Cape Town race row erupts after ‘black visitors cleared from beach’
CAPE TOWN: Protesters have taken to one of Cape Town’s most picturesque beaches after private security guards were accused of ordering black visitors to leave.
The guards, hired by local residents, allegedly cleared the Clifton 4th beach of tourists last Sunday evening.
Demonstrators said black beachgoers were unfairly targeted, but the firm denied closing the beach and said it only acted to protect residents from crime.
Beaches and other public areas were segregated during the apartheid era.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said that the security firm “had no authority to ask anyone to leave Clifton beach”.
“We will not allow any private organisations to limit access to our public spaces,” he said.
Deputy police minister Bongani Mkongi vowed to “go hard on the security firm”.
“This is a property of the state, property of the people and therefore we don’t need security firms here,” he said.
Mayor Plato said that the guards had “asked people of all races to leave” and had not targeted black people specifically.
Demonstrators, who converged on the beach on Friday evening, disputed this assertion.
“These private security guards… are actually briefed to not allow black people who appear to look like they are from the townships on to the beach,” local activist Chumani Maxwele said.
Mr Maxwele, who instigated a social media protest under the hashtag #ReclaimClifton, oversaw the slaughter of a sheep in a ritual that protesters said would cleanse the beach of racism.
A small number of animal rights activists protested against the act.
Alwyn Landman, chief executive of the PPA security firm, whose job he said was to protect residents from criminal activity, denied that the firm had closed the beach at all.
He said police had cleared the area after a crime had been committed.
However, the police said they had not received any reports of criminal activity.