A spokesperson for the regulatory authority mandated with protection of the Cape’s ocean resources, Cape Oceans, has provided details of the measures they have implemented regarding public use of the Cape’s seas. Mr Kratik announced that the public were now prohibited from entering the sea. As we know, said Mr B.R.O Kratik, the seas are not safe. Too many irresponsible people get themselves into trouble in our seas. This is putting too much strain on the resources of our organisation. The high costs of making personnel available for observing rescue operations and for completing the necessary paperwork after a drowning could not be justified, he said.
Furthermore, as custodians of the oceans, his organisation is concerned about uncontrolled urinating in the seas along our coastlines. If we do not control access to the sea, anyone could urinate in it anywhere, he warned. We simply do not know what the effect of uncontrolled urination will have on our ocean resources and we cannot afford to put them at risk.
When pressed on people’s access to the sea, Mr Kratik said that Cape Oceans encouraged and promoted public enjoyment of the seas. To this end we are making certain areas accessible. Capetonians will be allowed to enter the sea water within the St James tidal pool and at Langebaan on the west coast. Cape Oceans has identified these two places as being suitable for public access and permits for this would be made available. Access would be open during all Cape Oceans office-hours, except Fridays. Furthermore if people felt a need for more adventurous interaction with water, Cape Oceans was in talks with the City about upgrades to both the Muizenberg and Strand water parks.
Mr Kratik said that Cape Oceans did not think that their management would have a negative impact on tourism in Cape Town. Most tourist, he said, simply wanted to sunbathe on the beaches and used the sea for cooling down. In anticipation of demand, therefore, Cape Oceans with the City were putting resources into significantly improving sunbathers shower experiences at all popular beaches. When questioned about surfers Mr Kratik ensured us that Cape Oceans had a good relationship with the Surf Club of South Africa. Club members would be allowed to enter the sea during official, pre-organised Club meets at certain surf spots several times a year.
Mr Kratik has warned that Cape Oceans would be vigilant in enforcing their regulations. Anyone found in the sea without the requisite paperwork on their person would be prosecuted.
The measures have had mixed reception amongst the public. Most people agreed that it was important to protect the sea and promote public safety in this way. Some groups have however expressed concern. One rock climber that was interviewed said he didn’t like the new regulations. Who knows what could happen next, he said. If the authorities can regulate our access to the sea like this, they may even try to regulate access to the mountains.