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Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality Temporarily Closes Bridgton Swimming Pool Due To Vandalism

Oudtshoorn, 21 November 2023 – This week, the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality finds itself compelled to announce the temporary closure of the Bridgton Swimming Pool. Despite spending almost R200,000 to fix the vandalised pool fence, community members vandalised it again last week.

Since mid-October 2023, a disconcerting pattern emerged as children trespassed, leaped over the fence, and engaged in illegal swimming. The pool, not officially open, therefor no lifeguards were on duty, presented a worrying situation. To counter unauthorized access, security guards were stationed at the pool, but these measures proved insufficient. Incidents occurred where officials were even threatened with sharp objects.

On Wednesday, 15 November 2023, matters escalated dramatically as approximately 300 children and adults stormed the pool, forcibly breaking open the fence. A security guard, unable to swim, was thrown into the pool, resulting in a stroke. The traumatic experience led him to resign from his position, leaving him currently unemployed. Another official present at the pool also faced aggression with thrown objects.

The Municipality condemns these incidents, which have left the municipality with no alternative but to temporarily close the pool. The situation has not only descended into lawlessness but has also become life-threatening.

The Municipality considers the provision of swimming pool facilities to the community a vital service. The Bridgton Swimming Pool, an Olympic-standard facility, underwent upgrades last year exceeding R3 million, featuring a modern, sophisticated pumping system. It is disheartening to note a lack of appreciation for these community assets.

We urgently appeal to the community, particularly parents, to take ownership of our facilities, appreciate them, and protect them for the benefit of all and future generations.

The Municipality anticipates making an announcement soon regarding the possible reopening of the Bridgton Swimming Pool.