eThekwini to probe ‘whites-only’ beach claim

2016-01-08 13:51
A group of what appeared to be ANC eThekwini members are barred from entering the Durban Undersea Club as they were not members.

A group of what appeared to be ANC eThekwini members are barred from entering the Durban Undersea Club as they were not members. (Supplied)

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WATCH: Penny Sparrow called these beachgoers 'monkeys'

2016-01-04 15:49

KZN's Penny Sparrow started a heated race debate in SA when she referred to black beachgoers in Durban as "monkeys". Here's a look at the beach on New Year's Day. WATCH

Pietermaritzburg - The South African National Civic Organisation has asked eThekwini Metro to accelerate its investigation into allegations that portions of Durban’s southern beaches were closed during the festive season to create a “whites only” beach.

It has been reported that Vetch’s Pier became an exclusive zone with beachgoers being barred from entry under the premise that it was for “members only”.

There were also several posts on Facebook showing mainly African people trying to gain access to the Durban Undersea Club premises, and apparently being barred because they were not members.

Nkosi Zuma said on his Facebook page: “They [white people] won’t privatise our beach and call us monkeys at the same time. We invaded their private, whites only club to put a stop to their racial segregation #?wejustwantedtobuywater.”

But several other posts by white people revealed that the club is stringent with its members only policy, saying they too have been denied access. Marc Christensen posted that he too had been barred from entry, but said the matter has been turned into a race issue. He said race should only have been raised if black people were barred from joining the club.

“If that was the case, then I will help fight your cause.”

Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said he hoped the city would review the lease contract with the clubs that occupy that portion of beach if there was any merit to the allegations.

He said he hoped the city’s probe disproved the allegations.

“We are reacting on what we have read in the press and therefore have not made our own inquiries. We need to move forward as a people and a country. We are finding racial exclusivity is being perpetuated in a subtle manner, including using clubs and other private areas,” said Mahlangu. He said it would be unacceptable for club membership to be used to maintain a whites only beach reminiscent of the 1953 Separate Amenities Act.

“We appeal to all municipalities to review lease agreements with water sports clubs to ensure that the clubs are not maintaining whites only facilities and clubs,” he said.

Paul Smit of the Durban Undersea Club was quoted admitting that certain sections were off-limits as they were being used for watersports, and the area was full to capacity.

The city said it would look into the matter.

— Witness Reporter.

Read more on:    durban  |  racism  |  beach

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