Saldanha Bay Mayor Marius Koen must be suspended immediately following apparent “racist” remarks concerning beach access, the ANC’s West Coast branch said on Monday.
“The people of Saldanha Bay are no drunkards, vandalist or noisy [sic],” said the regional branch’s spokesperson Sammy Claassen in a statement.
“We reject the mayor’s utterances against the people of Saldanha Bay and view [them] as racist. It is completely insensitive towards coloured and African people who want to enjoy themselves at the beach during this festive season.”
The political party was responding to remarks made by Koen contained in an article published in The Star and Cape Times newspapers. According to the article, residents who live near the beach front at Saldanha Bay had been granted access passes to the area while the rest were allegedly searched and not allowed to park in certain designated spots.
The DA-ruled municipality’s head told the newspaper that there was no racism behind access control policies. He said there had been road closures at beach fronts to keep “law and order” as, at times, people arrived at the beach by the “taxi-load, bringing noise, vandalism and drunkenness”.
Claassen said the statement was “clearly referring to poor disadvantaged coloured and African people”.
In this case, he said, “law enforcement is just the smokescreen”.
Claassen said the ANC would lay a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission over the matter. It would also urge the municipality to take action, he said.[Source News24]