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Defacing Kommetjie beaches a concern

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28 Dec 2011

The South African National Parks (SANParks) and the City of Cape Town are concerned about the growing trend of defacing and disfiguring the natural coastline by stacking rocks to form structures on Kommetjie beaches. 

In a joint statement the City and SANParks appealed to members of the public to refrain from this practice as it produces a hazardous environment for beach visitors. “The removal and stacking of these rocks creates unstable terrain as rocks may easily roll underfoot or collapse, leading to possible injury."

This practice has been noted from the boardwalk at the end of Nerina Road and southwards to Slangkop Lighthouse. 

In a joint statement the City and SANParks appealed to members of the public to refrain from this practice as it produces a hazardous environment for beach visitors. 

“The removal and stacking of these rocks creates unstable terrain as rocks may easily roll underfoot or collapse, leading to possible injury. 

“There is particular concern for children and senior citizens, who may be at a greater risk of injury, with some of the bigger rocks weighing in excess of 150kg,” read the statement. 

Members of the public are removing coastal rocks from the spots where the natural coastal processes had placed them in order to build towers and ‘sculptures’ along this stretch of coastline. 

The moving of rocks and the building of these towers occurs below the high-water mark as well as higher up on the beach, away from the high-water mark along the boardwalk. 

This practice seems to take place mostly at sunset and there are now over 200 such rock formations strewn along the coastline. 

Furthermore, the collective impact on the coastal environment is significant. The seashore, including the rocky shore, is formed through millennia of tidal and wave action, resulting in the landscape. 

The packing of rocks not only disturbs this balance, but impacts on a wide variety of micro-fauna which seek refuge under the rocks. 

Any alteration of this habitat will impact negatively on the marine life associated with rocky shores. The City and SANParks reminded the public that the seashore is defined as coastal public property. 

Both the City and San Parks said the property is held in trust by the state, as provided for in the Seashore Act of 1935 and the Integrated Coastal Management Act of 2009. 

As such, the state must ensure that the coastal public property is used, managed, protected, conserved and enhanced in the interests of the whole community. 

Because this section of the coastal area below the high-water mark falls within the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, there is an even greater need to avoid any action that may lead to the disturbance or destruction of the area. 

The state, including the City and SANParks, will take action against anyone found to be engaging in moving and packing of rocks. SANParks will work towards the dismantling of these formations. 

In the interim, the City’s Law Enforcement Officers and SANParks staff will continue to monitor the area with regular patrols. – BuaNews

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