Clifton's popular 4th Beach. Picture: COURTNEY AFRICA/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - The ANC in the Western Cape has expressed outrage after its provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs and his family were ordered to leave Clifton's 4th Beach by a private security company.  The party has accused the security company of "giving itself the authority to ignore our Constitution" and illegally ordering citizens to leave the popular beach. 

The ANC has denied that there was a political agenda behind the incident.  According to the party, Jacobs and his family were part of a group of twenty friends who visited the beach on Sunday night for an annual picnic which they have held for the past six years.  

Shortly before  8 pm two private security guards approached the group and told them that the beach was about to close and that they needed to leave.

When members of Jacobs' group quizzed the duo about their identity the men "reluctantly disclosed that they were not law enforcement officers, but were under instructions to clear the beach at 8 pm every night from December 16".

"The group of friends stood their ground, refusing to leave, and telling the illegal curfew-enforcers that their action was against the law. However, the beach was cleared. Some of those who left were clearly under the impression that those closing 4th Beach were South African Police Service officers with the authority to close a beach," the ANC said.

City of Cape Town mayoral safety and security member JP Smith on Monday confirmed that the security company "did not act with the permission or consent of the City". 

"The only time a beach will be closed is through our staff and that will be in very extreme circumstances and in the interests of the safety of the public," said  city council director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman.

The City says it has launched an investigation into the allegations by Jacobs and other beachgoers who have had run-ins with the security firm's staff.

What happended on the 23 December on 4th beach Clifton?
We were a group of about 20 friends enjoying our annual sunset picnic with kids. We have done…

— Faiez Jacobs (@Faiezj) December 26, 2018

Jacobs said: “It’s disgraceful that a private security, which appears to have operated with the connivance of rightwing elements in the City of Cape Town administration and ratepayers, tried to humiliate them. We wonder if this would have been just another unreported incident if we were not there to experience it first hand. How many others have been ordered to get off beaches that under apartheid were reserved for the exclusive use of whites?”  

He added:  “I was out with my family and friends when the security company’s employees tried to run us off the beach. There was no political agenda in being on 4th Beach. Our only agenda was to relax and have fun.”

“Being told to leave 4th Beach,” he said, “is unacceptable in our democracy. We warn those who want to reintroduce apartheid, including the DA with its devious policies to entrench white privilege, that we will not allow it.

“We want to remind them that during the Defiance Campaign of 1989 we ended beach apartheid with the slogan All God’s People for All God’s children. We will not allow beach apartheid to return. Never again will our beaches be segregated. We call on all our people to exercise their freedom of movement and access to our beaches. This is their democratic right, which we will defend.”  

Not satisfied with the answers given by Smith, the ANC said it wants Mayor Dan Plato to speak up. “He cannot remain silent on this or allegations that the same security company is illegally acting against street vendors. Had he been on the beach as a private citizen without any bodyguards the same security company would have tried to compel him to leave,” Jacobs said.