Draft by-law to prohibit undesirable conduct on beaches ‘doesn’t make sense’

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town’s draft coastal by-law has Capetonians questioning how it would be implemented and pointing out that pre-existing by-laws need better enforcing.

The proposed by-law seeks to prohibit undesirable conduct, which includes that no person may in the coastal zone indecently expose their body, perform an indecent act or use foul language. It also states that no person may behave in an improper, indecent, unruly, violent or antisocial manner or cause disturbance.

It also gives the City more power over coastal facilities, including beaches, pools, promenades, showers, toilets, pavilions and tidal pools. It states that the City may regulate the number of people entering and using a coastal facility.

The City’s Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said: “The intention of the by-law is not to be punitive with regard to foul language, but rather to create provisions that will enable the City’s law enforcement officers to intervene when necessary and to prevent any person from being verbally abused in public spaces on our coastline.”

She said it was to ensure that the public’s right of access to, and use of beaches as public spaces, was entrenched.

“The draft by-law is intended to create safer and cleaner beaches, free from litter and pollution, to protect sea life, improve safety and enforce the public’s right to access and enjoy beaches and sea indefinitely.”

Residents have weighed in, criticising some saying aspects presented in the proposed by-law “won’t work”.

Thabang Malebese: “No, it’s just stupid, they going to hire cops to sit and wait for someone to swear?”

Denise Thompson Schmidt: “There are many many other laws needing one could implement!”

Nicole L Jacobus: “More by-laws but nobody to police it doesn’t make sense. You just about see a law enforcement officer or metro police in our communities. Who comes up with these silly ideas… Already officials can’t even police cars parking on pavements where blind people walk. What a damn joke. When you call officials for people dumping they come three hours later so unfortunately this new by-law won’t work. Take the money, time and effort and strategise how we can get more passionate officers into the communities rather.”

Cynthia Bredenkamp: “Lol, is this the job creation Ole Pinocchio was talking about?? Because for just about every person on the beach you are going to need a monitor.”

Lynn Govender: “What BS.”

Chris Sebastians: “Another bylaw that no one will be able to police or successfully prosecute.”

Martin Badenhorst: “When the city council need to make money cause they have to drop water tariffs and water restrictions. So pathetic. Makes me want to go to the beach just to swear.”

Neilan Adams: “Insane. Too often people want their bread buttered both sides. Anti-poor? So you are saying the poor are foul-mouthed and ill-mannered?”

Aasiyah Adams: “When we at the coast, we will upload posts with foul language and our bikinis to your Facebook page and tag you with our location. It will make us feel better.”