Moves to make swimming safer at pool complex

New safety signage has gone up at the Joan Harrison pool complex after complaints from concerned residents and the drowning of a 14-year-old boy in February.

The project started last week, and more work is planned at the pools to alert visitors and prevent drownings.

The Buffalo City Metro is putting up warning signs at the Joan Harrison Swimming complex following years of complaints from concerned residents and the drowning of a 14-year-old boy in February. The signs seek to alert visitors about the depth of the swimming pools and warn those that can’t swim to be carefu Picture: SINO MAJANGAZA

The signs, and painting on walls and floors, include “no smoking” signs, “no dogs allowed”, “lifeguards on duty” and others, that inform visitors of what to wear and how deep some of the pools are.

DA ward councillor in the area, Tessa Botha, said the new features were definitely prompted by the recent drowning incident in February.

“There was no signage in the pools to warn those who cannot swim of the depth of the pools, so that they are fully aware of it. That drowning incident was really unfortunate,” Botha said.

Botha had raised questions in council in February about the metro’s intervention plan to ensure the safety of those who used the complex. She said a report compiled in response by BCM acting city manager Bob Naidoo had failed to provide the plan.

Botha had questioned if there was any designated area for lifeguards to sit “which is sufficiently shaded and is clearly marked as a lifeguard station”.

“Are the lifeguards easily recognisable when there are large events at the pool? How are the lifeguards equipped to be able to communicate with each other in the time of an emergency at the pool,” Botha questioned.

“What kind of new intervention will BCM bring to ensure the safety of all who use this facility,” she added.

Naidoo’s report instead stated that: “The utilisation of the diving pool and the main pool for the two events resulted that the rest of the public were utilising the water polo pools.

“The incident [drowning] took place at the west water polo swimming pool. Six life-guards were on duty and were positioned according to the situation of the day.”

“The report from the supervisor at the scene states that as soon as the lifeguards noticed that the swimmer was sinking he was taken out of the water and resuscitated immediately. The 14-year-old boy was unconscious. The pulse was still beating. Alderson Ambulance paramedics were summoned to the scene and took over,” the report read.

BCM mayor Xola Pakati said yesterday: “We learn from some of these incidents and improve where we can. Our intentions are to make people aware of the dangers around them. This was the right thing to do. When people are aware of their surroundings, they become alert. That way we can avoid these unfortunate incidents from happening again.”

Concerning the criticism of Naidoo’s report, Pakati said the report was about the drowning incident.

“We exhausted the matter in council and said if the councillor has information we don’t have she must come forward with the information,” Pakati said.