Brace for a bruising battle to bare boobs and buttocks on beaches
SA's naturists want to petition government to change the law to allow them to bare it all.
The battle over “drooping boobs and buttocks” on a KwaZulu-Natal beach is set to go national.
The country’s nudists plan to petition national government to amend the Sexual Act 23 of 1969, to allow them to bare it all on the 250m sandy stretch near Mpenjati Nature Reserve on the KZN South Coast.“The time has come for the South African National Naturist Association (Sanna) to approach national government to have the very outdated Act amended,” the association's chairman Lofty Lutge said. “Once the act is amended, municipalities will be entitled to amend their bylaws to provide for nudist-friendly beaches.”What is Sanna?
The South African National Naturist Association describes itself as the “umbrella body responsible for representing and promoting naturism in South Africa, and naturist tourism in South Africa”.This is a long-standing battle. At the first public hearing into the proposed nudist beach, at Trafalgar in 2014, residents were divided, with some opposed to “drooping boobs and buttocks” on their beach, while others wanted to strip down without fear of being caught.In a 2017 report, which scrapped the municipality’s permission for a legal nudist beach, the public protector said there was no wording or suggestion in the act which hinted at criminalising nudity in a designated and access-controlled nudist beach.It is this reference that Lutge, 500 paying members of the association and an estimated 25,000 nudists countrywide are relying on to have the law changed in their favour.
But the Concerned Citizens Group, which had approached the public protector in opposition to the application for a nudist beach, said there was no way to designate a public area for nakedness without excluding members of the public.The group’s chairman, the Reverend Mike Effanga, who claimed to represent 30 churches and thousands of church members in towns along the province’s South Coast, said nudists should continue acquiring private resorts to practice nudity as a private option.
“We would never support such an amendment because when it speaks about a designated area, there is sufficient provision in the constitution and other acts for nudity to be practised as a private option not as a public option.
“So we do not foresee that in the interest of the morality and ethical values that such an amendment would serve any productive purpose for the citizens of the nation,” he said.
Lutge also plans to approach of the Department of Tourism as nudist beaches have proven to boost tourism worldwide.How the nude beach battle has played out
2014 - The Ray Nkonyeni municipality relaxes a bylaw allowing nudists on the beach when it approves an application to declare the 250m stretch of sand on KwaZulu-Natal’s first official nude beach by the SA National Naturists Association.
2015 - The municipality allows a trial run of the nudist beach during the Easter holiday. Later that year, co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube issues a directive to the municipality in December that no nudity would be allowed as the bylaw to legalise the beach as a nudist venue was not formalised yet.
2016 - The Concerned Citizens Group and its chairperson, the Reverend Mike Effanga, launches an official complaint to the public protector in May over plans to legalise nudism on the beach.
2016 - The municipality designates part of the Mpenjati Estuary as a nudist-friendly beach.
2017 - Public protector releases a report after the community objected to the nude beach, setting aside the granting of permission on the grounds that the council had not followed the proper process.Tshwane University of Technology tourism lecturer Unathi Sonwabile said revoking permission for the nudist beach was “a missed opportunity to create jobs and attract investments into the fragile local community”.
“Ray Nkonyeni [municipality] would have differentiated itself as a nude-friendly destination, and become a hot bucket list destination.
“The municipal officials who approved the nude beach must be appreciated for thinking outside the box, in trying to achieve local economic development,” he said.
Tourism departmental spokesperson Lulama Duma said: “The position of the Department of Tourism is that municipalities, rather than NDT, have jurisdiction over the use of public beaches.”