27 December 2018

South Africa: Clifton Beachgoers Report 'Attempted Sexual Violation' of Teenager

Photo: Gary Bembridge/Flickr
Clifton Beach (file photo).

Police are investigating reports of an incident of attempted sexual violation in the vicinity of Clifton Beach last Saturday in which beachgoers apparently intervened.

The victim's family does not want to register a complaint, a police spokesperson said on Thursday amid a furore over the conduct of a private security company at the beach.

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said police had also launched an investigation into reported claims that two teenagers had been raped on the beach on December 22.

This was the day before private security company PPA was accused of asking people to leave Clifton Fourth Beach at around 20:00 without the authority to do so.

"Preliminary findings of the SAPS investigation indicate that no rape was registered at Camps Bay SAPS. The police station services Clifton and Camps Bay beaches," said Potelwa.

However, Potelwa said police had information suggesting there was an attempt to sexually violate a 15-year-old girl, which was prevented by beachgoers who reported the incident to police.

"The victim and her family refused to open a case against the suspect, who is known to them," Potelwa said.

Clifton beach shut down: 'We did not close the beach', says private security company

A private security company says it had nothing to do with denying beachgoers night access to Clifton Fourth Beach in a move to "lock down" the beach over the busy holiday period.

"It is on this basis the SAPS refutes allegations that the security company was asked to intervene following two rape incidents. Reports of unruly behaviour by beachgoers are also disputed."

Potelwa said police were also investigating three complaints of assault registered against a security company in the area. The company was not named.

"The complainants, two beach vendors and an acquaintance of a female restaurant employee, opened assault cases against the private security personnel for different incidents," said Potelwa.

Company helping police with 'problems at the beach'

The police would continue with patrols and searches across the City's beaches in anticipation of the large numbers of people converging there over the festive period.

The uproar comes after PPA security was accused of clearing the beach at the behest of wealthy residents and businesses in the area. Earlier in December an announcement on social app Neighbourly stated that that PPA had been appointed to provide private security in a lockdown.

PPA denied in a statement on Tuesday that it shut the beach down, but said it had been there to help government authorities with problems at the beach.

"Two 15-year-old girls ... had been raped and were waiting on SAPS. This was why law enforcement closed the beach.

[Every] other night it has been open to anyone that complies with the by-laws which law enforcement enforces," explained PPA's Alwyn Landman.

"We were requested to accompany law enforcement as our tactical officers are highly trained and skilled professionals. 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."

The company sent pictures of some of its guards on the beach with City law enforcement authorities, and a picture of alcohol in a cooler box on the beach. It also sent a picture of a beach vendor selling what looked like beer.

The company has indicated that it will no longer be offering its services to authorities.

"We will no longer be assisting the police, the metro police, anyone," advocate Bruce Hendricks told News24 on behalf of PPA Security.

"So, tomorrow they are on their own."He said the company was contracted by residents in the area to provide private security and would still patrol for its clients, which include restaurants in nearby Camps Bay.

No contract with City

But its guards would not patrol on the beach, he said.Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith and the City's safety and security head, Richard Bosman, were also meeting various law enforcement authorities on Thursday to get to the bottom of the situation at the beach.

Bosman said in a statement that the City has no contract with PPA, and has not given it authority to enforce by-laws.

"All City beaches are open to all members of the public. While the City is able to set times of usage at beaches, we do not impose this unless there is a specific threat to public safety," said Bosman.

Western Cape ANC secretary Faiez Jacobs told News24 earlier this week that he was among a group of people on the beach on Sunday who were asked to leave by PPA guards.

He said he was among a number of people who questioned whether a private company was allowed to do this.

Plans are also afoot for a protest on Friday night, advertised as being hosted by Fees Must Fall Western Cape. "We are calling on all self-respecting Blacks (Indian, Coloured and Africans) to descend at Clifton 4th Beach on Friday 28 December 2018 at 18:00 for a political protest," reads the Facebook announcement titled "Reclaim Our Beaches From Racists #ReclaimClifton".

Source: <b>News24</b>

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