Minister Bheki Cele was caught in confrontation with a film crew on Camps Bay beach, accusing it of flouting Covid-19 regulations on Wednesday. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus
Minister Bheki Cele was caught in confrontation with a film crew on Camps Bay beach, accusing it of flouting Covid-19 regulations on Wednesday. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus

Bheki Cele to fight back after clash with JP Smith over film shoot on Cape beach

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Dec 16, 2020

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Cape Town - The police management is beefing up its legal team after Minister Bheki Cele was caught in a confrontation with a film crew on Camps Bay beach, accusing it of flouting Covid-19 regulations on Wednesday.

This comes after the City of Cape Town, which permitted the production firm to film its commercial at the Camps Bay beach, said it would approach the Western Cape High Court on an urgent basis for an interdict against the police's interference in the film production on Camp’s Bay beach.

Cele, accompanied by the SAPS management, embarked on a day-long visit to various beaches in Cape Town in a bid to inspect operational deployments as well as assess adherence to lockdown regulations.

Cele said he noted, with concern, the reckless behaviour exhibited by some bathers on Cape Town’s beaches that fly in the face of the country’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Cape Town beaches were permitted to open from 6am until 6pm under the recently revised regulations.

Cele interacted with bathers at various beaches and expressed his gratitude for many of them who observed Covid-19 protocols.

Meanwhile, he ordered a private company on the Camps Bay beach to shut down.

"While it was permitted by the City of Cape Town, upon closer inspection, the production was not compliant with what is permitted on beaches, as stipulated on the Covid-19 regulations."

He said according to the permit of the production company that was handed to the SAPS, the production would go against the very rules set out by the president which are clear on what is permitted on beaches and therefore could not be allowed to continue for now.

The Cape Argus was informed that the minister has not taken the threat of legal action by Smith lightly, and plans to fight any legal action that may arise over the shoot.

Safety and Security Mayco Member JP Smith said the office was authorised in terms of the City’s Film by-law to issue the relevant permits to commence filming in public spaces.

Smith said shutting down the film production without proper cause was an illegal action and it goes against the national state of disaster regulations which allow the film industry to continue working.

"I am concerned about the autocratic manner in which the minister behaved this morning. It is concerning that a political office bearer appears to be issuing unlawful instructions to operational staff where SAPS officers continued to execute this unlawful behaviour," Smith said.

He said he expected that Cele, as a member of the National Coronavirus Command Council, would be aware that since alert level 4, film and TV production sets have been deemed workspaces and allowed to operate under the risk adjusted strategy.

He said it was also important to note that the latest regulations gazetted on Tuesday did not prohibit filming on beaches in Cape Town.

"The regulations only prohibit the hosting of festivals, live music, live performances and loud music at beaches,“ he said.

Smith said filming is a work activity and should not be misconstrued as a recreational activity as Cele did this morning.

"We are therefore asking the high court to prohibit the Minister of Police from overstepping the scope of his authority," he said.

Cape Argus

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