Three employees of private security company Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) have been suspended after their alleged involvement in an incident at Clifton Fourth Beach in December which caused outrage and sparked protests.
This is according to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), which appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on Monday.
PSIRA’s director Manabela Chauke told the committee that four complaints against PPA were received.
Chauke says the security company was accused of assault, restraining people without authorisation, and abusing beach-goers verbally, IOL reports.
The investigation into the matter by PSIRA has not yet been concluded, Chauke said, adding that he would update parliament once it had.
Staff from the company allegedly ordered visitors to Fourth Beach to leave, claiming that the beach would be off-limits after 8pm for the festive season.
PPA claimed it was acting on the authority of the city of Cape Town, but the council denies having any contract with the company.
JP Smith, the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, confirmed at the time that the the council had laid a complaint against PPA via PSIRA.
The incident caused a political storm. Opponents of the Democratic Alliance, which controls the council, accuse it of fostering racial segregation reminiscent of the apartheid era when most beaches were reserved for whites.
Protesters led by the Black People National Crisis Committee, in response to the incident, slaughtered a sheep on the beach, which has led to the City of Cape Town laying charges against three of the protesters involved.
Mayor Dan Plato insisted at the time that there was no racial bias in the handling of the incident and that people of all races had been removed from the beach. He emphasised that all population groups are welcome on the city’s public beaches.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting by ANA)