St James Beach bathing boxes are here to stay, but they may soon be closed off
Oelofse says plans are underway to ensure that all colourful bathing boxes across Cape Town's coastline are no longer open or accessible to the public.
He says the City is currently reviewing the management of all its beach huts so they are better maintained and protected against vandalism and misuse.
A proposal has been made for the huts to be classified "as part of the iconic land space rather than [functional] beach boxes" going forward, Oelofse explains.
He says the proposal was made three weeks ago, prior to the weekend blaze that destroyed several colourful bathing boxes at St James beach.
According to Oelofse, preliminary findings suggest that the fire broke out while homeless people had taken shelter inside the beach structures.
Oelofse says because Cape Town's bathing boxes are no longer used for their original purpose, they've become prone to vandalism and "pose a public safety risk in some areas".
The St James bathing boxes are certainly going to be part of the landscape going forward... they'll always be there.Gregg Oelofse, Manager of Coastal Management - City of Cape Town
These [huts] will always be part of St James' landscape.... They've been left vacant for many years, that's very difficult to manage vacant public spaces like that.Gregg Oelofse, Manager of Coastal Management - City of Cape Town
They weren't torched or burnt down on purpose, it was more like an accidental fire.Gregg Oelofse, Manager of Coastal Management - City of Cape Town
They have been used quite a lot by homeless people... In this case, it was a cold night and some people were sleeping in a hut.Gregg Oelofse, Manager of Coastal Management - City of Cape Town
My understanding is that there was a faulty gas heater, but that's still to be confirmed.Gregg Oelofse, Manager of Coastal Management - City of Cape Town
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