Parliament to seek answers on Clifton beach 'curfew'

Clifton's Fourth Beach on Friday December 28, 2018, a few hours before the start of a #ReclaimClifton gathering.
Clifton's Fourth Beach on Friday December 28, 2018, a few hours before the start of a #ReclaimClifton gathering.
Image: Dan Meyer

Parliament’s environmental affairs committee says it will summon the City of Cape Town and a private security company to explain why people were asked to leave Clifton’s Fourth Beach after sunset.

Chairperson Phillemon Mapulane said in a statement on Friday that the committee was appalled by reports about the incident on December 23 and condemned the “restriction of access and the removal of black people at Clifton Beach”.

TimesLIVE reported on Thursday that city had distanced itself from the security company, as had the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers' Association. There were indications, after people complained to local radio station CapeTalk, that beachgoers of all races were kicked off the beach.

Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA), the security company, told News24 on Wednesday that its guards had been brought in to help the city’s law enforcement officials at the time and denied closing the beach.

“The committee has noted the public outcry that has been caused by this prejudicial act that goes against the Constitution of the country and democratic gains that allow every citizen of the country to have equal rights and access,” said Mapulane.

He said legislation bestowed ownership of coastal public property in the citizens of South Africa while the state remained the trustee of coastal public property on behalf of South Africans. 

The National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act made it clear that “it is the duty of the State as the trustee to ensure that coastal public property is used, managed, protected, conserved, and enhanced in the interest of the whole community as opposed to only a few individuals or groups”.

No security company, therefore, had the right to remove people from a public beach.

“As the Portfolio Committee of Environmental Affairs we condemn this barbaric and racist act of the unlawful removal of beachgoers by the private security company purportedly acting on the instruction of the City of Cape Town,” the statement read.

“We wish to assure everybody that South Africa will never return back to the apartheid years where black people were restricted from gaining access to certain public spaces.

“We note that the City of Cape Town through a media statement has distanced itself from the actions of this private security company.

"We will definitely summon the City of Cape Town and the Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) Security company or any other party that might have been involved in this unfortunate incident to appear before the committee in the new year as soon as Parliament resumes its business."