UPDATE: The Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) has released the following statement:

Tuesday 1 August saw much speculation on social media platforms amidst rumours that the Muizenberg beach huts are to be removed. MID rushed to verify this information with the City, and has received clarification on the matter as follows:

“Beach bathing huts will remain a part of the Muizenberg experience”

In fact, the City is looking at refurbishing the beach huts at Surfers’ Corner to make them functional and useable once again, as well as retaining their iconic photographic value for the area.

However, the beach huts on the eastern side of Muizenberg beach (near the river mouth) have been identified for removal.

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Reports emerged earlier this week that the City of Cape Town has earmarked the removal of the structures due to ‘safety risks’ and ‘anti-social behaviour’ surrounding them. Locals from the seaside town are up in arms about the removal due to a lack of consultation with them. Ongoing communication within the Muizenberg Notice Board – Public Facebook page has seen residents airing their views and discussing the potential removal of the iconic beach huts. Reports in the group state that already the doors of some of the structures have been removed without communication to residents.

Meanwhile, a petition has sprung up online and has quickly gained traction among Muizenberg locals and residents the city over. The petition reads:

It has been made known that the iconic beach huts (those remaining) on Muizenberg beach are to be reduced in number or removed altogether due to their slow degradation and abuse by homeless people and other anti-social elements. It has been argued that they pose a threat and are expensive to maintain. It appears that this decision has been made without due consultation with the local community. Alternative proposals have been invited for their replacement with a windbreak only after some inquires and reaction on social media.

The removal of this important part of our heritage represents a capitulation to social ills and are a reactionary approach to a problem which needs to be addressed with alternative means as their removal will not address these problems.

Given that the Muizenberg beach huts are part of Muizenberg’s heritage and are of such iconic and emblematic importance and symbolic of Muizenberg internationally, and that the proposed removal is a drastic and ill-considered and ineffective action about which the affected community has not been adequately consulted

We, the undersigned, call for:

a) an immediate cessation of the removal plans and activities
b) a broad and thorough consultation with the community regarding their fate
c) a considered, and acceptable broad plan to address the maintenance of the beach huts and the social ills affecting the area holistically

The City of Cape Town has yet to release a statement to clarify the matter. We’ll keep you posted with updates as they become available.

Photography HM Images

 

Article written by

Justin

Justin Williams is a born-and-bred Capetonian with a flair for writing. His icons include the late South African authors Lawrence Green, Eric Rosenthal and T.V. Bulpin, literary figures who continuously inspire him to cover the avenues of lifestyle, travel and nature in a local context. When he's not covering a story, Justin can be found in the mountains - he's a renowned wild food forager and herbalism student.