We cleaned beach, says SANDF

The snoek and jellyfish among the crowds attending the SANDF night shoot in Muizenberg.

Following a peaceful protest by Muizenberg residents against the SANDF night shoot last week, some have complained about finding the wrong kind of shells on the beach.

Helena Kingwell said the protesters had come together spontaneously as they felt the SANDF exercise would have a harmful impact (“Armed forces display concern”, False Bay Echo, January 31).

“The message was about the impact of the obnoxious sound levels and the possibility that living things could even be killed by live ammunition being shot into the ocean, especially as pods of dolphins have recently been seen frolicking close to shore,” she

The protest took the form of a parade of massive puppets depicting iconic sea creatures including a snoek and jellyfish, taken to the water’s edge, just metres from the military display of might.

“I saw bullets going into the ocean, and it was upsetting because I feel, as a voice in this community that we had no say about this happening,” said Chris Auret. “As man of peace, I don’t believe guns and fighting are the answer.”

Environmental scientist James Norwichi said: “Even though there are scientific ways of measuring noise, it’s absolutely impossible to know how devastatingly powerful these noises are for every living creature living under the ocean and also the land creatures such as the dassie population, who have highly sensitive hearing. These populations have been living here for probably 50 million years, and we (mankind) have just arrived, relatively speaking.”

He said he felt the law had failed to protect nature in this instance.

“Why didn’t the law stop this? The authorities have let us down completely because we have national legislation acts and various local legislation acts which should be protecting us and stopping this from happening, and I think all three tiers of government have failed us,” he said.

Local thespian Vincent Meyberg claimed people he had spoken to on the beach had not known
that live ammunition was being used.

“The sounds we are hearing are really traumatic,” said artist and environmental activist Clair Roussel. “So for people who have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of any sort, I am sure this triggers a lot of difficult feelings and experiences.”

Muizenberg resident Paul Jurgens said he had picked up discarded ear plugs, plastic, rubbish and a handfuls of spent bullet casings when he visited Sunrise Beach the morning after the event.

“We were assured by SANDF representatives at the only public meeting we had about this that the military would clean up after themselves, leaving the beach as they found it, That did not happen,” said Mr Jurgens.

Residents were divided over the event and there was hot debate about it on social media and

An event permit was issued on Monday afternoon, just hours before the rehearsal night on Monday February 18.

Animal rights activist Jo Bosman claimed there had been a departure from due process. 

“We can’t let this happen again,” she said.

Resident David Muller spent his birthday on the rehearsal night protesting with placards calling for peace rather than war. 

“This is a call to make people think about consequence,” he said.

Naval base media liaison officer Sub-Lieutenant Lizzy Hange said the SANDF had done a thorough clean-up of the beach the day after the event.

Residents, who found shell casings, she said, must have been on the beach before the military personnel arrived at midday.

She sent the Echo a link to a video clip on YouTube of Muizenberg High School pupils helping SANDF personnel clean the beach. It can be found on https.//m.youtube.com/watch?v=nUUrly_174Y