Durban’s security cluster is ready to protect the thousands of people expected to descend on the city for the Hollywoodbets Durban July this weekend.
This assurance was made by an elated Mxolisi Kaunda, the eThekwini Municipality mayor, during the Durban July media launch on Tuesday.
“We are pleased to report that the organisers are putting the final touches to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the big day. The gallops have been held, thousands of punters and fashionistas from around the country and beyond are expected to descend to Durban’s doors. We are excited about the economic spin-off this event will bring to our city,” he said.
The Durban July, considered Africa’s premier horse-racing event, is expected to take place this Saturday at the Greyville race course. The event is marked by a weekend of high fashion glamour, celebrities and sometimes excessive displays of wealth.
Kaunda said the event was an opportunity for the city to “bounce back” following the triple economic whammies of the Covid-19 pandemic, the July civil unrest and the recent floods.
He said the city is estimating that 15 000 people will arrive in Durban over the weekend. Those projections are likely to be exceeded as they were done before mask and gathering mandates were lifted by the government last week, he said.
Hotel occupancy was at an all-time high (post Covid-19), Kaunda said, with accommodation spots quickly filling up as the weekend gets closer.
Stephen Marshall, Gold Circle event and marketing executive, said they are excited to host the first Durban July since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
The event was cancelled in 2020 due to lockdown regulations while last year it was held virtually.
“This is going to be a major event and prove beneficial to businesses. There are so many businesses that have been negatively impacted over the past two years when we held the event behind closed doors. It has come as a welcome relief that the horse-racing, entertainment, hospitality and tourism industries can once again benefit from the far-reaching revenues that are generated by the Hollywoodbets Durban July,” Marshall said.