A Cape Town by-law that proposes a fine for swearing on beaches has some cursing the move, but the law is still just in draft form and residents can still comment on its proposals.
The City of Cape Town’s draft coastal by-law is intended to provide for measures for protecting coastal zones and managing public access as well as social behaviour on beaches.
The proposed by-law stipulates no one making use of coastal zones may use foul language. Such zones are described as areas comprising coastal public property and waters and the seashore.
Beachgoers will be liable to a fine if they threaten, obstruct, hinder or use abusive language to an authorised official or a person lawfully accompanying the authorised official.
A person is guilty of an offence if the person contravenes a provision of the by-law. The bill is still in a draft form and will need the full council’s approval before it becomes law.
Meanwhile, The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) said the proposed coastal by-law was problematic and vague.
“The by-law talks about entry and use of coastal facilities. Much of the language used is vague and opens the opportunity for abuse. We know that the people that would abuse this by-law are the people that are supposed to enforce it: law enforcement,” said SJC general secretary Axolile Notywala.
“It seems to be like many of the anti-poor policies and by-laws. We believe it needs to be made clear, because who will regulate the number of people coming on to the beach? And what about grounds for prohibition on these issues?”