PPA security guards on Clifton Beach. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has denied that a private security company which has been strong-arming beachgoers to leave Clifton Beach by 8 pm over the festive season has been operating with its permission. 

Richard Bosman, the City's executive director for Safety and Security, said a statement by PPA, which claims it was operating with the City's authority, is false.

The City reiterated "that public amenities are available to all members of the public and will continue to work hard to ensure safe and good quality beaches for all the people of this city and our visitors, as evidenced by the 10 Blue Flag beaches around the coastline."

This comes after a group of people, including ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs and his family, who were holding a picnic on the beach on Monday evening were told to leave because the beach "closes" at 8 pm. 

Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) Security claims that their guards intervened to clear the beach after two 15-year-old girls were allegedly raped on the boulders of 4th Beach on Sunday.

A statement issued on Thursday reaffirmed that:

* The City of Cape Town has no contract with PPA

* The City has at no stage given any authority to PPA to enforce by-laws and Bosman has met with relevant Area staff to confirm this

* All City beaches are open to all members of the public. While the City is able to set times of usage at beaches, we do not impose this unless there is a specific threat to public safety

* The City has confirmed with Camps Bay SAPS that no incidents of rape were reported on Sunday, 23 December 2018 at Clifton Fourth beach

"Private security companies have no mandate to enforce municipal by-laws. The City has acted swiftly to address the conduct of PPA staff once we became aware of it. Any person who feels that they have been threatened or intimated by PPA staff on the day in question, or at any other time, can lay a charge with the South African Police Service. Alternatively, complaints about the conduct of the company can be directed to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority," the City said.

"As in other cities around the country, and indeed the world, beaches are not immune to criminal activity. The City, therefore, deploys its resources equitably to ensure that all the beaches in Cape Town, regardless of whether they are in areas that were historically advantaged or disadvantaged, are kept as safe as possible."

Jacobs and his friends have vowed to hold a "protest picnic" on the beach on Friday evening.

IOL