Protests Erupt After Black Visitors Were Asked To Leave Cape Town Beach
By Sharelle Burt
Protests erupted at Cape Town’s Clifton 4th beach after security guards were accused of telling black tourists to leave.
Demonstrators, organized by the Black People’s National Crisis Committee, said that amongst all the visitors at the South Africa beach, black people were targeted by the guards. The guard were apparently were hired by residents. After claims of rape, the firm says it was acting with police to protect residents from crime. Dan Plato, mayor of Cape Town, said the guards asked people of all races to leave and that claims of targeting black people specifically are false. Plato also said the firm “had no authority to ask anyone to leave Clifton beach.”
“We will not allow any private organizations to limit access to our public spaces,” Plato said.
Things started getting out of hand when demonstrators decided to perform a ceremony by slaughtering a sheep to cleanse the beach of racism, a practice that was immediately challenged by animal wellness protestors.
Reports of sexual assault around the beach surfaced three days before Christmas. Beachgoers weren’t going for it and apparently stopped it. Police said no rape was officially reported, but officials had information about the assault of a 15-year-old girl.
“If anyone claims they were on the beach and chased away they would have seen that it was absolute mayhem and that law enforcement was really doing a great job to stabilize the situation,” security firm chief executive Alwyn Landman said. “We did not close the beach.”
Local activists and protestors are standing their ground and disagree with the claim. They believe the guards were trained to discriminate.
“These private security guards are actually briefed to not allow black people who appear to look like they are from the townships on to the beach,” local activist Chumani Maxwele said. Maxwele started the hashtag #ReclaimClifton and witnessed the sheep killing.
“The offering of the sheep is calling on our ancestors to respond to our trauma at the hands of white people over the years,” Maxwele said.
The beach clearing reminded people of South Africa’s apartheid era when black and white people were segregated in public areas. Footage released shows black and white people arguing and pushing each other. Things calmed down later after people of all races were seen dancing together in solidarity.