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Environmental Affairs Committee reacts to “racist removal of black people” at Clifton Beach  

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Environmental Affairs Committee reacts to “racist removal of black people” at Clifton Beach  

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs has released a statement saying that it was appalled by the restriction of access and the removal of black people at Clifton Beach in Cape Town on Sunday, 23 December 2018, and strongly condemned the action.

The committee said that it has noted the public outcry that has been caused by this prejudicial act that goes against the Constitution of the country and democratic gains that allow every citizen of the country to have equal rights and access.

The National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Act 36 of 2014 secures equitable access to the opportunities and benefits of coastal public property.

The ICM Act states that, “the intention of coastal public property is to prevent exclusive use of the coast by facilitating access to, and sustainable use of the productive coastal resources for the benefit of all South Africans”.

The committee noted that the ICM Act clearly bestows the ownership of coastal public property in the citizens of South Africa, while the state remains the trustee of coastal public property on behalf of South Africans.

“The ICM Act also makes it clear that, ‘it is the duty of the State as the trustee to ensure that coastal public property is used, managed, protected, conserved, and enhanced in the interest of the whole community as opposed to only a few individuals or groups.’ Therefore, no security company has the right to restrict or remove people from a public beach,” the committee’s statement said.

The chairperson of the committee, Phillemon Mapulane, remarked: “As the Portfolio Committee of Environmental Affairs, we condemn this barbaric and racist act of the unlawful removal of beach goers by the private security company, purportedly acting on the instruction of the City of Cape Town. We wish to assure everybody that South Africa will never return back to the apartheid years where black people were restricted from gaining access to certain public spaces. We note that the City of Cape Town through a media statement has distanced itself from the actions of this private security company. We will definitely summon the City of Cape Town and the Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) security company or any other party that might have been involved in this unfortunate incident to appear before the committee in the new year as soon as Parliament resumes its business.”

Devina Haripersad