Protest to 'reclaim' Clifton Beach with ancestral cleansing ceremony

Security officers on the beach. (Supplied by PPA)
Security officers on the beach. (Supplied by PPA)

Lobby group Black People's National Crisis Committee will lead a protest march to Clifton Beach on Friday. The group will also hold a cleansing ceremony calling for the end of the exclusion of black people at the beach.

"The offering of the sheep is calling on our ancestors to respond to our trauma at the hands of white people over the years," activist Chumani Maxwele told News24 on Thursday.

This follows an uproar over reports that private security company PPA Security had allegedly closed down Clifton Fourth Beach at sunset last Sunday.

READ: 'The rich can't privatise beaches' – controversy brewing over private security clearing Clifton beach

The security company has denied the claims, stating that its guards were just accompanying City of Cape Town law enforcement after two teenage girls were allegedly raped.

"We were requested to accompany law enforcement as our tactical officers are highly trained and skilled professionals. If anyone claims they were on the beach and chased away they would have seen that it was absolute mayhem and that law enforcement were really doing a great job to stabilise the situation – we did not close the beach," PPA CEO Alwyn Landman told News24.

READ: Clifton beach shut down: 'We did not close the beach', says private security company

Maxwele, however, believes it is disingenuous for the private security company to claim that it was merely accompanying City of Cape Town law enforcement.

"These private security guards are hired by the Clifton Taxpayers Association, they are actually briefed to not allow black people who appear to look like they are from the townships or criminals onto the beach," he alleged.

The activist said that the citing of an alleged rape incident by the security company as the reason it maintained law and order on the beach was a lie.

"If you go to the Clifton Beach now you will find the PPA there, this is not an isolated case.

"This is typical racial profiling, you cannot stop people from going to the beach and deem them a criminal just because they are black. We need to demystify this," he added.

The lobby group will slaughter a sheep at 17:00 and thereafter a cleansing ceremony for the ancestors will follow at 18:00.

ALSO READ: Security company stops beach patrols as reclaim Clifton protest planned 

Meanwhile, PPA Security decided it will no longer patrol at Clifton Fourth Beach.

"We will no longer be assisting the police, the metro police, anyone," advocate Bruce Hendricks told News24 on Thursday on behalf of PPA Security.

He said the company was contracted by residents in the area to provide private security and would still patrol for its clients, which include restaurants in nearby Camps Bay.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith and the City's safety and security head, Richard Bosman, were also meeting various law enforcement authorities on Thursday to get to the bottom of what occurred at the beach.

Smith said that private companies had no right to police public spaces, and that PPA was not acting on the City's authority.

"No, they had not been given permission. They don't answer to us," he said.

Investigation into alleged assault

Western Cape police said on Thursday they were investigating reports of an incident of attempted sexual violation in the vicinity of Clifton Beach last Saturday in which beachgoers apparently intervened.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said police had also launched an investigation into reported claims that two teenagers had been raped on the beach on December 22.

This was the day before PPA was accused of asking people to leave Clifton Fourth Beach at around 20:00.

"Preliminary findings of the SAPS investigation indicate that no rape was registered at Camps Bay SAPS. The police station services Clifton and Camps Bay beaches," said Potelwa.

However, she said police had information suggesting there was an attempt to sexually violate a 15-year-old girl, which was prevented by beachgoers who reported the incident to police.

"The victim and her family refused to open a case against the suspect, who is known to them," Potelwa said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the deputy minister of police, Bongani Mkongi, expressed his dismay over reports of the security company's alleged conduct. 

Mkongi will visit the beach on Friday evening to interact with beach goers and convey the SAP's safer festive season message. 

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