Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - Residents of Saldanha Bay have been left fuming after access roads to the beaches were reportedly closed off and residents living close to the beachfront were issued with passes granting them exclusive access to the beach.

The move by the DA-led municipality has angered the ANC, which said the access control was reminiscent of the “dompas” black South Africans were forced to carry under the apartheid regime.

“We note that today is a public holiday and the festive season has already started,” the ANC West Coast Region spokesman Sammy Claasen said on Friday.

“This act can only lead to embarrassment, confusion and hostility. It is certainly not in the public’s interest to have unnecessary road closures at our beachfronts.

“We also noted that these road closures are only occurring in the Saldanha Bay area and not Langebaan. It reminded us of the restrictive law enforcement tactics of apartheid South Africa. This is totally unacceptable and as the ANC we denounce this act.”

The municipality declined to comment on the closure and the access cards, and instead referred the Cape Argus to law enforcement, who also did not comment.

Resident William Mugal has been living in Saldanha Bay since the 1980s and said it was the first time he had seen restrictions of this kind.

“On December 16, in the early morning, people were shown away by law enforcement,” he told the Cape Argus.

He said the beach had been having problems with people using it to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Another resident, Maxwell Moss, said he was probably the “only black person that stays there” to receive a beach access card. He was an ANC veteran who helped fight for equal access.

The ANC said it denounced the “attempt to deny our people’s basic right to access the beachfront”.

Cape Argus