The Portfolio Committee met to investigate the alleged lock-down of Clifton Fourth Beach at 8 pm on 23 December 2018 by members of a private security company. The Chairperson clarified that an incident had taken place on Clifton Fourth Beach in December 2018 that had received a great deal of attention on all media platforms. He had issued a media statement saying that as soon as Parliament returned from recess, the Committee would attend to the issue. In the alleged incident some beachgoers had been taken off the beach and access to the beach restricted. The Chairperson had gathered all role-players together that day in order to be able to obtain a full understanding of what had transpired on Clifton Fourth Beach on the evening of 23 December 2018.
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority of South Africa made the first presentation as the Authority was in the process of investigating the private security company, which was a registered security company, and did not wish to hear the discussions as that could prejudice its investigation. The Authority explained that all registered security companies were required to meet the requirements of the Authority’s Code of Conduct which stated, inter alia, that services to be rendered had to be in writing and security services could not render services that they were not contracted to do, or the law did not give them powers to do. They could not use excessive force when dealing with the public. The Authority had received four complaints about the security company under discussion. The complainants had complained about assault, restraint and abusive language. The investigation had started on 27 December 2018 and the Authority had charged three security officers, who had been suspended during the investigation, with violation of the Code of Conduct. The Director of the company had also been charged with breaching the Code of Conduct, as well as the company as a legal entity.
An individual who had been on the beach on the evening of 23 December 2018 described how she and her daughter had gone to Clifton beach to have a picnic with family and friends. At approximately 8 pm. two gentlemen had advised the group that the beach was closing. The conversation had been civil. The group had refused to move from the beach as they believed their removal would benefit the residents of Clifton. The presenter stated that it was not just about the eviction and who was evicted, but who, ultimately, benefitted from the eviction. Structural racism was a system in which public policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations and other factors worked to perpetuate racial group inequalities and, in that particular case, enforced white privilege on the Atlantic Seaboard. The individual had found the Mayor’s response to the incident unacceptable. He had politicised her experience by reducing friendships, affiliations, relationships and experience to the political affiliation of the group members.
There was some disruption at that point as a representative from the City of Cape Town was requested to leave the chamber. The Chairperson alleged that she had been exhibiting unruly behaviour in an attempt to intimidate the person making the presentation. The parliamentary protection services were called but the representative left of her own accord.
A second individual, who had been on the beach, made a statement. According to their account, the incident had taken her back 29 years to August 1989, when, three weeks after her sister had been killed in the Athlone bomb blast, she had gone with a group of UDM supporters to Blouberg beachfront via taxis. They had been stopped by police and when the people had run onto the beach, the police had sjamboked them and a resident had a gun pointed at them when they sought to escape via the person’s property. For that reason, she had been particularly traumatised by being told to leave the beach.
The representative from the City of Cape Town read a statement by the Mayor of the City. He noted that the previous speaker had said that she and other people had been forced to leave the beach. He distributed a photograph showing that the beachfront was a hive of activity at 20:30 with two black women walking down the steps to the beach and groups of all races on the beach. The photograph raised further controversy as it was ultimately found to have been filmed illegally. The City denied any contract, relationship or collusion with the private security company.
The private security company declared that it offered protection services to paying clients whose residences adjoined Clifton Fourth Beach, and other residents in Clifton and Camps Bay. The Director used a number of photographs to justify the actions of his security officers, but the photographs were subjected to detailed examination by the Chairperson, leading to uncomfortable admissions on the part of the security company. The Director stated that his company had an understanding with the South African Police Service and Law Enforcement of the Cape Town City Council to work in collaboration with law enforcement, but no signed contract. On the night in question, his security officers had advised all beachgoers, regardless of race, to leave before dark owing to the dangerous incidents that had been taking place on the beach.
The local ratepayers’ association declared that they had no relationship with the private security company and the local Community Policing Forum spoke of the inadequate policing service in the area.
The Provincial Commissioner of Police assured the Committee that the Western Cape no longer had a shortfall of 4 000 members and the current shortage was only 1,326 members in terms of the human resource guidelines, but that figure did not include additional operations taking place in the province, such as Operation Thunder.
The Police Service stated that security guards could protect the property of people who employed them, but their actions were limited to the protection of the property. Law Enforcement could specifically request security guards to assist with a specific incident at a specific time. The law did not allow security companies to perform any functions on public property and in public streets unless there was a very serious offence and they were protecting a person from injury. They could not enforce by-laws. The Police Service did not have a contract or relationship with the security company.
The Camps Bay Police Station had no record of any officially reported rape cases in Camps Bay in November and December. There had been an incident between family members but although they reported to the police station, they had not opened a docket. That group could not have been interpreted as a risk to other beachgoers and had not endangered the safety of other beachgoers. Public Order Policing units had been deployed to the Western Cape and there were sufficient for crowd management. Public Order Policing units had been put on stand-by. The intention was that Public Order Policing units would stop any further chasing of people from the beaches
The Department of Environment Affairs confirmed that it was investigating the incident but informed that Committee that the investigation was not yet complete. The Department viewed the incident through the lens of the Integrated Coastal Management Act.
The Chairperson interspersed questions throughout the presentations. Committee Members had to wait until the afternoon session to ask questions, but they had questions for all role players.
Who had issued the lockdown instruction on 16 December 2018 that had set the precedent for lockdowns? Was it the Camps Bay business group? Everyone spoke about a rape case had been reported on 23 December 2018. Who had generated that lie? Or did someone want to hide racism behind sexual offences that might not have existed? Was everyone asked to leave or only people of colour? The photograph suggested there was no racial discrimination and people of all races were still on the beach an hour later. Who should Members believe when they saw that picture?
Members asked PPA if there was any agreement between the City of Cape Town and the security company. The Mayor of Cape Town had been emphatic that there was no agreement. If there was no agreement, on what authority was the security company acting when it had assisted? Why would it assist without any agreement about how it should assist? Who had appointed the security company? How had the security company confiscated items from people on the beach? It meant that the officers had to go on the beach and do law enforcement. On whose authority were they doing that? By what authority had they confiscated the items as that was a policing function? Was the security company aware that it could not act like the police? Was there an agreement with the police that the security company members could go on the beach and confiscate dangerous items? Was the security company contradicting the police in respect of a record of crimes? Did the security company have better records than the police service?
Members asked the City Council about the picture of the beach which showed the time of 8:30. The same picture was the same as the one offered by the security company. Had they been exchanging notes or where had the City obtained the picture? Who had shared the picture with the City of Cape Town? How could two separate entities with no formal agreement both have the same picture? Did the City of Cape Town have any plans in place to ensure beach safety going forward? Why was the City stopped from preventing the slaughter of the sheep? Were any bylaws violated when the sheep was slaughtered? Did the bylaw referred to prevent access to the beach?
Why had the sheep on the social media videos seem to be so still, showing no normal signs of a sheep going to slaughter? Did the police know what had happened to the sheep after the slaughter? Was the meat consumed after the slaughter? Were there any crime records at Camps Bay police station for the three months before the incident?
Why had a Portfolio Committee statement been issued on 28 December 2019, using words such as ‘appalled’, ‘barbaric’, ‘condemned’, and ‘racist removal’? Would the words: ‘barbaric’, ‘condemned’, and ‘racist removal’ be retracted as the facts did not support that version?
The Chairperson stated that the meeting had not been premature. The Committee was not going to patrol all the beaches. It was an activist Parliament, so why turn a blind eye to something? Why would one do that? The meeting was not convened to put the City of Cape Town on trial. If that was the way that it had come across, it was unfortunate, but the Committee would always get into the space where something was wrong.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the year.
He noted that the Minister had sent her apologies as she had a National Working Committee meeting. He thought that there had seen an apology from the Deputy Minister, but he did not have that apology to hand.
The Chairperson confirmed that all the invited delegations were present. He welcomed the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA), the City of Cape Town (CoCT), Professional Protection Services (PPA), the South African Police Service (SAPS) Western Cape, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The Camps Bay Homeowners’ Association and the Bungalow Owners’ Association of Clifton would be attending but had not yet arrived. He informed PPA that the CEO would have to make the presentation as the Committee did not accept presentations from legal advisors.
Mr Faiez Jacobs, ANC WC Provincial Secretary, informed the Chairperson that he had not been invited but he hoped that the Chairperson would not evict him as he had been evicted from the beach on 23 December. He had been one of the beachgoers.
The Chairperson clarified that the situation had taken place during the parliamentary recess, but the Committee had indicated at the time that it would look into the matter and, as it was such a busy session of Parliament, the Committee had decided to meet on a Monday morning and had requested permission from the Speaker to meet on that day. He explained that the State of the Nation Address (SONA) would be taking place that Thursday and that the Committee was engaged in an enquiry into the National Parks Board in the intervening days. The following week was also very busy. The Chairperson appreciated the attendance of Members, especially on a constituency day.
Background to the meeting
The Chairperson explained that an incident had taken place at Clifton Fourth Beach in December 2018 that had received a great deal of attention on all media platforms. He had issued a media statement saying that as soon as Parliament returned from recess, the Committee would attend to the issue. It was an alleged incident where some beachgoers had to be taken off the beach and access restricted. If that were the case, there would be a big problem, but the Committee did not come to conclusions without affording an opportunity to those involved to address the Committee. That was the reason for the meeting that day.
If the allegations were true, the Committee Members needed to understand why the incident had taken place. The country had progressed a great deal since 1994. The people had fought for the freedom that they enjoyed currently. He did not want to be taken back to the racist and apartheid past. Africans, and black people in general, had been denied access to the beauty of the country, including the beaches. The incident had caught his attention.
The Chairperson said he had had a discussion with PSiRA officials who had alerted him to the fact that it was engaged in certain regulatory processes about the matter at hand and would want to leave before the general discussions began as those discussions could be prejudicial to the process. He invited PSiRA to make the first presentation.
Presentation by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA)
Mr Nhlanhla Ngubane, Acting Chairperson, PSiRA, thanked the Committee for the invitation. He was accompanied by the CEO, Mr Manabela Chauke, as well as well as the Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, Ms Linda Mbana, and other managers from the organisation. Mr Ngubane explained that PSiRA had been established by an Act of Parliament to regulate the private security industry and to exercise control over the practice of security service providers.
Mr Ngubane handed over to the CEO to make the presentation.
Mr R Purdon (DA) asked for clarity as to who had called the meeting and why the Committee was dealing with the particular issue.
The Chairperson replied that he, as Chairperson of the Committee, had called the meeting to respond to the incident that had happened on 23 December 2018. The Committee was responsible for oversight of the National Environment Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act (NEM: ICMA) of 2008. The Act fell under the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the Committee was investigating whether the Act had been transgressed. The Committee was simply doing its work. It was a normal Committee meeting, convened and chaired by the Chairperson.
Mr Purdon was confused because if Parliament was going to investigate every incident on every beach in the country, the Committee would be very, very busy. If the Committee was going to investigate that incident, another incident over the festive season had caught his eye. This was an incident where President Ramaphosa’s body guards were involved and in which three people had been shot on Bluff beach in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Chairperson interjected and asked Mr Purdon not to do that. If he had a suggestion to make about what should be in the Committee programme, he could make suggestions and proposals. The programme of the Committee was not made in that way. Mr Purdon should speak directly to the Chairperson, who decided on the programme. The Member was playing to the gallery.
Mr Chauke focused on the registered mandate of the PSiRA, the Code of Conduct and the complaint received about the incident on the beach. He explained that private security companies were bound to adhere to the very detailed Code of Conduct of PSiRA. They were also accountable to those that employed them. The rules bound all security service providers as well as the people who played in that space. One rule was not to threaten or harm anyone in a public space and to treat the public with respect. A security guard could not use excessive force when dealing with the public, or pose a threat to the public. Services to be rendered had to be in writing and security services could not render services that they were not contracted to do, or the law did not give them powers to do. They could not use excessive force when dealing with the public.
On 23 December 2018, PSiRA had received four complaints about a certain company. The complainants had complained about assault, restraint and abusive language. The investigation had started on 27 December 2018.
PPA had been registered since 4 July 2013. Even though the company was under investigation, it was currently not prevented from rendering security services. PSiRA had charged three PPA security officers, who had been suspended during the investigation. They had been charged with violation of the Code of Conduct. The Director of PPA had also been charged, as well as PPA as a legal entity for breaching the Code of Conduct. PSiRA had a legal responsibility to hold security companies to account.
If the officers, the Director and the company were found guilty by the independent panel hearing the case, they could appeal to the Minister of Police who would appoint an independent panel to hear the case. Further escalation would be to the High Court.
The sanctions available to PSiRA were to issue a warning, to suspend, to withdraw registration and to issue a fine up to R 1 million.
The Chairperson thanked the PSiRA. There were no questions and the Committee understood that PSiRA could not get into details of the case, although it would have been nice if the enquiry had been concluded before PSiRA had attended the Committee meeting.
The Chairperson asked the City of Cape Town (CoCT) to make its presentation. However, the CoCT had not handed out copies of the presentation to the Members.
Dr Zahid Badroodien stated the City had been unable to prepare the presentation by 1 February 2019. He had a digital copy of the presentation but no hard copies.
The Chairperson decided that the CoCT delegation would wait until copies had been made. He asked the CoCT delegation to comply when requested to do something. That was the way that things were done in Parliament.
The Chairperson explained that they could not present unless all Members had a copy of whatever was to be presented. He invited a member of the public who had been on the beach, Ms Seehaam Samaai, to present. She had a digital presentation of 20 slides on the screen and copies would be emailed to the Committee at a later stage as she did not have hard copies of her presentation.
Mr Purdon suggested that, as indicated to the previous presenters, the Members needed to have copies before them. He proposed that those presenters who did have hard copies present first whilst copies were being made.
The Chairperson replied that he did not want to waste time and the member of the public had her presentation on the screen. She also did not have the same kind of resources as the other institution. He allowed the presentation to go ahead and Members could make notes and would later receive copies.
Presentation by Ms Seehaam Samaai
Ms Seeham Samaai thanked the Committee for allowing her to speak. She explained that she was an attorney and Director of the Women’s Legal Centre but that she was presenting in her personal capacity as she had been one of the beachgoers on 23 December 2018.
Ms Samaai introduced her presentation saying that it made the point that South Africa belonged to all that lived in it, united in diversity. The coasts of South Africa were a national asset to all South Africans. A major barrier to access to the beaches for the vast majority was the perpetuation of spatial apartheid planning which was enforced by residents on the Atlantic seaboard through the use of private security services, with the knowledge and endorsement of the City of Cape Town. Her group believed that there was an obligation on Parliament in terms of its oversight function relating to the NEM: ICMA, its policies and its plans. Although the beaches were a place of fun, they were also places of pain, and that had to be acknowledged.
The group had refused to move from the beach as they believed their removal would benefit the residents of Clifton. It was not just about the eviction and who was evicted, but who, ultimately, benefitted from the eviction. Structural racism was a system in which public policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations and other factors worked to perpetuate racial group inequalities and, in that case, enforced white privilege on the Atlantic Seaboard.
Ms Samaai explained how she and her daughter had gone to Clifton beach to have a picnic with family and friends. At approximately 8 pm two gentlemen had advised the group that the beach was closing. The conversation had been civil. She had asked one of them to introduce themselves and their organisation. The Metro police were not in the vicinity and he had said he was assisting the Metro police. He indicated that he was securing the bungalows, the beach and 10 nautical miles out to the sea. She had asked why he did not tell the yacht to move first. She then told him that what he was doing was illegal. His colleague moved on to other groups of people to ask them to leave the beach while her group remained on the beach. Her only purpose had been to show her 14-year old daughter how to light a paper lantern.
The Chairperson asked a lady from the City of Cape Town, to stop doing what she was doing, i.e. whispering and gesturing to her colleague.
Ms Caroline Knott, Advisor to the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, asked the Chairperson what she was doing.
He explained and told her to stop.
Ms Knott told the Chairperson that she did not think that she was doing anything wrong.
He responded that she was breaking the rules of Parliament.
Ms Knott did not accept that she was breaking the rules.
The Chairperson retorted that she was not allowed to speak to the Chairperson, and asked her to leave the room. She was breaking the rules. Her conduct was despicable.
Ms Knott again protested, and the Chairperson informed her that she was not permitted to engage in a dialogue with the Chairperson. She was giving Parliament the middle finger even though she was there by invitation.
Ms Knott refused to leave, and the Chairperson instructed the Committee Secretary to call the parliamentary protection service to remove Ms Knott from the meeting. Ms Knott refused to move.
Ms J Steenkamp (DA) asked the Chairperson for an explanation as to why he was asking Ms Knott to leave the meeting as she had not seen what the woman had been doing. As a Member of Parliament, she wished to know why the Chairperson was delaying the meeting.
The Chairperson informed Ms Steenkamp that it was none of her business. He was speaking to a member of the public and he was not obliged to explain to her.
Ms Steenkamp asked the Chairperson to inform her of the rule under which Ms Knott was being evicted from the meeting.
The Chairperson explained that he was evicting her in terms of the rules of Parliament and if Ms Steenkamp so wished, she could also leave.
Ms Steenkamp assured the Chairperson that she would not be leaving.
The Chairperson told Ms Steenkamp not to interject when he was talking.
The Chairperson repeated that Ms Knott had to leave the meeting as she had been speaking and gesturing.
The meeting was adjourned so that the parliamentary protection services could be called to evict her.
After about 15 minutes, the parliamentary protection services arrived outside of the room and Ms Knott left of her own accord.
The Chairperson explained that he had adjourned the meeting until Ms Knott had left. Her conduct had been despicable. She was interjecting in a whispered voice when a member of the public was presenting, commenting on the lanterns and other things that were being said. She had gestured in response to the presentation by Ms Samaai. Parliament did not allow such conduct. If that was how she was permitted to behave where she was working, that was fine, but not in Parliament. He would not allow that. It was taking the country backwards. She was basically trying to bully a member of the public in Parliament. She had been invited to Parliament, but had had a dialogue with the Chairperson, which she was not permitted to do, and did not even recognise that it was wrong. He had taken the decision that she had to leave the Committee room. She had refused to do so, and he had had to call for the parliamentary protection services. She had eventually left of her own accord. The Committee was dealing with a very emotive issue which reminded people of their racist past where people had restricted access to the beaches and other areas and where the majority of people never had freedom of movement. It was despicable conduct. He did not know if the delegation from CoCT supported her conduct.
The Chairperson requested Ms Samaai to continue.
Ms Samaai said she had found the Mayor’s, response to the incident unacceptable. He had politicised her experience by reducing friendships, affiliations, relations and experience to the political affiliation of the group members. Several days after the incident, the Mayor stated that he had investigated the incident and he was satisfied that the beachgoers had to leave because it was “unsafe to be on the beach after dark” and that no particular race group had been singled out and therefore it was not a discriminatory racist action.
She stated that the City of Cape Town had an oversight function in respect of private security services functioning on public beaches and had to manage coastal beaches in terms of the various laws and policies which promoted access and inclusivity.
Ms Samaai added that it was not just about the eviction, but about who the eviction benefitted. The racism was imbedded in the structural inequalities perpetuated by the actions of the security company upon instruction of the ratepayers and had been known to the City of Cape Town. Structural racism was a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms worked in various ways to perpetuate racial group inequalities and, in that instance, enforced “white privilege” on the Atlantic sea board.
Referring to the many complaints about PPA, Ms Samaai pointed out that they led to a very important question: On whose mandate did PPA act? Ms Samaai made various suggestions for incorporating previously disadvantaged communities in coastal access planning. She posed various questions: When was she going to have cost effective transport to get to the Atlantic Seaboard? When would there be houses for black people on the Atlantic Seaboard? Her presentation concluded with various recommendations relating to the broader picture and requesting an investigation into the incident of 23 December 2018. She was convinced that there was a relationship between CoCT and PPA, even if there was no written contract.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Samaai for her very passionate submission. He invited a second member of the public to address the Committee.
Presentation by Ms Selina Williams
Ms Selina Williams stated that she had been one of the persons on the beach on 23 December 2018 who had been asked to leave. She supported Ms Samaai’s submission. The incident had taken her back 29 years when in August 1989, three weeks after her sister had been killed in the Athlone bomb blast, she had gone with a group of UDM supporters to Blouberg beachfront by taxis. They had been stopped by police and when the people had run onto the beach, the police had “sjamboked” them and a resident had pointed a gun at them when they sought to escape via the person’s property. She had fought for freedom and had been traumatised by the re-enactment of a similar incident. When was it going to change? Camps Bay was not accessible to the people - they only went to the beach when people got off from work and it was economically viable. She concluded by saying that things had to change and that the people of South Africa had to have access to the beaches.
The Chairperson said that some people in the room could identify with the experiences as they were the experiences of the majority of the people in the country who had been oppressed by the previous system which they wanted to get away from in order to build a future different from the system that used to suppress people.
Mr Purdon requested permission to ask Ms Samaai two simple questions.
The Chairperson stated that he was not taking questions. Presentations would be completed and then he would allow questions.
City of Cape Town
Dr Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, made the presentation on behalf of CoCT. He was accompanied by the Executive Director for Safety and Security, Mr Richard Bosman.
Dr Badroodien began by making two points: Despite the point made by the Chairperson, Ms Knott had left willingly. Secondly, it was unclear under which rule she had been asked to leave, leaving the delegation with a great deal of uncertainty. He named the woman as Ms Caroline Knott, Advisor to the Mayor. The man and woman who had left the meeting with her were Mr Greg Wagner, mayoral spokesperson, and Ms Lydia Rauch, Dr Badroodien’s Executive Support Officer.
The Chairperson informed the meeting that he would address the issue after everyone had spoken, as well as which rule he had invoked.
Dr Badroodien said that he recognised the emotion and pain of the people, but the previous presentation had been shared in a very frantic and erratic way. There was a lot of misinformation and misguiding that he hoped to be able to clear up. At no point should it be seen that he spoke on behalf of PPA. He would not speak to details regarding the beach and other incidents as PPA could speak for itself.
He would be reading a prepared statement by Mayor Dan Plato and make other comments to deal with uncertainties that might have arisen as a result of the preceding presentation.
The incident was being exploited for political purposes as any talk of a black or coloured person being asked to leave the beach would open up wounds. However, it was not a racial incident. It was not a particular racial group but all groups on the beach that were asked, not forced, to leave. The Mayor was angered by the way in which the ANC had exploited the situation. It had become clear that on 16 December an unruly, drunk crowd caused it to be unsafe on the beach after dark. On 23 December, there was another unruly crowd at the entrance to the beach and the security guards had advised the people that it was unsafe to stay on the beach, but no one had been forced to leave.
Dr Badroodien noted that the previous speaker had said that she and other people had been forced to leave the beach. He distributed a photograph showing that the beachfront was a hive of activity at 8:30 with two black women walking down the steps to the beach and groups of all races on the beach.
The city had reported the incident to PSiRA and had provided detailed reports on the incident. The 4 000 deficit of SAPS officials in the province had resulted in people turning to private security companies, as was the case across the country. The city had allocated R165 million in a recent adjustment budget for additional law enforcement services.
He noted that there had been fewer than 50 protesters on Friday 26 December 2018 and 50 ANC people on the beach on 27 December 20018. The slaughtering of a sheep on the beach had ignored national regulations relating to the slaughtering of animals. SAPS officials had refused to intervene, and they had been reported to IPID. The photo of PPA and law enforcement on the beach had been taken on 16 December when city law enforcement returned from an anti-poaching exercise and the 2 PPA members went down to the beach to talk to them, and not on 23 December 2018, as alleged.
The Mayor was shocked and disappointed by the misrepresentation by the media and the political opportunism. With elections taking place soon, he expected to see more race baiting. It was a cruel reminder of terrible and unjust past.
The Mayor noted that CoCT had 307 kilometres of coastline and beaches, tidal pools, etc. and all were open to everyone to access and enjoy. It had never been a policy of CoCT to restrict access to facilities. In fact, the spaces were used to promote reconciliation and integration. Cape Town was an inclusive city.
Dr Badroodien added that the Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman, was also available for questions.
Presentation by PPA
PPA submitted a thick report with many annexures, including a CV of one of the guards involved, details of training, details of contact by law enforcement officials, a courtesy call to Camps Bay police station and photographs.
Mr Chris Diedericks, Executive Director, PPA, stated that he would be presenting PPA’s statement of facts. He was accompanied by attorney Simone Carolissen and candidate attorney Kaylynne Darion Stuurman.
PPA employed 400 individuals: 80% black, 6% white and 14% coloured employees. The company was registered with PSiRA.
Mr Diedericks explained that every festive season, especially from 16 December to early January, there was always an increase in the number of beachgoers, but also increased criminal activity in the surrounding area, such as constant robberies, assaults, inappropriate sexual acts, drugs, alcohol and break-ins of cars. The beach was not within the scope of his company’s protection. According to residents in the area, they had been approached by numerous concerned citizens to take action to prevent the criminal activity as they no longer had the freedom to enjoy the beach. PPA had been appointed by numerous residents of Clifton Fourth Beach and surrounding areas to patrol their homes and surroundings areas, but not the beach. PPA commenced duties on 15 December 2018.
Mr Diedericks asked why the work of PPA was being politicised and racialised because of one specific incident. Why did residents need to hire a private security company to protect them when law enforcement officials should be providing that service? The inefficacy of SAPS was ludicrous. Residents believed that SAPS had abdicated the responsibility to the residents to ensure their own protection.
Mr Diedericks referred the Committee to a number of photographs. Annexure PPA 5 showed where residents resided close to the beach. Annexure PPA 6 showed items confiscated by PPA from beachgoers and surrounding areas: drug-related paraphernalia, dangerous weapons, broken beer bottles, etc. that had been handed over to the police.
The Chairperson asked if the PPA officers had confiscated items from the people on the beach.
Mr Diedericks said that the items had been pointed out to patrolling PPA officers by the public.
The Chairperson noted that PPA patrolled the beaches, conducted law enforcement and confiscated items.
Mr Diedericks explained that the officers patrolled the parameters of properties that adjoined the beach but that the main patrol area was in the parking lot which was the main entrance to the area.
The Chairperson referred to PPA 7. Were those PPA members?
Mr Diedericks replied that the photograph showed CoCT Law Enforcement officers who had closed the beach on 16 December 2018 as a result of violence and unruly behaviour on the beach. The picture showed two PPA officers with the Law Enforcement members.
Mr Diedericks alleged that a stabbing incident had taken place in the area and SAPS had warned of a large group of unruly males in the area of Clifton. He believed that SAPS Camps Bay would have details of the incidents. He also referred to an attempted rape where the victim had been taken to the Camps Bay police station but had declined to lay charges. The perpetrator was taken to hospital following an attack on him by beachgoers.
Mr Diedericks stated that on 23 December 2018, the residents had asked for assistance in controlling the crowds in the area. At no stage did PPA say that the beach was closed or deny anyone right of access, nor did they evict anyone from the beach.
Annexure PPA 1 was taken on 23 December 2018. Riaan Botha and Sherwin Rademeyer were the PPA officers on duty. At 20:22 pictures showed beachgoers on the beach. PPA had been on a resident’s property, not the beach. A picture taken at 21:37 showed that the beach was empty by that time.
The Chairperson asked if the City and PPA had circulated pictures from the same camera.
Mr Diedericks understood that the picture being referred to was the one showing the PPA officers with CoCT Law Enforcement officers and had been taken by a hand-held camera.
Dr Badroodien said that the City of Cape Town photograph had been taken from the Lifeguard Hut. He did not know what picture the Chairperson was referring to.
Mr Diedericks said that the picture might be the same as he had not personally obtained the photographs.
The Chairperson assured him that it was the same picture.
Mr Diedericks stated that the officers had informed people that it was dangerous on the beach and that the beach had been closed on a previous occasion. When an officer had spoken to Mr Jacobs, Mr Jacobs became angry and misinterpreted his message. If PPA had chased people off the beach, would they not have ensured that people moved immediately? He referred to PPA 7 which showed that law enforcement members had previously removed people from the beach. Annexure PPA 8 showed that many beaches had been closed down and that PPA had been requested by CoCT Law Enforcement officers to assist.
He added that PPA had established a working relationship with the station commander, Captain Chandler, of SAPS at Camps Bay to discuss their role. He had evidence of phone calls from Law Enforcement officers and SAPS officers contacting PPA to request assistance. He mentioned that Mr Botha, the PPA officer, was a coloured man who was acting within the scope of his duty and had gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist the public. It was unfortunate that the incident had been escalated and more unfortunate that law enforcement did not step up and state that assistance had been requested from PPA.
Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association / Clifton Bungalow Association
Mr Chris Willemse, Chairperson, Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association, stated that the Association was in favour of beaches being open to all, but with the proviso that city law enforcement ensured a safe environment. The Association had no association or contract with PPA. The company had been employed by individual residents. He had empathy with Ms Samaai and Ms Williams, but the Ratepayers’ Association had no contract or association with PPA. That was a statement of fact.
Ms Diana Boynton, of the Clifton Bungalow Homeowners’ Association, confirmed that the Association had never had any association or contract with any security company, including PPA.
Mr Bernard Schäfer, Chairperson, Camps Bay and Clifton Policing Forum, stated that he could only speak to facts and policing. He could not speak to the emotions of the occasion as he had not been there and he could not speak for PPA as the Forum had no contract or relationship with PPA, nor had the Forum been involved in any of the planning activities of PPA. The Forum had seen a slow decline in all the policing stations in the cluster to which the Forum belonged as well as a decline in the resources available from the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, Metro and Traffic services. Law Enforcement had taken over from the old Beach Police.
There were zero Metro or Traffic services in Camps Bay and very few Law Enforcement officials, too few to effectively police the beaches. Law Enforcement had specific hours of work which explained why they closed the toilets, packed away deck chairs and vacated the beach at specific times, although sometimes they were paid overtime on high risk days. For that reason, public facilities and the people enjoying those facilities were not protected outside of those hours. The CoCT did not have the budget to extend the hours of work to provide round-the-clock protection. It was an international common practice to close public facilities after dark. When Law Enforcement ended their shifts, unruly people, gangs, etc moved in. They congregated on Clifton Fourth beach because it was wind-protected.
The Chairperson interrupted and said that he was reading something and had not given the notes to the Committee. He asked Mr Schäfer to round off.
Mr Schäfer explained that he had jotted down the notes while sitting in the meeting. He added that in the mornings there was broken glass, drug paraphernalia etc. on the beach. CPF was only interested in law and order. He compared that situation to where the individual had been asked to leave the Committee room that day, not because of race or skin colour, but because the law had to be upheld.
Mr Schäfer stated that the community of Camps Bay and Clifton was a liberal community that had always fought against apartheid. It saddened the community to see its public spaces being used as a political football. He urged everyone to put politics aside and to work towards a truly democratic environment.
The Chairperson stated that the CPF had not been scheduled to speak but he welcomed it. He had expected the Ratepayers Associations of Camps Bay and Clifton to make a submission because they were involved in the issue. The Committee had not invited the input from CPF but welcomed the input, although it should have been submitted in writing.
The Chairperson asked Mr Schäfer why he had said that the incident had been politicised.
Mr Schäfer replied that he would transcribe and supply the notes. He had said ‘politicised’ because the media and social media had politicised the incident which resulted in further breaking of the law on the beach and the animosity that arose as a result of the matter. It was a law and order issue, but people had refused to see it in that light. The CPF’s enquiries had shown that everyone on the beach had been advised to leave for their own safety after dark.
Presentation on Clifton Beach Incident – South African Police Service
Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, Provincial Police Commissioner for the Western Cape, was accompanied by Maj Gen Jeremy Veary, Provincial Commissioner for Detective Services, Maj Gen Mpumalelo Manci, Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner, and Maj Gen Hendrick Burger, Deputy Commissioner for Management Interventions.
The Provincial Commissioner assured the Committee that the Western Cape no longer had a shortfall of 4 000 members and the current shortage was only 1,326 members in terms of human resource guidelines, but did not include additional operations taking place in the province, such as Operation Thunder.
Major-General Burger informed the Committee he would present the background to the incident. SAPS had no reason not to believe the reports by people who were on the beach, such as the earlier presenters. According to the media, PPA appeared to be acting on behalf of the City of Cape Town. He could not comment on that. SAPS could say that security guards could protect the property of people who employed them, but their actions were limited to the protection of the property. Law Enforcement could specifically request security guards to assist with a specific incident at a specific time. The law did not allow security companies to perform any functions on public property and in public streets unless there was a very serious offence and they were protecting a person from injury. They could not enforce by-laws. He added that people should be free to express their feelings.
Major-General Burger stated quite adamantly that SAPS had no record of any officially reported rape cases in Camps Bay in November or December 2018. There was an incident between family members but, although they reported to the police station, they had not opened a docket. That group could not have been interpreted as a risk to other beachgoers and had not endangered the safety of other beachgoers, especially not on another night. People should stop using that as an excuse to explain why people were warned. He added that when a person was warned, the person was informed, but not told to do anything.
On 28 December 2018, Major-General Burger said he had been on the beach at 18:00 until 19:00, with the Minister of Police. Mr Plato, the Mayor of Cape Town had also been on the beach. He heard that the City had laid a complaint with IPID. One person from a group of people had said that he was going to slaughter a sheep and that it was his right in terms of the Constitution. The Mayor had asked the police to stop the slaughter. The police officers could not stop the slaughter because they did not know of any legislation that was being disobeyed. The Mayor quoted a bylaw which, SAPS had subsequently found, did not exist. Mayor Plato had asked if he would support the Law Enforcement officers if they attempted to stop the slaughter. Major-General Burger had said that, because of the mood of the people there, SAPS could not stop them. If any offence was being committed, Mayor Plato could approach the police later and open a docket.
Major-General Burger said that he would not have prevented CoCT Law Enforcement from doing their job. On 1 January 2019 (there was an error on the slide that read 1 September 2019), the Minister of Police had visited Clifton Beach. The anti-gang unit had confiscated firearms on the afternoon of 28 December 2018 before the slaughter incident and, since then, there had been no other major threats.
Major-General Veary spoke on various incidents. He spoke as a detective and, as such, could not divulge information about incidents where the investigation was ongoing. He informed the Committee of a number of incidents in which PPA had been accused and charged with intimidatory incidents on the beach:
-29 November 2018: a vendor of beach umbrellas reported an assault by PPA officers who were then charged at Camps Bay police station.
-3 December 2018: an incident in Camps Bay involving a beach vendor and a PPA officer, who was charged.
-23 December 2018: the PPA was accused of forcefully removing and intimidating beachgoers.
- the ‘who hired who’ case. The City of Cape Town was the complainant against PPA for misrepresenting the City. He had met with Mr Richard Bosman to seek clarity and Mr Bosman had submitted a series of emails indicating that PPA had no contract with, or mandate from, the City.
- 28 December 2018: a complaint of slaughtering on the beach. Major-General Veary had been on the beach and had advised Law Enforcement against escalating the risk to people in the vicinity. It had not been a public disorder situation but a ritual slaughter.
- Case regarding the Animal Cruelty Act: no evidence had been provided.
Slaughtering of an animal was not a crime but there were rules and regulations etc. as to how it had to be done. Maj General Veary believed that there had been no suffering and that nothing had violated the rules for slaughtering. The Meat Safety Act did not apply to slaughter for own consumption or for religious or cultural purposes. The Act did not state that it was an offence not to ask for permission to slaughter an animal. The inspector of the SPCA had arrived after the slaughter and could not describe the slaughter. SAPS had found no evidence of inhumane acts in the slaughter.
- Charges about defeating the ends of justice against the three generals and other officers who had been on the beach on 28 December 2018: nothing prohibited in law had taken place and so the SAPS officers had not been able to act.
Major-General Veary agreed that there had been an alleged rape, but it had been a family incident where the community had taken control of the situation and had stopped ‘the thing from happening’. The family had declined to lay a charge of rape.
Major-General Veary could find no evidence of anarchic behaviour on the beach as suggested in the media.
Major-General Manci stated that SAPS had had an integrated plan with CoCT Law Enforcement. Daily foot patrols were conducted on the beach. SAPS had given 50 newly trained members to Cape Town police station clusters for beach patrols and for policing the malls. After the incident, SAPS had dedicated deployments in Clifton and Camps Bay. From 24 December 2018 to 1 January 2019, SAPS had deployed 127 people to the Camps Bay and Clifton areas on a day-by day basis.
Major-General Manci stated that Public Order Policing units (POPs) had been deployed to the Western Cape and there were sufficient of them for crowd management. POPS had been put on stand-by. The intention was that POPs would stop any further chasing of people from the beaches.
The Chairperson stated that SAPS had been very helpful. He sensed contradiction between what PPA had said and what SAPS had said but the Committee Members would get into those issues when they asked questions. He also had a lot of questions in his mind.
Presentation on Coastal Access - Department of Environment Affairs
Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General, Department of Environment Affairs, informed the Committee that the Minister had called the DG on December 2018 and had asked the Department to respond to the incident on Clifton Fourth Beach. Neither she nor the relevant DDG, Ms Judy Beaumont, DDG for Climate Change, had had enough information on the situation to assist the Minister as they were on leave in rural areas. On 28 December 2018, the DG had provided the Minister with information on the NEMA: Integrated Coastal Management Act, Act 24 of 2008, and what it meant in relation to that situation.
The DG had also been instructed to write to the City of Cape Town, asking for information on the incident so that the matter could be followed up at the combined Minister and provincial Executive Council Members (MINMEC) meeting. The DG had received a response from the Acting Manager of the City while the Acting Chief Director for Coastal Conservation Strategies, Radia Razak, had met with provincial counterparts. There was to be a follow-up and the DG would report to the Minister before the MINMEC meeting.
The presentation covered the legislative framework and the priorities that the DEA was working on. The City of Cape had not previously been identified as a priority area.
Ms Razak presented the legal framework about access to coastal areas. The key legislation was the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, which provided the principles of coastal management, indicated that the beaches were a national asset and that access had to be provided to the sea and the beach. She explained the Department’s strategies, the awareness raising that had taken place and listed the identified priority areas for the pilot programme.
Ms Razak explained that the Department had seen various media reports but needed to establish the facts and an accurate sequence of events. The City of Cape Town had responded, saying that it did not restrict access to beaches and was conducting an investigation into the matter. Based on the outcome of the DEA fact-finding investigation, appropriate action would take place.
The Chairperson thanked DEA and stated that there would be a break, following which Committee Members would engage in discussions.
The Chairperson addressed the situation of the lady who had been asked to leave the meeting. Rule 188 of the National Assembly Rules dealt with the removal of persons: the sergeant-at-arms could be requested to remove a person who disrupted the proceedings and also to remove anyone who refused to leave.
The Chairperson stated that Ms Knott had been unruly because she had been making comments when she had not liked what others said. Her behaviour had become worse when Ms Samaai was speaking. He had heard her protesting about things that she did not like. Ms Knott had commented that it was not safe to light lanterns on the beach at night. She had been trying to bully the presenter, showing clearly that she did not agree with what was being said. Everyone had views and at an appropriate time, one could speak. She had been expressing a white superiority complex. She was an adviser to the Mayor and yet in Parliament she could not allow people to express their pain. She had become defiant and had engaged in a dialogue with the Chairperson and so she had been asked to leave. The ruling was solely the decision of the Chairperson and if anyone was unhappy with his ruling, there were procedures that could be followed.
The Chairperson noted that all presentations had been received and Members would ask questions of all presenters. He would begin by clearing up a few issues that were unclear following presentations.
The Chairperson asked PPA if there was any agreement between the City of Cape Town and PPA. The Mayor of Cape Town had been emphatic that there was no agreement. If there was no agreement, on what authority was PPA acting when it had assisted?
Mr Diedericks agreed that there was no contractual agreement between PPA and the City of Cape Town but whenever PPA had assisted, it was because they had been contacted, at that time, by Law Enforcement officers or SAPS officials with a request to assist.
The Chairperson asked why it had assisted without any agreement about how it should assist.
Mr Diedericks stated that assistance was merely on the basis of helping out as there was no agreement and no remuneration for assisting.
The Chairperson asked who had appointed PPA.
Mr Diedericks replied that PPA had been appointed by clients who were residents at Clifton Fourth beach and private business owners in camps Bay.
The Chairperson asked for an explanation of the Clifton business association referred to in the documentation.
Mr Diedericks replied that it was just a group of private residents in Clifton and private businesses in Camps Bay.
The Chairperson noted that Annexure PPA 6 contained pictures of items confiscated from beachgoers. How had they got them? It meant that the officers had had to go on the beach and do law enforcement. On whose authority were they doing it?
Mr Diedericks replied that, as mentioned in his presentation, the items had been pointed out to the security officials and they had been asked by the public or Law Enforcement to retrieve them.
The Chairperson noted that when Mr Diedericks had made the presentation, he had said that PPA officers had confiscated the items. By what authority had they confiscated the items as that was a policing function? Was PPA aware that it could not act like the police? On whose authority had they done it? Was there an agreement with the police that the PPA members could go on the beach and confiscate dangerous items?
Mr Diedericks assured the Chairperson that PPA was aware that it could not engage in policing functions. PPA had not been mandated to do it, but the majority of the items had been pointed out by the public. Should the guys just turn a blind eye and let it be or should they, on the spur of the moment, recover what they could and hand the items over to law enforcement?
The Chairperson asked under what authority the PPA officers had been acting.
Mr Diedericks assumed that it was under the mandate of the clients to protect them and their property.
The Chairperson noted that PPA had gone onto the beach and confiscated items. He asked what the mandate of clients involved. Did it involve looking after clients’ property or going into public spaces and doing law enforcement in the public space?
Mr Diedericks said that PPA was mandated to look after clients’ property.
The Chairperson asked if there was an agreement with the police.
Mr Diedericks replied that there was no agreement, but it was common practice for the police to work hand-in-hand with the security companies.
The Chairperson wanted to understand the situation. The beachgoers were on the beach which was a public space, they were approached, and things were confiscated in a public space by a private security company. That was what he wanted to understand. They confiscated property, not from the private property of clients, but from public spaces. Was that the case?
Mr Diedericks agreed that that was the case.
The Chairperson asked the City Council about the picture of the beach which showed the time of 8:30pm. The picture was the same as the one offered by PPA. Had they been exchanging notes, where had CoCT obtained the picture?
Dr Badroodien said that he understood that the picture seemed identical but PPA had supplied a different time. He had not seen the picture under discussion so he could not say if they were identical. The CoCT picture had been taken down the walkway where one entered the concourse that took one to the beach.
The Chairperson stated that it was the same picture.
Having been shown the picture, Dr Badroodien agreed that it was the same. He asked the CoCT Safety and Security Executive Manager, Mr Richard Bosman, if he had shared the picture with PPA.
Mr Bosman stated that he had received the photograph from the internal staff who had investigated the situation. He could not say if it had been shared with PPA. He would have to check with the junior member of staff who had compiled the documentation.
The Chairperson said he wanted to ascertain to what extent CoCT had shared notes with PPA.
Mr Bosman said that he could kill that line of questioning as he never shared any notes or information with PPA. He had not met with PPA and he could give the Chairperson that assurance. He had communicated with PPA on the morning of 26 December 2018. He had been informed about the incident on the morning of 24 December 2018, after the incident had taken place on the evening of 23 December 2018. CoCT had responded to a media query on a WhatsApp forum about whether the beach had been closed at 8 p.m. In the course of the day, staff at CoCT had found out what had happened. To make sure that there was not a repeat of the incident, he had contacted a gentleman named Bernard from PPA late on 24 December. On 26 December he had contacted Bernard via email indicating that PPA had no authority on the beach. He had met with PSiRA.
Dr Badroodien added that the Mayor and his spokesperson had met with PPA the previous year, but Mr Bosman had not been at the meeting. He asked the Chairperson if he could ascertain from PPA where the picture had come from.
Mr Diedericks replied that PPA had got the picture from a client’s camera situated on his own premises adjoining Clifton Fourth Beach.
The Chairperson asked who had shared it with the City of Cape Town. He wondered how two separate entities with no formal agreement both had the same picture. How had it happened that they both had the same picture from a single source? The two had used the same documentation to prove the same point that there were still beachgoers at the beach after 8 p.m.
Dr Badroodien was, by that stage (having contacted staff), able to provide clarity on the origin of the photograph. He stated that the City had obtained the photo from the media and that it was most likely that the media had obtained the picture from PPA. An opinion piece had been written on 6 January 2019 by Marie-Louise Antonio whose article had included the photograph taken by a CCTV camera.
The Chairperson responded that PPA had said that it was not from a CCTV camera but from the camera of his client.
Dr Badroodien explained that, if he had heard Mr Diedericks correctly, the photograph had come from the client’s CCTV camera.
Mr Diedericks confirmed that that was correct.
The Chairperson invited the Committee Members to ask questions.
Ms Steenkamp thanked the Chairperson for clarifying the ruling in respect of the lady, explaining that she had raised her hand at the time to thank him, but he had probably not seen her hand.
Referring to the photo provided by the City of Cape Town, Ms Steenkamp wanted Dr Badroodien to elaborate on the picture, although he had already explained where it had come from. Did the City of Cape Town have any plans in place to ensure beach safety going forward? Why was the City stopped from preventing the slaughter of the sheep?
Ms Steenkamp understood the painful memories of the ladies from the community members and she did not want to make their situation worse, but could they elaborate on the scene? Had the security staff asked only them to leave or everyone, had been any force been used and how had the incident actually happened? The media said suggested various different things. Could Ms Samaai please elaborate on the structural racism that she had said the City was aware of?
Referring to the pictures of confiscated alcohol in the PPA documentation, Ms Steenkamp asked if the alcohol had been confiscated on 23 December 2019. PPA had said that the guards were on the beach for the safety of the people, but they had also said that PPA only guarded the property of people who paid them. Her security company did not go into her neighbour’s yard, so why did PPA go onto the beach?
Addressing the SAPS representatives, Ms Steenkamp noted that Maj-General Veary had mentioned that there had been no suffering by the sheep, but a sheep would never just lie still like the one in the video. Sheep being led to slaughter usually kicked up a lot of fuss. The videos on social media showed the sheep to be very still. She understood the technicalities and the gaps in the law and the fact was that there was a Meat Safety Act. Did they know what had happened to the sheep thereafter? Was the meat consumed thereafter? If so, it was a problem under the Meat Safety Act.
Ms Steenkamp asked DEA where the beach access photographs had been taken. Was it in Clifton, Cape Town, or where? She did not have a problem with a sheep being slaughtered for cultural purposes, but she asked, about the environmental aspect. She knew that there were certain Acts pertaining to public spaces and the beaches. That beach had its own ecosystem. She asked if the blood from the sheep had been cleaned up, when that was done, who had cleaned up, and whether an environmental assessment had taken place before, during and after? If there was no environmental assessment afterwards, she did not think it was acceptable to have blood on a beach. The blood would seep into the sand.
She asked the Chairperson about a statement that he had issued on 28 December 2019, using words such as ‘appalled’, ‘barbaric’, ‘condemned’, and ‘racist removal’. The meeting had been called to enable the Committee to do some fact-finding. That statement contradicted the facts that the Committee had heard that day. Was he prepared to retract the words: ‘barbaric’, ‘condemned’, and ‘racist removal’, as the facts did not support that version?
Mr Purdon said that after listening carefully to all the information, there was no doubt in his mind that the situation had been politicised. The Committee had a proud record of rising above party politics, so the day’s meeting had deeply disappointed him. He quoted Tony Leon: “The power of logic has a hard swim against an ocean of emotion.” By logic, he meant, reasoning, deduction and the powers of observation so he suggested that everyone in the room, and the Committee, took the emotion out of it and dealt with the facts.
Mr Purdon asked Ms Samaai if she had lodged a complaint. The Mayor had said that only Mr Jacobs had complained. Was she part of Mr Jacobs’ group? He required simply a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Was everyone asked to leave or only people of colour? The picture suggested differently. The people in the room needed the answer to that question. Who should they believe when they saw that picture?
Addressing SAPS, Mr Purdon noted that private security companies had boomed all over South Africa because of ineffective policing, which was a national competency. He knew there were many dedicated police officers, but the decline in service was a reality. Were there any crime records for the area for three months before the incident? He had been told, and his research had shown, that there was a spike in crime for three months before the incident. SAPS seemed to ask for help regularly.
Mr Purdon asked the CPF whether the residents of Clifton and Camps Bay had faith in the local police, and whether they reported the crimes. Or had they given up reporting crimes to the police because of inaction, unless it was for insurance purposes?
Mr Purdon asked the City of Cape Town whether any bylaws had been violated. Suggesting that either PPA or the CPF could respond, Mr he asked if there were any other security businesses operating in the area and, if so, what was PPA’s relationship with the opposition? Referring to the letter from the DG of DEA to the City of Cape Town, he thought that he had heard the DG say that the meeting that day was premature because DEA was dealing with the issue on an inter-governmental level. Was the meeting premature? Had the Chairperson jumped the gun and had people flown down from Johannesburg when the issue could have been dealt with on another level?
Ms H Nyambi (ANC) asked PPA whether two teenagers had been raped on the beach on 23 December and had the case been reported to the police? She asked CoCT what lessons had been learnt and what were the key measures to be implemented to ensure the safety of beachgoers. Addressing PPA, she asked whether it had followed the correct protocol when evicting people from the beach.
Mr Z Makubele (ANC) thanked the presenters for the clarity of the representations as he now had the context and could speak with authority on what had happened. One issue that was unfortunate was that people talked about the issue being politicised. He was a member of ANC and in the input of the MMC, Dr Badroodien, it was suggested that the ANC was taking advantage of the situation. He was a political being, as might be the people involved in the issue, and it was difficult to remove oneself from what was seen as a political act. Just because it might be seen to be politicising an issue, people should not be afraid to confront the issue. The Committee Members could not take out the racism aspect because the issue had to do with people of different races. They had to deal with issues in a racial context if that was the context in which it had happened.
Mr Makubele noted they were talking about a public space and a private entity that happened to operate in a public space which was not under its jurisdiction and it had no authority to act in that public space. That situation had nothing to do with racism but the private company that could not act on behalf of law enforcement agencies as none of the agencies had a written agreement with it to operate in that space. PPA accepted that there was no written agreement for them to operate in that space but had stated that it was unfortunate that the law enforcement agencies were not admitting that they had asked for help and subsequently had allowed PPA to fall on its own.
PPA should have known that it could not go into a public space and start enforcing whatever it did in the public space. For record purposes, the City of Cape Town had to say whether there was any relevant by-law. Whoever had been representing the City on the beach might have lied about a by-law and should explain why he or she had lied. The Committee needed to know if there was a by-law and if not, why not? Who had issued the lockdown instruction on 16 December that had set the precedent? Was it the Camps Bay business group? Who had issued the lock down instruction?
Mr Makubele noted that everyone spoke about a rape case that had been reported on 23 December 2018. Who had generated that lie? Or did someone want to hide racism behind sexual offences that might not have existed?
He added that PSiRA had indicated that if there was no written contract, in terms of the Code of Conduct, no member should be able to do that work or they would be violating the code of conduct. It might be that PPA was violating the code of conduct. He wanted to know what had happened when PPA had found dangerous weapons. Had PPA ever arrested or charged anyone? What had happened when people had eventually left the beach? If people had remained, what race were those people? That needed to be understood.
Mr Makubele stated that the Committee wanted to see the results of the investigations by DEA, the City and PSiRA. Had there been any violation of the Coastal Management Act? Was there anything in terms of the law that needed to be amended, such as anything in the law that prevented people from gaining access to the beach? He did not get any sense of a need to change the law, but could DEA confirm that? He hoped that lessons learnt would guide DEA so that that kind of situation did not re-occur in the future.
The Chairperson asked PPA about the chronological cycle of events indicated in their documentation which indicated that many events of anti-social behaviour had occurred in the area before the incident. There was a reference to a picture. The custodian of crime incidents was SAPS and the Major-General had stated that those crimes had not been reported. The situation reported by PPA was not the same as existed in the SAPS Occurrence Book. Was PPA contradicting the police in respect of a record of crimes? Did PPA have better records than SAPS? Why did PPA go onto the beach if there was no agreement with City or SAPS? Why were they doing law enforcement on the beach, as could be seen in the photo? The items confiscated showed that PPA had done law enforcement on the beach. Why would they want to do that? It was consistent with the statements of members of the public who had said that PPA had approached people on the beach and asked them to leave. Why?
The Chairperson read from the Mayor’s letter which stated that he had met with PPA and the residents who had hired PPA. The Mayor stated there had been an increase in the number of criminal incidents reported the week before the incident, but SAPS had said that no incidents were reported. It was noticeable that PPA and CoCT had the same version of the story, although it was denied by SAPS. Then there was the same picture that appeared in the documents of both entities. And yet, the City and PPA continued to deny that there was a contract or relationship between the two. For him, from where he was standing, the information about crime was consistent with the PPA statement and, together with the picture, there was a lot of similarity in the statements. Also, they both characterised the incident as political. He referred to the PPA document and the Mayor’s statement. He had identified a number of points that seemed identical. For him, it was as if they were both singing from the same hymnbooks. Both characterised the incident as a situation where beachgoers had been asked to leave and not forced to leave. Was it a coincidence? Still there was a denial of a relationship.
The Chairperson noted that on Page 5 of the Mayor’s statement, it referred to the incident as “a painful reminder”. Why call it “a painful reminder” if the City did not believe that the incident was the lived experience of the people? He asked if the City wanted to respond to his concerns.
The Chairperson said that there would be no questions to the CPF as they had not been invited but had piggy-backed on the ratepayers’ associations. The Ratepayers Association had made it clear that they were not involved in the situation as they had not contracted PPA.
The Chairperson thought that Dr Badroodien had stated that the photograph was from the lifeguard hut. Then he had said that it was from a CCTV camera. Which was right version?
SAPS response to questions
The SAPS Provincial Commissioner noted the question related to a decline in SAPS. He had tried to address that matter earlier on. If one was dealing with big organisations and talking of the resourcing of big establishments, there was always an element of fluidity. The fact was that SAPS was not short of 4 000 members in the Western Cape but only 1 037 members. By the end of the year, SAPS Western Cape would have been given an additional 1070 members.
SAPS did not ask for assistance on a regular basis. There was only evidence of one phone call from SAPS. It was not true that SAPS was requesting assistance from PPA on a regular basis. There were partnerships between SAPS and PPA, but SAPS was never so desperate that it had to ask PPA for assistance.
Regarding crime statistics, the Commissioner noted that SAPS received statistics on a daily basis and re-organised staff depending on those statistics. SAPS would have known if there had been a spike in crime. Even the additional SAPS members who had been deployed to the area after the instance, had been deployed on the basis of the situation as per SAPS monitoring. SAPS had such records but had not brought them with them.
Major-General Veary repeated that no rape had been reported. He had checked through the duty book and had found only details of an attempt to rape a young woman by someone known to her. The family had not wanted it reported. The community had intervened, assaulted the perpetrator and taken him to the police station.
The Chairperson pointed out that an incident of rape was recorded in the PPA report.
Major-General Veary said that he could not use the word ‘assault’ because no case had been laid. The women on the beach at the time had prevented the man from doing it. He could not speak of assault as defined in criminal law.
Referring to the issue of animal suffering, he spoke about the Meat Safety Act and the regulations. He spoke of his personal experience in the slaughtering of animals. Slaughtering was not illegal. There were regulations as to how the slaughtering had to be done. He referred to the Act and stated that the slaughter had been consistent with the way that animals were slaughtered for cultural purposes. Section 75 of the Act dealt with bleeding times for animals. He had observed that the slaughtering of the sheep had been done legally.
The Chairperson explained that the Committee was not probing the slaughtering of the sheep. The Committee was proving the restriction of access to the beach. The sheep slaughtering had only provided context. He appreciated Major-General Veary’s knowledge. His response was adequate. Major-General Veary had stated that, based on his knowledge of the law, there had been no illegal activity.
The DG stated that her correspondence had not started the issue. The Minister had informed her on 28 December 2018 of the saga that had broken out in Clifton in which people had been denied access to the beach and a later situation about the slaughtering of the sheep. The Minister had asked the Department to prepare an input. The DG had not had access to media at the time and the DDG was also out of town. She had advised the Minister in terms of what the Coastal Management Act said in relation to access to coastal areas and beaches in general terms. She added that the legislation also regulated matters, such as dumping and effluent discharge. So, unless the slaughtering had taken place in the sea, it was a matter relating to beach cleaning etc, which was a municipal responsibility. The Minister had been going to have an engagement with the Mayor of Cape Town but she had offered to communicate with the municipality and had written the letter to the City to obtain further information and to establish the facts as there was a concurrent function between national, provincial and local government levels. She had received a response from the acting City Manager, and DEA had had an internal meeting to discuss the matter.
When the Committee had called on her to present, she, as DG, had no choice but to make the presentation, although but she had informed the Chairperson that DEA did not have an action plan as yet as it was still investigating.
Ms Razack responded to Ms Steenkamp. The pictures relating to access to the sea in the DEA presentation were of Salt Rock in KwaZulu-Natal, Eersterivier in the Eastern Cape and Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape.
Mr Diedericks replied that the alcohol had been confiscated on 23 December 2018. The PPA had been on the beach as the perimeter of some properties was at the walkway, as could be seen in the pictures. PPA was there in order to protect the property and safety of its clients. PPA had not been acting as law enforcement officers, but in the best interests of safety.
The Chairperson pointed out that Ms Steenkamp had said that her security services did not look after the neighbour’s property. The same thing applied in Clifton. If the private property was encroaching on the beach, was that allowed? Did the bylaw allow it? It would have to be looked into. Were they not encroaching on the public space? Those South Africans who could buy property at the coast sometimes built their properties so that they encroached on the beach. That was an issue to be addressed on another day. The point was that the beach was public property. Why had the clients told them to clear the beach?
Mr Diedericks said that the properties bordered the beach and the parking area, so the security personnel had to walk around and be on the beach side to protect the property.
The Chairperson asked why the clients wanted PPA to monitor the beach which was public property. Was it the same confusion that had led to PPA telling people to vacate the beach? He said that he did not understand Mr Diederick’s logic. Public property was public property. PPA had no business regulating activities in a public space.
Mr Diedericks noted the point.
The Chairperson asked if PPA was involved in any other instances of law enforcement in the area. He had heard of reports that the security officers were doing law enforcement all over the Clifton area.
Mr Diedericks said that there were no other such activities that he was aware of.
The Chairperson suggested that there were cases that he was not aware of. He stated that there were two reported cases of guards involved in assaulting the umbrella vendors.
Mr Diedericks informed him that the cases had been withdrawn by the public prosecutor that morning.
The Chairperson noted that it did not matter as there were allegations of assault and evidence of cases opened involving his staff in assault charges, so PPA was not confining its work to the properties of clients, but was all over the place beating up people and telling people to leave public places.
Mr Diedericks responded that those were only allegations.
The Chairperson asked what all the cases of chasing beachgoers and beating up vendors, etc. said about the reputation of PPA. What did that say about PPA as an organisation, about its reputation and the conduct of PPA in the area? There was no confirmation that the charges had been withdrawn. SAPS had said that two cases of assault had been opened.
Ms Simone Carolissen, Attorney for PPA, attempted to assist.
The Chairperson informed her that she was not permitted to speak as the Committee meeting was not a court. It was not allowed. She could give Mr Diedericks a note.
Mr Diedericks said that he had been informed that it was a fact inquiry and not an interrogation into the character of the company. He was there to answer questions about things that had happened on 23 December 2018.
The Chairperson asked him if he thought that the Chairperson had no right to ask about the company. He said that the Committee and the public had the right to know what the company was doing, including chasing people and beating up defenceless vendors on the street. What did it say to the credibility of the company?
Mr Diedericks said that he had no comment at that moment.
The Chairperson instructed him to continue.
Mr Diedericks stated that there were other security companies working in the Clifton area: Bay-Watch Response, ADT, Talon, and several in-house security services.
City of Cape Town Response
Dr Badroodien indicated that he needed to address some of the remarks made by the Chairperson. He stated, quite categorically, that the references that the Chairperson had attempted to make insinuating that there had been some form of collusion between PPA and the City of Cape Town were incorrect. There had been no form of collusion or conspiring and no conversations and he wanted that on record because the attempts to mislead the people in the room were not fair in respect of the attempts by CoCT to clarify and present the facts, as he had attempted to do throughout the day.
The Chairperson pointed out that he had just asked whether it was a coincidence.
Dr Badroodien stated that he was coming to that point. The Chairperson had asked “whether or not there seemed to be some similarity in terms of making reference to the fact that it seems to be or may be perceived to have been a political effort on the part of the ANC”. He referred the Chairperson to three documents as well as the letter received from the DG.
Noting that the occurrences took place on 23 December 2018:
-on 26 December 2018, the ANC statement had been issued. The headline stated: ANC outraged by Fourth Beach shutdown. It stated that a security company had wanted to kick people off the beach, the beach was closed and cleared at 8 p.m. All of those were mischievous claims by what one would assume to be a politically desperate office bearer.
-on 29 December 2018, the following statement was issued by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee and had to be seen in conjunction with the previous statement. Headline: Environmental Affairs Committee appalled by and condemns the racist removal of black people at Clifton beach. “The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs is appalled by and condemns the restriction of access and the removal of black people at Clifton Beach in Cape Town on Sunday, 23 December 2018. The committee has noted the public outcry that has been caused by this prejudicial act… we condemn this barbaric and racist act of the unlawful removal of beach goers by the private security company purportedly acting on the instruction of the City of Cape Town …”
-on 30 December 2018 the DG of DEA had sent a letter to CoCT asking for facts. The tone had changed.
Dr Badroodien explained that the first two statements had presented issues of emotion – and he acknowledged that they were real emotions – as statements of fact that had misled the public and the media, including the international media. Thereafter, the City had received the invitation to attend the meeting and again the tone had started to change. As with the letter from the DG, the City had been invited to participate in the inquiry and the misleading expressions of outrage that had previously coloured the initial statements had been removed. There was an understanding that perhaps the facts still needed to be found out. That was where they found themselves at the meeting.
Dr Badroodien urged the Chairperson to not mislead the Committee and those present to believe that there had been collusion between CoCT and PPA as his above references showed that it was not illogical to assume that perhaps there was a political desire to paint the picture of Clifton in a particular way.
He responded to the Chairperson’s question about the statement issued by the Mayor. The Mayor spoke of the painful reminders of unjust past. It was important not to belittle the emotions of those on the beach because those emotions and memories were real and that was why the Mayor noted that any suggestion of racism had to be taken seriously. The city had made it a priority to be inclusive and to foster a sense of social integration and social cohesion. He had previously stated that the City used the spaces, such as beaches, as places of conciliation, acknowledging the pain that had been experienced.
He stated categorically that at no point had anyone been kicked off the beach, or forcibly removed, nor were there any episodes of violence. There had been a request for beachgoers to recognise that there was a concern for their safety.
The Chairperson said that there was an emphatic statement from the City and from the Mayor that beachgoers were politely asked to leave as there had been violence and crime on the beach. He had presented that as a statement of fact. He did not understand it as CoCT had not been there. What he knew was that it was only the beachgoers and the PPA on the beach. There had been no one from CoCT Law Enforcement. How could the Mayor make such an emphatic statement when he had not been there?
Dr Badroodien replied that, as he had stated in his presentation, the Mayor had been on the beach on 28 December 2018 and had walked the length and breadth of the beach and had spoken to the beachgoers about their experiences. It was then that his understanding of the occurrences on the beach had taken form. He had written with that knowledge.
Dr Badroodien acknowledged that he had been emphatic in his statements, but the reason was that it was important not to belittle the memories of those that had waited for so long for those spaces to be opened up, not only in the city, but across the country. For that reason, it was important to state that no one had been forced to leave the beach. On 23 December 2018, two PPA guards had informed people of the safety and security issues on the beach but his information was that no one had been forced to leave, as could be seen in the picture received by CoCT from the media.
The Chairperson said that he needed to understand the situation as there were two versions. The ladies had said that they were forced to leave at 8 p.m. Then there was the version of PPA, and the city had accepted PPA’s version and had disregarded the version of the members of the community. He did not want a response but there were versions to ponder. Should CoCT not remain open to both versions? He did not want to hear a response, but the City should have said that there were two versions and should not have associated itself with either version. Was that not the proper way to respond to the situation?
Dr Badroodien said that the City had addressed the issue because there was an allegation that the City had been responsible for closing the beach. Two members of the public had shared their experiences, but he had statements from other members of the public in front of him. Dr Badroodien added that Mr Jacobs, the ANC Provincial Secretary, had made reference to a private security company that had appeared to operate with the right-wing elements of CoCT and ratepayers with the intention of humiliate them.
Dr Badroodien did not believe that there were two stories. Ms Samaai had said very clearly and emphatically that no one had been forced to leave the beach violently. The beachgoers had been informed of the safety concern and invited to leave the beach. Beyond that, it was quite clear that there had been no involvement by the City on 23 December 2018.
Dr Badroodien apologised about the picture that he had not been clear about. The two buildings were adjacent, the private residence and the lifeguard hut. He accepted that it was the camera of a client of PPA.
The Chairperson asked if it was legal for a private person to set up a camera that focused on people enjoying themselves in a public space, some of them in their bikinis.
Major-General Burger stated that it was illegal for residents to monitor people in a public space outside their houses. SAPS had had a similar situation in Constantia where people were photographing the traffic instead of their properties.
Mr Bosman stated that CoCT had a policy about CCTV networks. People were encouraged to register cameras with the City. They would be advised of the legal requirements.
The Chairperson was concerned about private citizens filming people, especially on the beach and Parliament had a photo of people roaming the beach under surveillance of a camera belonging to a private citizen but it was an illegal photograph. The City and PPA had produced an illegal picture to make an argument in Parliament.
Mr Bosman said that he was under the understanding that it was an inquiry and yet the Chairperson kept making assumptions about the City being guilty.
The Chairperson told Mr Bosman that he was making a mistake. He could not come to Parliament and tell the Chairperson what to do. Members would make whatever comments or conclusions that they wished to arrive at. It was not his (Mr Bosman’s) business to dictate to Members of Parliament. He had to desist and answer the questions. The Chairperson could say whatever he wished. Exactly as the lady had done earlier, he wanted to engage with the Chairperson, which he had no right to do. If he (Mr Bosman) wanted to get into the definition of a parliamentary inquiry, that was his business. The Chairperson would not take instructions from anybody. He was there to do what he was supposed to do. If he (Mr Bosman) told the politicians what to say wherever he was employed, that was fine, but he did not do that in Parliament.
The Chairperson was thinking aloud. He was concluding that an illegally obtained picture was used by the City as evidence in Parliament. It was not for him (Mr Bosman) to tell him that he could not make that conclusion. He should not come and tell Parliament what to do.
Mr Bosman stated that he had responded to the letter from DEA at the end of December as the City Manager had been on leave. He added that additional staff were employed on the beach over the festive season and all incidents were formally recorded. The City paid for staff to work overtime and extended hours. For example, there were 300 000 people on the CoCT beaches on New Year’s Day and there had been no incidents and no denial of access.
Mr Bosman explained that on 28 December 2018, in anticipation of potential problems at Clifton, SAPS had called Law Enforcement, including metro and traffic police to form a joint operation. The overall commander was Commander Brandt. Law Enforcement had wanted to act but SAPS’ advice had been that the crowd would be difficult to control. He had suggested that dockets be opened, which had been done. One of the by-laws was the environmental health by-law which dealt with the by-products of slaughter and the disposal of the carcass, etc.
The Chairperson asked if the by-law actually existed.
Mr Bosman confirmed that it was a municipal by-law. It was not promulgated in terms of the Meat Act. It was legislation passed by the City. He would provide a copy.
Response by member of the public, Ms Samaai
Ms Samaai thanked the Portfolio Committee for giving her the opportunity to give her story. She thought that the interactions with the City and the questions that had been raised could have been done in a much better manner. She took umbrage with Dr Badroodien’s statement that her presentation was erratic and frantic. The challenge was that racism and classism were emotional issues as they deeply affected people’s lives. It hurt and was painful. To be dispassionate was undermining and dismissive of people’s real lives and what had happened on the 23rd. The comments of Dr Badroodien showed the arrogance of the City that had no idea of what was going on in the city. If there had been an investigation, she would have expected the mayor to contact one of the twelve people who had been in her party on the beach.
She took umbrage that “her daughter’s and her experience was the sum total of the political affiliations of the people that she had joined at the beach”. It was not right and not appropriate. Their experiences should not be reduced to that.
Ms Samaai stated that the statement about logic and emotion had to be looked at. She was in a privileged position to be there, but she took the statement seriously. Women were hysterical and emotional and so they could not think properly. That was what she had taken from his statement.
On a point of order, Mr Purdon stated that a presenter could not point fingers at Members. She should answer the questions.
The Chairperson informed Ms Samaai that she could not point at Members. He introduced all the Members.
Ms Samaai apologised and said that it was her emotion and passion coming out. Emotion and passion should not be discarded for alleged logic. She wanted to say that she had been on the beach and the pictures were very clear, so she did not understand why the question was asked again.
She added that it was clear that she was talking about structural racism. Everyone knew who lived in Camps Bay and Clifton. Her question at the beginning was, although there was no beach apartheid: How accessible was Clifton? How accessible was Camps Bay? How accessible were the beaches? How safe was it for people to travel there and back to the townships? When would the coastal areas have housing for black people so that they were not temporary commuters? That was structural racism. If all of the incidents in Camps Bay and Clifton had actually happened, then the whole of Cape Town should have been shut down. Was Strandfontein beach shut down? That was a far more violent and dangerous beach. That was the structural racism. Those were the challenges. All beaches should be shut down as there were far more dangerous beaches. That was the challenge that she had. It was spatial apartheid.
Ms Samaai stated that there was an obligation on the City of Cape Town to recognise that it was not just a law, but policies and practices were in place to suit the minority and not the majority of the people. She had showed a slide which showed that there was still economic separation. Places where black people lived were more impoverished than places where white people lived. White people lived in high-income areas. She had showed the statistics. If South Africa was to build an inclusive country, people had to understand that social cohesion was not about being colour blind.
Ms Samaai stated that she had expected questions that acknowledged her pain and the pain of those who had been on the beach. She had not been there in terms of any political affiliation. She hoped that the City of Cape Town would take her number and Selina’s number because she had laid complaints with PSiRA and SAPS, and CoCT should take her story and not the story of people walking randomly on the beach.
The Chairperson overruled further follow-ups.
On a point of order, Mr Purdon stated that questions had not been answered. He wanted to know if Ms Samaai had lodged, or would lodge a complaint. On the 23rd was everyone asked to leave or only people of colour?
Mr Makhubele had questions that had not been answered. Who had issued the lock-down instruction? What had happened after people had been told to leave? Was there any violation of the Integrated Coastal Management Act? Were there any arrests by PPA when they had found people with dangerous items? What had they done? He accepted that there had been a violation of the PSiRA code of conduct. He wanted to know if the Cape Town by-law talked to access to the beach?
Mr Purdon stated that the Ratepayers’ Association had not been given an opportunity to respond.
The Chairperson stated that the CPF had not been invited and so could not respond.
Ms Samaai stated that she had made it very clear in her presentation that everyone was asked to leave but that was the challenge because the real question was who had ultimately benefitted from that action. It was not about asking everyone to leave. She had said in her presentation, that she had laid a complaint with PSiRA and that she, Ms Williams and a Ms Shabodien had laid a criminal charge with SAPS. Her answers had been clear in her presentation.
The Chairperson stated that the CPF had not been invited and so could not respond.
Mr Willemse informed the Chairperson that Mr Shäfer had been personally invited in his capacity as CPF Chairperson.
The Chairperson replied that the staff secretariat had invited him, but he (Mr Shäfer) had told them that he would not make a formal presentation.
Response by CPF
Mr Shäfer explained that it was a new experience for residents, as they had never been to a Portfolio Committee meeting before. He and the home owner representatives had been given the option of making a presentation or speaking from the floor. They had selected the latter option.
In response to the question whether residents reported cases to police, Mr Shäfer had to say that many crimes went unreported and many people were turned away from the police station when they wished to report a crime. That situation was being investigated at the moment.
The Chairperson apologised for the communication breakdown.
Response by City of Cape Town
Mr Bosman stated that there was no lock-down. People had been on the beach, as clearly indicated by Ms Samaai. No further incidents had been reported. For the record, he had been running the City’s integrated Festive Programme for 11 years. It was the first time in 11 years that there had been an incident. He had personally worked an additional 80 hours over the Christmas period. The beaches were open to all. PPA had no authority to work on the beaches or to enforce by-laws.
The Chairperson said that the reference to a lockdown was incorrect.
Ms Williams stated that a Ms Caroline Peters had been stopped by PPA at 7:45 pm. and had been told that the beach was closed and that she could not go down. Ms Peters had called her, and she had told her to join her on the beach. But that was a lockdown. Ms Williams had left after 9 p.m. When people had been instructed to leave, people gradually left. The 8:30pm photo showed that there were only about 30 people left on the beach, which was far fewer than had been there at 8 p.m.
The Chairperson asked why people had not left.
Ms Williams explained that the security officers had to cover a wide area and it took them time to speak to everyone. Her group had been the first to be approached because they were close to the entrance.
Mr Badroodien responded to Mr Makhubele that the integrated coastal plan ensured that the national assets belonged to the people of the country and were open for all to use, but managed by the City.
The Chairperson wanted to correct a few misconceptions. There seemed to be an impression that the Chair was targeting the City of Cape Town. The statement was based on the assumption that PPA purportedly acted on an agreement with the City. He said that had been clarified. The statement of 28 December 2018 had stated that a meeting would be convened to get to the bottom of the issue.
He added that the City seemed to be angered by the public outrage generated by the incident. The Mayor blamed the media which he had called biased and had said that there had been a political agenda and the whole thing had been politicised. The Chairperson did not know why that was the case. When people were removed by mainly white security officers who had targeted mainly black people, everyone should be angry about it. Everyone should express outrage. There should be empathy for the people who had experienced those things. It worried him that people did not want to take that position.
The Chairperson said that he had asked the City why there were four coincidences between what was presented by the City and the PPA: 1) the picture; 2) the tone and the allegations of a political agenda - should one look at the political affiliation of a person who suffered a violent act; 3) the statements of supposed facts about the spikes in crime that had facilitated the opportunity for PPA, whereas the police said that there was no such thing. It had been presented to motivate the use of private security at the beach; 4) the narrative that people were asked politely to leave.
The government of Cape Town should not take sides. It should act in the interest of all the people. The government was led by the ANC but acted in the interest of everyone in the country. The City should not choose a political position. When people at the beach said that there had been a particular incident – the city should not take sides. It could not say anything until the investigation was complete. What if the investigations showed that PPA was lying and CoCT had already aligned with them? He said that he was not saying that they were lying but the two narratives were almost the same and the people were vulnerable against the two powerful institutions.
In response to Ms Steenkamp, the chairperson asked who one should side with when people saw things reported all over the media and people said that they were victims. He, as an activist, would always side with the vulnerable and those who had the lived experiences. He would not associate himself with the powerful. He had unfortunately been brought up to believe the vulnerable. He had no reason to believe that the citizens were lying. He did not doubt that they had received that kind of treatment. It was not a story made up so that was why he had characterised it as barbaric and racist. There were still unanswered questions, particularly about PPA. Why did they want to enter public space and control people? What business did PPA have in controlling people’s movement? They were not the police. It was still proper to characterise the incident as barbaric.
The Chairperson needed to say something about the conduct of the lady who was the advisor to the Mayor. It did not speak well about the City of Cape Town. Representatives in Parliament had to humble themselves and explain themselves to the public. She could not come and exhibit such bad conduct. It was doubly bad when members of the public were subjected to that. A message had to be sent to the lady. She occupied an important position as an advisor to the Mayor, and she had (figuratively) given Parliament and the community the middle finger. That needed to be condemned in the strongest possible manner.
The Chairperson stated that the meeting had not been premature. The Committee was not going to patrol all the beaches. It was an activist Parliament, so why turn a blind eye to something? Why would one do that? The meeting was not convened to put the City of Cape Town on trial. If that was the way that it had come across, it was unfortunate, but the Committee would always get into the space where something was wrong.
For him, there were a lot of lingering questions. The company was performing functions that it should not, beating people on the streets and chasing people out of public places. A private company would never be allowed to do that because people had fought for freedom and the fact was that there had been an allegation against PPA officers beating up vulnerable people on the streets. He supported PSiRA and hoped that PPA would be used to set an example. He would never allow people to be restricted and removed from beaches. There were inequalities and there were class and gender issues that were unequal. It was inequality that perpetuated racial inequality. People should not get irritated about an inquiry such as that one. South Africa came from a divided past. There had been exploitation and exclusion. One could not suppose that people had come from nowhere.
The Chairperson stated that were notes from the meeting and he would issue a report which would speak to the way forward. The Committee would discuss the report and release it to the public.
The Chairperson thanked the DG. He appreciated the presentation of SAPS and the Generals who had cut to the chase. The Chairperson thanked the Members for their participation, as well as the City and PSiRA.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Media Statement: Environmental Affairs Committee Disappointed by Despicable behavior of City of Cape Town Official in Parliament
- SAPS - Clifton Beach incident
- Seehaam Samaai submission
- Parliamentary Inquiry into the “Lock down” of Clifton Fourth Beach on 23rd December 2018
- PSIRA - alleged “Lock Down” of Clifton Fourth Beach
- PPA - We never closed Clifton Fourth Beach
- Environmental Affairs Committee appalled by and condemns the racist removal of black people at Clifton beach 28 December 2018
- Statement by Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town
- The Clifton beach saga – Statement by Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town