Timeline: Rites, racism and rights clash on Clifton's pristine sands

31 December 2018 - 12:04 By Odwa Mjo
A sheep is led to 4th Beach in Clifton, Cape Town, where it was slaughtered in a traditional ceremony, raising the ire of animal-rights activists.
A sheep is led to 4th Beach in Clifton, Cape Town, where it was slaughtered in a traditional ceremony, raising the ire of animal-rights activists.
Image: Philani Nombembe

The recent events on 4th Beach in Clifton, Cape Town, have dominated headlines and sparked massive debate on social media.

Private security

On the evening of December 23 2018, tourists and beachgoers claimed to have been removed from the upmarket beach by private security company Professional Protective Alternatives (PPA).

The company claimed it was brought in to help the city of Cape Town after two teenagers were raped. According to the SAPS, no rape incidents were registered at the Camps Bay police station that day.

The city distanced itself from the security company, saying in a statement that the allegations against PPA indicated it had overstepped its mandate.

Reclaiming Clifton

Activists and protesters planned to make their way to 4th Beach on December 28 2018 with the intention of visiting the beach every day until January 1.

The activists vowed to slaughter a sheep and make a fire as they occupied the beach.

"We are going to cleanse the demon of racism and invoke the spirit of Makanda Nxele," said Ncedisa Mpemnyama, a leader of the Black People’s National Crisis Committee.

The mayor speaks

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato condemned the PPA on allegations that its security guards closed 4th Beach on the evening of December 23 2018. Plato said the company had no authority to remove people from the beach at 8pm on the day.

Plato also dismissed claims that the security guards’ actions were racially motivated, saying "they asked people of all races to leave and did not single out any race group".

Plato said, according to reports, that PPA was working with the city’s law enforcement officials to remove people from the beach. He added that, if so, city leadership would need to account for what happened.

Parliament wants answers

Parliament’s environmental affairs committee said it would summon the city and the security company to account for why people were removed from the beach.

The committee condemned the "barbaric and racist" act, and said it would summon the city, PPA and others involved to parliament at the beginning of 2019.

Slaughtering

Social media was buzzing as activists slaughtered the sheep on 4th Beach.

The slaughtering sparked debate and escalated tensions at the beach, with some holding placards to protest against the violation of animal rights.

Slaughterers to be charged 

The city of Cape Town said it would lay charges against protesters who killed the sheep.

In an interview with the SABC, JP Smith, the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, said two or three activists would be charged as slaughtering an animal in a public area without consent was prohibited by the city.

Smith said the city had received about 150 complaints about the matter within 12 hours. He added that the city would forward a formal complaint to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority on the alleged conduct of PPA Security. 

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