We're not racist, all colours are welcome: Durban Undersea Club
The declaration that the Durban Undersea Club (DUC) is racist has been a product of media sensationalism and political motivation, a DUC official has said.
Speaking to News24 on Monday, DUC chairperson Cuane Hall said the media was being sensationalist and that the club was being targeted by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
"The media are sensationalising this so much and targeting us for no reason. We have done nothing wrong."
Hall said that the club "most certainly let all people of colour in".
"Colour has no bearing on water sports. If you want to join our club all you have to do is play a water sport. We feel this was orchestrated because newly-appointed leadership of the ANCYL is stirring people up. On the day of the incident, people were picked up, some even municipal workers, and given yellow T-shirts. "The youth leader told people that they would find whites only signs on the beach. When they came through, I tried to talk to them, but the next thing I knew, I was being run over. We have opened a case of trespassing and assault."
According to Hall, the 70-year-old club has legally leased the property from the eThekwini Municipality and a Malaysian consortium.
"When the crowd of people came through and stormed this place, kids were left traumatised. The rule of law did not apply on the day. We’ve done nothing to deserve this kind of attention. We welcome any black, coloured, Indian – anybody in this rainbow nation to become a member.
"We have a number of initiatives that assist the underprivileged. In fact, one of the top underwater hockey athletes is black.”
Zulu newspaper Isolezwe reported on January 4 that people had complained that it appeared "only white people" could visit the Durban Undersea Club and access the beachfront through the facilities.
According to Isolezwe, protesters stormed the water sports club, saying they wanted to become members, but were being denied access.
This incident is one of several recent racial controversies, which included KwaZulu-Natal realtor Penny Sparrow who called black beachgoers monkeys.