Clifton beach saga heads to Parliament

Residents clash with lobby group Black People's National Crisis Committee at Clifton's Fourth Beach on December 28, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Black People's National Crisis Committee arranged a protest march following reports that private security company PPA Security allegedly closed down the beach at sunset last Sunday, 23rd December - the group also held a cleansing ceremony where a sheep was slaughtered, calling for the end of the exclusion of black people at the beach. (Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images)

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs has scheduled an inquiry into what transpired at Clifton Fourth Beach in Cape Town during December, when beach goers alleged that they were escorted off the beach by a private security company.

At the time, the company in question, Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA), denied the allegation that its guards had removed beachgoers and said they were helping local government authorities with problems at the beach.

The company said they were accompanying City of Cape Town law enforcement officers after two teenage girls were allegedly raped.

But police said no rapes had been reported.

The incident was labelled as racist by several organisations, describing it as akin to apartheid beach bans. The incident culminated in a sheep being slaughtered on the beach.

City of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, at the time, denied that the incident was racially motivated: “The feedback I have received is that, despite the insinuation that particular race groups were targeted, all race groups were in fact asked to leave the beach; and they were asked in a peaceful, non-aggressive manner.”

Now, the environmental affairs portfolio committee has scheduled an inquiry into what they call the “closing off of Clifton Fourth Beach to members of the public”.

The inquiry is scheduled for Monday.

The City of Cape Town, PPA, representatives of environmental affairs, the police and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) will all be invited to Monday’s meeting.

Earlier this month, Psira announced that its “full-scale investigation” into the Clifton Fourth Beach incident was nearing completion.

At the time, the regulatory authority said it had received additional statements from eyewitnesses and “complaints with intimate information”. DM


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