Sea Point's nude bathers to be uncovered

By Ashley Smith Time of article published Dec 16, 2002

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One of Cape Town's oldest and most popular hangouts for male nude sunbathers - Graaff's Pool in Sea Point - may soon lose its screening wall, which a local councillor claims is covering up "anti-social behaviour".

Democratic Alliance ward councillor JP Smit said on Sunday he had handed in a written request to the council to demolish the screening wall.

The request had included letters of support from several ratepayers associations (including Sea Point and Bantry Bay), individuals and the Sea Point community policing forum.

Smit said the pool had become a hang-out for "anti-social elements" and "drug dealers".

Stolen goods had also been found at the pool.

When people were mugged in the area, the attackers often fled to the safety of the screening wall, Smit said.

"Police have to search there all the time.

"It has become an undesirable amenity and forms part of the increasing amount of prostitution taking place on the promenade. We have asked the council to remove the wall so it does not screen any illegal activities," he said.

Commenting on the heritage value of the pool, Smit said the problem was not the pool, but the screening wall.

He said he wanted the pool repaired, but the wall, which earlier this year suffered storm water damage, should not be repaired, but demolished.

Smit said: "The pool isn't causing problems, it's what's happening behind the wall.

"Use of the facility 20 years ago was very different from what it is now. It has become a liability."

He said according to his knowledge the screening wall had been built because the Graaff family, and more specifically, "old Mrs Graaff" had wanted privacy when they went for a swim.

Later it became a males-only tanning spot.

"It (the pool) has a history of segregation and privileged use."

He said the only way residents would allow the wall to stay is if 24-hour security was put in place at the facility.

This was unlikely to happen as there no resources were available to do this.

Achmat Ebrahim, the city's executive director of community services, confirmed on Sunday that the council had received a written request from Smit to demolish the wall around the pool.

"The Sea Point Residents Association is pushing it.

"I can confirm that it has been brought to our attention by councillor JP Smit and it will follow due process. We will have to look at the costs of the demolition and also take into account the heritage point of view," Ebrahim said. - Political Writer

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