Hundreds of black youths gathered at a fashionable Cape Town beach this Friday following reports that a private security company ordered blacks who came to spend their Christmas holiday there to leave.
The eastern city where beaches, like many public areas, were segregated under white-minority apartheid rule remains a flashpoint of racial tensions in the rainbow nation.
South Africa’s News24 newspaper says the demonstration at the Clifton Beach is being organized by a lobby group known as the Black People’s National Crisis Committee.
South African political activist Chumani Maxwele, best known for his involvement in Rhodes Must Fall Movement, is one of the leaders of the movement.
Speaking to RFI from the controversial beach he denounced Cape Town City officials for working with the so-called racists holding sway in the Clifton residential neighbourhood overlooking the beach.
Maxwele dismissed claims that blacks were being chased away to protect local residents from criminal activity.
“There has never been any crime there”, he noted, adding they simply see black people as criminals, which in his opinion was a stereotype dating back to the apartheid era.
Chumani also spoke bitterly about the plight of black hawkers working at the Clipton beach claiming they are being mistreated by the White residents who think they own the place.
Maxwele also expressed the determination of the activists to hold a cleansing ceremony for their ancestors who died at the beach and end the racism perpetuated against black people.
As the controversy over the privatization of the Clifton beach grows, the private company at the center of the lock down announced it had decided to end its patrols.
Cape Town City’s head of safety and security has reportedly issued a release stating that the Council neither has a contract with the PPA firm nor given it any authority to enforce by-laws.