City of Cape Town heads to court to stop cops from interfering in film shoots

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  • City of Cape Town to head to court to prevent police from interfering in film shoots.
  • The DA claims Cele instructed 16 police officers to shut down a film shoot at Camps Bay Beach on Wednesday.
  • Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato says Cele has no authority to instruct a police officer because he is no longer the police commissioner.

The City of Cape Town will head to the Western Cape High Court on Friday to apply for an interdict to prevent police from further "unlawful interference" in legitimate film shoots in the city.

According to the DA, Police Minister Bheki Cele instructed 16 police officers to shut down a film shoot at Camps Bay Beach on Wednesday, even though the film crew was in possession of a permit from the City of Cape Town, News24 previously reported.

It was reported that Cele said that although the shoot was permitted by the City of Cape Town, upon closer inspection, it did not comply with Covid-19 regulations that related to beaches.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele and MMC of Safety and Security Jean-Pierre Smith clashed over a film shoot at the Camps Bay beach.

"Yesterday's bully tactics by national Police Minister Bheki Cele to close down a legitimate and permitted film shoot on Camps Bay Beach has resulted in the immediate cancellation of 11 additional film shoots for fear of further financial losses if shut down irregularly and without due cause by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

"Bheki Cele is not the national [police] commissioner anymore - he was fired from that position in 2012 and is now a minister, who has no authority to instruct a police officer," Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said in a statement on Thursday.  

READ | City of Cape Town threatens legal action after Cele shuts down film shoot on Camps Bay beach

Plato added that he would write to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask if he supported the minister's "destructive and unlawful behaviour and, if not, what action he plans to take to address his minister's bully tactics". 

"Minister Cele's unlawful conduct includes the issuing of instructions to operational SAPS staff, which he has no authority to do. This matter has also been reported to the Parliamentary Ethics Committee," he said.

According to the mayor, the 11 productions notified the City of Cape Town that they would be cancelling their shoots and each was estimated to cost a minimum of R1.2 million.

"These costs do not include hotels, flights and other costs for hundreds of film crew and support staff, all of whom are adhering to the strictest Covid-19 safety protocols, as the industry slowly finds its feet again after months of lockdown," he said.

The mayor also said that the city was an enabling environment for local and international film crews which loved to visit Cape Town's shores and added that the City would not allow "unlawful behaviour to change this".

"Instead of policing beaches with heavily armed police officers and intimidating innocent sun bathers, the national police minister should be in our most crime-affected communities, making sure that gangsters are caught and put behind bars, making our communities safer," Plato said.

News24 reached out to police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba for comment. The comment will be added once received.

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