Residents rally to reclaim beach

Catherine van Alphen and Elaine Millin were among the volunteers who got their hands dirty cleaning up the dunes.

Superb community cohesion was shown on Sunday July 30 when 60 volunteers invested their time in cleaning up the sand dunes at Sunrise Circle.

The call to do so was made by the Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative (MCSI) who launched a “Reclaim our Beaches” campaign.

Henrik Daugbjerg of MSCI Response Team was present on the day. “We have heard so many stories of muggings in this area, we decided to do something about it. We posted a notice on social media, with no idea if anyone would actually show up… many people talk but we are thrilled with the response,” he said.

The dunes were dotted with families and friends chatting while they filled 150 black bags with litter. The call was to make Sunrise Beach safer from crime and to clean it up, the idea was to gather in a large group and walk the dunes to reclaim them, picking up litter as they went. An array of groups made their presence felt, including Grit Security, Deep Blue Security, SAPS members and Law Enforcement, as well as Marine Estate Neighbourhood Watch, Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) and Safer Together. One permanent illegal struct-
ure was discovered and dismantled.

Mr Daugbjerg spoke to the couple who were found living in the structure and gave them information on avenues of help available to them. He has taken their details and will attempt to get them to the Muizenberg clinic for health issues and connect them with a social worker. “We do occasionally find people living in the dunes and our aim is to help them find a healthier situation. We understand these situations are usually complex, but no one should be living like this,” he said.

Johan Lotter is a resident and was single-handedly filling an array of black bags. He said what he was picking up was absolute junk – the remnants of black bags which were dragged up into the dunes to be picked through. “I am concerned that people are not reporting the instances where they have been mugged or threatened. Every incident really should be reported so that SAPS can build their cases and also realise how serious a problem this is becoming,” he said.

Catherine van Alphen and Elaine Millin were pleased to be volunteering, and were enjoying the experience and the sunshine. “It’s only a few hours, and we feel it’s the right thing to do, not just talk about how bad things are, but get involved in changing them for the better,” Ms Van Alphen said.

Raphael Nanthaleza was in his element helping out on Sunday, and personally took four full bakkie loads to the dump – 150 bags all collected by keen volunteers.

Rowena Hay of Umvoto Africa supplied the bakkie and Mr Nanthaleza the manpower. The event is not a once off – MCSI has called on residents to keep up their presence on the beach, always walking in groups: their next meeting is on Saturday August 5 at 6pm as they join the monthly Moonlight Meander along Muizenberg beach.

Meet at Surfer’s Corner, dogs allowed on leashes, and donations (which are voluntary) will be presented to the trauma counselling room at Muizenberg SAPS this month. The Muizenberg Community Police Forum has now gone online and has information on the necessity of reporting all crimes to SAPS and the process to follow if you are happy with – or unhappy with- SAPS service. Find them on www.cpfmuizenberg.org.za

To reach Muizenberg SAPS, call 021 787 9000; Mids Security 021 762 3813 or Grit Security, 021 788 8453/
2652. To contact MID, call 021 788 1196.