The City’s portfolio head of Community Development has called on councillors and residents of Johannesburg to take swimming lessons as a precautionary measure, following a drowning incident at a public pool in Eldorado Park.
MMC Margaret Arnolds says residents should take advantage of the City's learn to swim programme, which is run under the auspices of Swimming South Africa (SSA), the governing body of aquatics in the country.
Run free of charge in Joburg’s flagship public pools, the learn to swim programme encourages the practice of aquatic disciplines and promotes swimming as a life skill. Lessons include synchronised swimming, water polo and specialised programmes such as lifesaving.
Community resilience programmes for flooding are also on offer and free lessons are provided by Swimming South Africa’s trained instructors.
“It’s important for everyone to learn to swim because sometimes we have drowning incidents similar to the one in Eldorado Park,” says Cllr Arnolds.
The learn to swim programme is designed to train and recruit recreational swimmers to compete in various competitions and promotes athlete development to the highest level.
The MMC hopes the programme will curb drowning in public pools.
“Let’s take ownership of public pools. We can’t have public pools and only put our feet in, we need to learn to swim,” she enthuses.
There are over 50 municipal swimming pools in Johannesburg, which close every winter for routine maintenance. However, with the Covid-19 lockdown still in place, the City is yet to announce the exact date when public pools will be accessible.
The free learn to swim programme targets underprivileged children, equipping them with skills to stay afloat when underwater. The initiative also offers members of the general public basic water safety tips and educates them about what to do in case of floods.
With scorching temperatures settling in ahead of the summer season, Cllr Almonds says residents need to ready themselves to cool off in Joburg pools.
Free lessons are on offer at the following flagship swimming pools:
Ellis Park: 011 402 5565
Coronationville: 011 477 8935
Little Falls Pleasure Resort: 011 958 5162
Pimville: 011 933 2653
Linden: 011 477 8935; and
Pioneer Park: 011 436 0207