assessment of the underground infrastructure and pipework to determine the extent of repairs required.
“Our main concern is the safety and wellbeing of the community. We appeal to the public to refrain from trying to enter the facility illegally for their own safety, and we condemn the violent acts of throwing stones at and physically attempting to harm facility staff,” she added.
Meanwhile, Western Cape police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said they had no record of a break-in at the pool.