WESSA Annual Review 2022

W BLUE FLAG PROGRAMME WESSA congratulates the 51 beaches, 5 marinas and 4 boats that were awarded Blue Flag status over the 2021/22 season. This past season saw the highest number of Blue Flag beaches awarded since the inception of the programme in South Africa in 2001. There are 5042 Blue Flag beach, marina and tourism boats around the world.

The Blue Flag programme continues to expand into new South African coastal areas, and while this growth is evidence of the success of the programme, there are always challenges which arise and need to be addressed. One of the key challenges over the past season included sewerage-related issues, which can often result in water quality sample failures. Unfortunately, some beaches have fallen off the programme due to non-compliant water quality. WESSA is committed to working closely with these municipalities to help address the root cause of the issue and get those sites back on the programme to achieve excellent bathing water standards that are safe for both South Africans and international tourists visiting our beaches.

Foundation partnership plays a critical role in enabling WESSA to access all these coastal and sometimes remote sites scattered across the coastline in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The Blue Flag programme has a number of pilot sites (33 in total). These sites are working towards meeting the minimum requirements to obtain Blue Flag status. With additional funding support, WESSA could help these sites achieve the goal of being an international site of excellence. We will continue to work closely with these sites to understand their challenges and ensure they have the support to move forward. A few years back, President Cyril Ramaphosa had a vision of having nothing less than 100 Blue Flag sites in South Africa. It is only

Blue Flag is proudly supported by the Ford Wildlife Foundation which sponsors our Ford Ranger. Thanks to this important partnership, we

through the efforts of our Blue Flag operators and

the relationships we have fostered that we will realise this vision. The new beach wheelchair and beach mat at Santos Blue Flag beach in Mossel Bay, Western Cape

were able to visit at least 60 Blue Flag beaches, marinas and tourism boats to check compliance with the stringent international Blue Flag criteria. Being able to audit these sites ensures the required international standards of excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards are consistently met. The Ford Wildlife

Highlights over the past year from different Blue Flag sites include the following: • Hessequa municipality for the fourth consecutive year was the only municipality in South Africa to obtain Blue Flag status for all their swimming beaches. • Marina beach in Ray Nkonyeni municipality in KZN received a special award for 20 consecutive years of being on the programme. That’s 20 consecutive years of meeting the stringent criteria! • Southport beach , also in Ray Nkonyeni municipality (KZN) and Nature’s Valley beach in Plettenberg Bay (Bitou municipality) both received special awards for 10 consecutive years of receiving the Blue Flag award • Mossel Bay municipality in the Western Cape has for the first time obtained a beach wheelchair and two universal beach mats. • The Overstrand municipality in the Western Cape was proud to raise the flag of Onrus beach for the very first time. Overstrand also continues to work with WESSA’s TBF stewards who support them during the season by complying with the Blue Flag criteria.

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