Cape Town given most blue flags for beaches in South Africa
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Cape Town given most blue flags for beaches in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa – Over the past few years we have seen the beaches of South Africa fall into absolute neglect, some Durban beaches that used to be some of the best in the world lost their blue flag status and the pollution has never been so high with some places even seeing raw sewerage flowing into the ocean.

Cape Town however received a the most blue flag status beaches in South Africa which tells a lot about the governance here.

Statement by the DA:

The Democratic Alliance welcomes that Cape Town has been awarded the most Blue Flag accredited beaches in the country. The Blue Flag awards will strengthen the warranted perception that Cape Town is a world class tourist destination.

Blue Flag status is a voluntary eco-label award only awarded to beaches that have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. The program is run by the independent non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education and covers over 3,450 beaches and marinas in 41 countries worldwide.

For Cape Town this comes at the most opportune time – just ahead of the 2010 World Cup and it means that tourists can enjoy our beaches knowing that they meet the highest quality standards.

However the DA is concerned about the absence of Durban’s beaches on the Blue Flag list and the fact that the city lost several Blue Flag awards on its beaches because its municipal manager, Michael Sutcliffe, does not see the benefits in participating.

Sutcliffe, who appears to be the only one at odds with the national drive to improve our beaches, said the loss of Blue Flag status for the city had not affected tourism. He claims that Durban’s beaches are of a higher standard than required by the Blue Flag scheme. If this is the case, why does he not want the city to take part in it?

If Sutcliffe has any evidence to support his theory he should produce it. Sutcliffe however appears to be driven by his own agenda, despite the support of the Blue Flag scheme by the DA and the ANC.

As the DA sees it, there are plenty of reasons to join the Blue Flag scheme. It encourages good practices regarding water quality, environmental management, safety, services and environmental education. Secondly, it allows the municipality to openly fly the Blue Flag, which helps to promote the beach to tourists.

The Western Cape has several accredited beaches. This year Plettenberg Bay’s Robberg 5, Yzerfontein main beach, Mossel Bay’s Santos, Hartenbos and Kleinmond near Hermanus have been added to the list. Cape Town, meanwhile, has Blue Flag status for seven of its beaches: Clifton Fourth, Camps Bay, Muizenberg, Strandfontein, Mnandi, Bikini Beach in Gordon’s Bay, and Big Bay in Blouberg.

The DA will urge Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, to encourage all coastal municipalities to engage in the Blue Flag scheme ahead of the World Cup so that South Africa can maximise its tourism potential.

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