Organisations for and against a Durban beach being declared a nudist site, vowed to 'get the best lawyers' should the probe not rule in their favour. Picture: Reuters
Durban – Organisations supporting and opposing a South Coast beach officially being declared a nudist site have vowed to draw their legal guns should the public protector’s keenly awaited investigation not rule in their favour.

“We won’t lie around and do nothing. We will get the best lawyers. We are part of the International Naturist Federation, which has its own big cases worldwide,” said Athol “Lofty” Lutge, chairperson of the South African National Naturists Association.

But the Concerned Citizens Group’s Pastor Reggie John said they considered it a victory when the nudist beach was temporarily closed. They would take the matter as far as need be.

The group threw a spanner in the works after the Hibiscus Coast Municipality granted an application in 2014 to have Mpenjati Beach declared KwaZulu-Natal’s first official nudist haven in 2014.

“If we lose then it will be a sad day for our country, we will have compromised our morals,” said John.

The office of the public protector has completed it’s investigation and it is only a matter of time before the report is released.

Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga met with interested parties in Durban last year, giving them until September to compile and make their submissions.

Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the report would go through “the necessary steps of quality-assurance and getting comments from affected parties.”

Meanwhile, signs warning of nudists on the beach have been taken down and nudity is still a prosecutable offence.

“That beach is so secluded, no one can see it from any house or the road. It’s been used as a naturist beach for the past 30 years,” said Lutge.

“Before this official talk started, there were nudists there but they didn’t walk around brazenly, they were very cautious and stayed near the bushes because they knew other people might come at any moment.

But John said: “Nudists even allow children and they say just cover it with a towel. Can you imagine what those children are exposed to?”

Lutge said with 30 million naturists around the world, South Africa was missing out on the economic benefits.

“We literally have people waiting to invest in resorts around this beach. Naturist resorts bring huge economic impact. People from all over the world will bring their dollars and pounds here.”

He labelled those opposed to the beach as narrow-minded and did not understand why some people’s choice to bathe in the nude was such an issue for others.

But John said they were opposing the beach on the basis of morality.

“We cannot expose our children to public nudity which is illegal in South Africa anyway. They can do whatever they want in their private spaces, but the seashore belongs to the people of South Africa and you can’t take a portion of that and give it to a specific group."

“Just now everyone will want their own private beach,” he said.

There was no justification for “compromising morality” and it would make it difficult to “challenge prostitution,” said John.

“Look at the rise in prostitution where less is more. Now they want people walking around totally naked."

“We are all aroused by what our eyes see and so you can’t suddenly behave as if we are desensitised to nakedness. If this nudist beach is allowed it will send the country into a spiral of immorality.”

Both parties said they had not yet heard from the office of the public prosecutor but were eagerly awaiting the decision. Segalwe said they could not commit to a date for the release of the report, which was ­expected some time this year.

The Mercury