Graaff's Pool cut down to size

Cape Town - Nudie landmark Graaff's Pool - labelled by a city councillor as a venue where sex was for sale, drugs were peddled and the area used as a toilet - is almost gone.

A huge bulldozer started on Thursday with the destruction of the concrete wall around the well-known pool on the Sea Point promenade.

For councillor J P Smith, representing Sea Point and Green Point and who was there to monitor the proceedings, it was the end of a three-year campaign.

He said: "We can now make an end to the abuse of Graaff's Pool."

Smith approached the council three years ago with a deposition to do away with the concrete wall protecting the historic Graaff's Pool from prying eyes on land.

He was supported by the Sea Point Ratepayers' Association, as well as the area's community policing forum.

Tunnel under the street

Smith said: "It took us a long time to weigh up the pros and cons of this move and we eventually decided the demolition of the wall was justified.

"It no longer serves any useful purpose for the community."

The pool dates from the period when the former politician and leader of the opposition, Sir de Villiers Graaff and his family had a home across the street in Beach Road.

It was even possible for them to walk along a tunnel underneath the street to the pool where bathing was strictly in the nude.

The tunnel entrance can still be seen today.

In later years the family donated the pool to the city council.

Initially, only men were allowed to use it and it was only much later that women were allowed to use it.

'A hotspot for crime'

According to Smith, the sea took its toll through the years and storm damage caused cracks in the wall and even took away sections of concrete.

Smith said: "In time, it became a hotspot for crime.

"Condoms and stolen property were found there regularly and rent boys also used the place as a hangout."

The Western Cape heritage watchdog initially gave permission for the demolition of the wall to a height of one metre.

However, Smith is presenting a further deposition to break the wall down to the rock surface and have the area restored to its original state.

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