CAPE TOWN — Take a fistful of political opportunism, drop it right into a simmering pot of historic racial wounding, and add a contact of prepared ANC media bias and you’ve got an on the spot sweat-inducing dish of pretend information, it appears. All the parts have been there, maybe not at the similar time, however adequate to create and stir a risky broth that was quickly served up and consumed world-wide with little discernment or concern for the constituent components. Constituents maybe being the unheralded phrase, given the wider context of the construct as much as our nationwide elections in a couple of brief months. You see, Clifton and Camps Bay residents, because of apartheid and the Gini-co-efficient, belong to at least one constituency, virtually definitely that of the Democratic Alliance. The bulk of beach-goers in the incidents on two separate dates in December, have been native day-visitors, virtually definitely residents from predominantly ANC constituencies outdoors of the space. The drama as initially painted on the not-so-blank canvass, is a case research in subjective, confirmatory-bias journalism. It’s additionally an indictment on our mainstream press that it takes a single, strong freelance journalist to retrospectively examine and repaint a clearer, extra goal image, including a number of essential lacking parts. Story courtesy of PoliticsWeb. – Chris Bateman
By Marie-Louise Antoni*
In what seems to be turning into one thing of an annual custom, the summer time holidays in South Africa have been as soon as once more marked by a beach-related racial outrage palooza. This yr large prominence was given, in each native and worldwide media, to the alleged return of apartheid-style racial segregation to Cape City’s seashores, or to be extra exact, Fourth Seashore in the rich suburb of Clifton.
The controversy unfolded as follows. On the night of the 23rd of December, ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs was having a picnic on Clifton Fourth seashore – an annual event he claims to have executed for the previous six years with none issues. He was with a gaggle of about 20 buddies, together with former anti-apartheid activist Fatima Shabodien, once they have been approached by safety personnel from the firm, Skilled Safety Providers (PPA), simply earlier than 8pm who knowledgeable them the seashore was closing.
On 24 December, a Twitter consumer posted a photograph and brief clip of two white safety guards standing beside black hawkers in Camps Bay. No context was offered though it was alleged the safety guards have been harassing hawkers for his or her permits. This tweet would later go viral.
On 26th December the ANC Western Cape launched a press assertion on Jacobs’ expertise. This warned that “those who want to reintroduce apartheid, including the DA with its devious policies to entrench white privilege, that we will not allow it… We will not allow beach apartheid to return. Never again will our beaches be segregated.”
Jacobs additional commented on his Instagram account underneath the hashtag #AllGodsBeachesforAllGodsPeople that this was half of a “sneaky illegal strategy for the reintroduction of apartheid spatial laws in our province” and “part of a bigger drive by the DA to restrict the access of black people to resources and facilities to which we are all entitled.”
Each SAfm Information and the SABC’s Radio 2000 tweeted that Jacobs referred to as for a protest “at all beaches” in the Western Cape.
The next image of a cumbersome white safety guard, in a bullet proof vest, accompanying regulation enforcement on the seashore, additionally surfaced on social media and was extensively revealed by the press.
Twitter proceeded to mild up with indignation, and the narrative that this was a trigger worthy of righteous anger quickly discovered favour amongst South Africa’s Perpetually Appalled, offering ample gasoline for subsequent politicking.
The ANC was “outraged”, Patricia de Lille was “appalled”, and the Metropolis of Cape City was “investigating”. Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said that “no spaces are for the exclusive use of any citizens based on their race, gender or creed.”
Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs Mr Phillemon Mapulane condemned “this barbaric and racist act of the unlawful removal of beachgoers by the private security company purportedly acting on the instruction of the City of Cape Town. We wish to assure everybody that South Africa will never return back to the apartheid years where black people were restricted from gaining access to certain public spaces.”
Image: The sacrificial sheep posed subsequent to a placard bearing the phrases ‘Run Racist Run’, the title of a ebook by Radio 702 speak present host Eusebius McKaiser.
A lately shaped “lobby group”, the Black Individuals’s Nationwide Disaster Committee led by Chumani Maxwele, organised a protest for the night time of 28 December – attended by some hundred protesters – the place the sacrificial slaughtering of a sheep was carried out on the seashore earlier than flashing cameras. One of the protesters was interviewed on tv sporting a t-shirt bearing the phrases “Kill All White People”. It later transpired a phrase had been blocked out of the digital camera body and the t-shirt the truth is learn, “Kill All White People Supremacy” – with the phrase “people” mockingly crossed out.
Maxwele advised reporters that “The offering of the sheep is calling on our ancestors to respond to our trauma at the hands of white people over the years”.
Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi, and the Metropolis of Cape City’s government mayor, Dan Plato, have been additionally on the seashore that day, together with the SAPS’s anti-gang unit and metro police. Plato in a press release later stated senior SAPS officers prevented the Metropolis and SPCA employees from stopping the slaughter.
The media inevitably positioned the story’s racial angle entrance and centre. The Weekend Argus described the incident as one the place “black people were allegedly chased off the beach”, and the notion that “Black People Were Chased Off” surfaced in numerous on-line and print publications, even making its means abroad.
The story appeared in the South China Morning Publish, the BBC, The Sunday Occasions (UK), The Solar (UK), The Nationwide (UAE), and The Malay Mail (Malaysia), amongst others.
Image: The headline of the story because it appeared on the BBC web site.
Agence-France Presse took to Twitter to submit an article about the story and crafted its tweet as follows:
“A fresh race row has erupted in South Africa after a private security company allegedly ordered black beachgoers to vacate a fashionable Cape Town beach over the Christmas holiday.”
The Sunday Occasions as well as commented in a thundering editorial headlined The ugly ghosts making an attempt to maintain Clifton white by night time:
“Once again there were shades of our troubled past so often re-enacted on SA’s beaches. Once again the spectre of Penny Sparrow loomed over the festive season. While not as blatantly racist as the former estate agent’s comments about “monkeys”, this week’s actions spoke loud and clear. It was as if the man in the bulletproof vest [see above] had introduced alongside the indicators that when infested our seashores. Those that learn ‘Whites Only’.”
In a single report the PPA denied having acted alone when it cleared the seashore, and insisted that regulation enforcement had requested them to help after two 15-year-old women had been sexually assaulted. “If anyone claims they were on the beach and chased away they would have seen that it was absolute mayhem and that Law Enforcement were really doing a great job to stabilise the situation – we did not close the beach,” PPA CEO Alwyn Landman advised Information24. “If the secretary of the ANC for the Western Cape were really present he would have seen that it was law enforcement that closed the beach and not PPA security.”
The overall media consensus was that the drawback was a racial one, and the protestations that this was about crime not race have been discounted. The alleged drawback of the sexual abuse of younger women on the seashore was dismissed as a result of the allegations weren’t “confirmed or proved” as Marianne Thamm put it in the Every day Maverick. “Either way, even if there had been a report of a crime, it is not PPA’s place to deal with it.”
Although extensively reported and commented on it was clear as fog, from the conflicting accounts contained typically in the similar stories, to what truly occurred or what led as much as it.
Crime in Clifton and Camps Bay
The primary level to make is that it’s clear that Clifton and Camps Bay have been confronted with an escalating crime drawback. “There’s been a very bad decline in policing in Camps Bay,” stated Bernard Schäfer, chairperson of the Camps Bay Group Policing Discussion board (CBCPF). “I’m talking about a literal collapse within SAPS in terms of our shift capability.”
And whereas there’s a notion that Camps Bay is well-resourced, the police station is actually dilapidated and in a horrible situation.
“We’re sitting with a police shift volume of members that are often half to a third of what we had in 1950. So we’re supposed to have six members on duty, which is unchanged since 1950, and I’m lucky if I have two members on duty. And some days, like today, the entire shift just booked off sick and did not come to work,” he stated.
Regulation enforcement are additionally “thin on the ground”, though they’re current. They nevertheless often depart by 20:00 or 22:00 in the evenings, earlier than a lot of the anti-social hassle begins.
Schäfer stated road gangs got here into the space and began shifting onto the beachfront. These teams ranged from younger youngsters to adults of round 25 years previous, and they’re “armed with knives, harassing, robbing, stealing handbags from restaurants, and mugging tourists when they walk along the beachfront”.
He added there was a rise in touch crime, and with SAPS not responding, increasingly of this crime was going unreported.
The caretaker of the Muslim shrine outdoors Bakhoven – the kramat of Sheikh Noorul Mubeen – was attacked and robbed by 5 males. When he referred to as SAPS, no one picked up the telephone and so he needed to hitch-hike to the station. As soon as there, the police by no means took his assertion, nor did they’ve a car to ship out, and as an alternative turned him away. A Swiss lady who had been raped was equally turned away, allegedly by the similar shift.
This view on native crime is supported by former DA ward councillor Jacques Weber. On 30 December, he commented at size on the controversy in a Fb publish:
“Over the last few years the Homeowners who live in and around Clifton beaches constantly raise the issue of criminal activity and anti-social behaviour taking place around the area, especially on the beaches late at night. These issues were often drunk persons entering the area at all hours of the night, the increased use of illegal substances such as drugs on the beaches and in some cases physical fights which often occurred in the parking lot or on the beach. These issues were raised during my time (Ward Councillor) around 2014 – 2016. Back then various meetings were hold (sic) with all enforcement agencies (City & SAPS) and increased patrols were setup but would never address the issues which were taking place due to a lack of manpower or operational times within both above mentioned services.”
“The constitution says that all South Africans have a right to living in a safe and secure environment,” he stated. “However, as we are aware this falls within the mandate of SAPS which has failed year on year to ensure this, and this is the exact reason why residents are having to turn to the private sector to secure themselves”.
Shäfer didn’t want to remark on PPA, as a result of the discussion board had not been concerned with their appointment. He nevertheless stated the CBCPF and a few outstanding members of the Camps Bay’s enterprise discussion board had for a quantity of months been placing collectively a authorized and structured answer for group security with regulation enforcement officers.
“We were in talks with the City of Cape Town’s rent-a-cop system, and we were actually quite a long way down the road in getting that right,” he stated. “We were planning to possibly augment that scheme with existing local private security.”
“We suddenly heard and were told that PPA were being hired and so we desisted from any further negotiations,” he stated. “The funding for our plan was going to come from the business forum and of course the minute we heard that they’d contracted with another party, it was pointless for us to continue with the talks.”
Schäfer stated that a couple of weeks later, some residents in the Clifton group then additionally employed PPA, a transfer he describes as considerably of a knee-jerk response. He nevertheless stated the “shockingly poor level of SAPS policing” had created this vacuum, the place the group needed to attempt different initiatives.
The second level is that in the reporting on the controversy there appears to be a conflation with occasions that happened on the 16th December, a public vacation, and people of the 23rd December. In his Fb submit, Weber stated he believed the picture of the safety guard on the seashore had actually been taken on the former date, and never on 23rd December, when Jacobs was there. To his information the seashore had been closed on the 16th by each regulation enforcement and personal safety as a result of of what he termed a ‘gang fight’. He posted a screenshot from one other Fb account dated 16 December (6:38pm), which said the following:
“So this just happened… sitting on 4th Beach Clifton and the entire beach was shut down by Law Enforcement Officers and by the looks of it, Private security as well! Everyone was asked to leave as a large group of drunk people were on their way to the beach and LE were concerned about our safety. This group had apparently attacked Lifeguards already! This is high season in Cape Town. How can an entire beach be shut down? #cliftonshutdown #cliftonbeach #SA2018”
College scholar Abide Raselabe was additionally on the seashore on 16th December, and at the time he posted a collection of tweets about the occasions. When contacted for remark, he stated he arrived at the seashore together with his associates at round 4pm. “From the moment we got there we could see there were a lot of drunk children,” he stated. “We didn’t mind it initially, but as the evening progressed they started falling over, crying, and screaming”.
Individuals allegedly complained and requested safety and regulation enforcement to cope with the drawback. “There was also a huge crowd on the side of the beach making a noise and causing trouble, and these were the same people that were with these little drunk 13-year-old, 14-year-old girls,” he stated.
Raselabe stated each regulation enforcement and personal safety have been telling individuals to evacuate for security causes, they usually began clearing the quieter finish of the seashore earlier than shifting onto the rowdy aspect.“They were going to end with them in case they started revolting or anything like that,” he stated.
“At around 17:45, they came around and started telling us they are evacuating the beach because it’s not safe, and apparently someone was sexually violated which is very possible because those little girls were with older men that were feeding them alcohol and all that stuff”. Politicsweb has seen footage taken that night of younger women – one seems scarcely greater than eleven years previous – drunk and stumbling whereas being led from the seashore by metro police.
Schäfer additionally made a transparent distinction between the two evenings of 16th and 23rd of December. He described the occasions on the first date as a “massive incident and riot almost”, the place there have been allegedly a number of stories of assaults, stabbings, theft, preventing, anti-social behaviour, and common hooliganism. He as well as confirmed the ongoing drawback of underage women arriving at the seashore with older males.
Beachgoers who have been at Clifton Fourth the following week, on the night time of 23 December, described this specific night against this as calm and incident free. Radio presenter Celest Anthony and two of her associates arrived at the seashore to catch the sundown and weren’t planning on staying for lengthy. She stated the group had been there for an hour or two when a safety guard approached them to shut the seashore. None of the pals witnessed any regulation enforcement current.
Anthony stated, “We then saw messages circulating on Twitter saying black people were asked to leave the beach. Now, I took a picture of the sunset. And in the picture you can clearly see in front of me two huge white families.”
She stated individuals “often jump on racial bandwagons”, however not as soon as had she felt violated or racially-discriminated towards. And whereas she understood the deeper significance of seashore entry for black and colored individuals, everybody had been requested to go away. “No-one came and said to black and coloured people ‘Leave the beach’,” she stated. “And so it has turned into a racial issue. It immediately again became about ‘white people don’t want black people on the beach, so they asked us to leave’.”
Her pal Lee Davidse, additionally a radio presenter, stated the seashore was closed at 9pm, at dusk, and never 8pm as advised by media stories. He stated the group was merely upset that the seashore as a public area had been “closed”, but in addition understood that “a secluded beach is not a very safe place after dark”.
“We were not at all upset that we were asked to leave based on the colour of our skin because there was no indication that this was a racial issue,” he stated. “The guy who asked us to leave was coloured just like us. There were also two or three groups of white people sitting in close proximity who were also asked to leave, so we were quite certain this was not a racial issue.”
In a press release, government mayor Dan Plato stated that it had “become clear over recent days that a security organisation operating at Clifton beach had no authority to ask anyone to leave Clifton beach”, however that that they had “asked people of all races to leave, and did not single out any race groups”. He added that it had additionally turn into clear that “opportunistic political organisations have ignored this fact to drive a highly divisive and politicised racial agenda”.
To sum up then there clearly is an actual crime drawback rising in Clifton and Camps Bay, and this had led to the communities in these areas using PPA. Schäfer noticed: “When we have moms with babies being attacked on the beachfront, and we’ve got guesthouses that tourists want to check out of because they’ve been attacked walking back from the restaurant at night to their accommodation, those are grounds for the community saying ‘enough is enough’.”
“The people that are being stabbed and fighting at midnight who need SAPS intervention are not residents of Clifton”, he additionally famous. “These are visitors, and whether they’re from the Cape Flats, the township, Durban, or Switzerland, it is irrelevant. Every member of the community that comes to Camps Bay deserves to be safe, and deserves to have a modicum of policing in place.”
Weber stated in his Fb submit that in his opinion each the SAPS and the Metropolis of Cape City ought to take their share of the blame. “The politicians can play tennis and throw the ball into each other’s courts all day long, but the fact remains that many beaches around the City are unsafe and at night there is a large element of antisocial behaviour taking place which is not being addressed by those appointed,” he stated.
He nevertheless emphasised that this didn’t give any personal safety firm “the right to infringe on the constitutional rights of residents or any person and this must be dealt with immediately.”
On the face of it the incident on 23 December was a case of a personal safety firm over-reaching, and appearing past its powers by clearing Clifton Fourth Seashore at dusk, in response to the mayhem of the week earlier than, and an ongoing drawback of a scarcity of efficient state policing of felony or anti-social behaviour. The central premise of the story that travelled round the world – that black beachgoers have been focused on account of their race – was solely false. The argument that the story of the alleged sexual assault on younger women could possibly be discounted as a result of no expenses have been laid with the SAPS misses the level that these incidents had occurred, even when not on the 23rd December, and these weren’t essentially solely stranger, but in addition acquaintance rapes.
South Africans all throughout the land are fed up with crime. Poor policing, a failing felony justice system, and an incapable or unwilling state have pressured residents to hunt various options for shielding their lives, family members, and property. The poor bear the brunt of this burden. Some even endure the indignity of briefly dropping themselves to the insanity of mob justice, whereas these with the means as an alternative place their religion in personal safety.
That is what lies at the coronary heart of the Clifton controversy. And but politicians and the press have as soon as once more pitted white towards black and, sometimes and considerably nearer to the mark, the haves towards the have-nots. With election season arising, that is hardly shocking. However the development is relentless, and it’s deflecting consideration away from pressing issues and actual options. It’s also harmful, and turning into immensely tiresome.
The nation’s fraught historical past and time of segregation continues to be a traumatic reminiscence for many individuals. And it have to be particularly painful for these whose materials circumstances stay unchanged regardless of all the guarantees of a greater life. However utilizing this ache as a software for stoking racial tensions is unconscionable. On this period of weak opinions and powerful Wi-Fi alerts, we ought to be cautious of amplifying the agitators amongst us.