Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)Archives

Cape Town - The Clifton Fourth Beach racism controversy will come under the scrutiny of the Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Affairs when it holds an inquiry

The inquiry was sparked by reports of the closure of the beach and removal of beachgoers on December 23.

The committee has invited the Department of Environmental Affairs, City of Cape Town, the Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) Security company, SAPS, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) and the affected individuals to appear before the inquiry.

“When this incident happened in December last year, the chairperson of the committee, Mr Philemon Mapulane, condemned the incident and assured everyone that there would be a meeting in the new year with all the stakeholders involved to ascertain what led to this incident,” the committee said in a statement.

The beach was embroiled in controversy in December, when beachgoers alleged that they were escorted off the beach by a private security company, PPA.

At the time, the security company in question denied the allegation that its guards had removed beachgoers, and said they were helping local government authorities with problems at the beach.

They claimed they were acting on the authority of the City of Cape Town, but the council denied having any contract.

The incident escalated into a racist furore, with some describing it as a form of apartheid, and it led to a sheep being slaughtered on the beach as part of the subsequent protests.

At the time, the portfolio committee noted that the public outcry was caused by what it described as a prejudicial act that went against the Constitution, and democratic gains that allowed every citizen of the country to have equal rights and access.

Mapulane maintained no security company had the right to restrict or remove people from a public beach.

“As the Portfolio Committee of Environmental Affairs, we condemn this barbaric and racist act of the unlawful removal of beachgoers 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 to the apartheid years, where black people were restricted from gaining access to certain public spaces. We note that the City of Cape Town has distanced itself from the actions of (PPA),” he said.

“We will definitely summon the City of Cape Town and PPA, or any other party that might have been involved in this unfortunate incident, to appear before the committee as soon as Parliament resumes its business.”

Political Bueau