New Year’s Day crowd-control measures for Bonza Bay have drawn negative public reaction.
Police will be running roadblocks and asking to see proof of identity and residence before allowing people to use the popular beach and lagoon.
Parking will also be limited to 60 vehicles.
The control measures will be in place between December 31 and January 2.
The rules will be enforced by Beacon Bay police, to avoid traffic congestion and overcrowding, and to ensure emergency services are able to access the area.
Fuming social media users likened the identity measure to the old pass law where rural black people were forced to carry passes in order to enter urban areas.
Beacon Bay resident Mncedi Dunywa slammed the rule as an infringement of basic human rights. Dunywa said, “This thing smacks of segregation”.
Dumisa Macanda wrote on Facebook: “These are apartheid laws.”
East London police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala said the measures were implemented to prevent chaos.
“Two years back a five-year-old drowned at the lagoon and our divers and emergency services had to walk for more than two kilometres because their vehicles could not get through.”
Mqala said the beachfront parking area could only accommodate a maximum of 60 vehicles at a time.
Mqala said Beacon Bay SAPS put the measures in place annually during the New Year period “as a proactive strategy to guarantee the safety and security of the public when accessing this beach”.
“This requirement has been published and issued as a warning for purely crowd control and encouraging revellers to consider that there are other parts of the East London beach they can explore. In reality, no one will be turned away if they do not comply with the requirement, but crowd management will be exercised.”
Mqala added: “The procedure of producing identity or proof of residence is not a racial act or requirement that has got anything to do with race, colour or creed.
“It is done at many official institutions and is a way of proving positive identity of residence.
“We want to ensure that the Bonza Bay residents are safe and have access to their beach while at the same time allowing general members of the public controlled access aimed at maximising their safety including their property.