Sandy Bay beach is in a secluded bay just past Llandudno, enclosed by sand dunes and with a backdrop of mountains.

"We have identified the area where this beach would be situated and we have spoken to many local residents and they have indicated that they also believe that the area would benefit because of the added international visitors," said John Skene, a leading member of the KwaZulu-Natal Naturists Association.

"Having a nude beach would be a selling point for the south coast in general and I believe that we can get thousands of tourists who would be drawn here by the fantastic weather and by the pristine beaches."

Mr Skene said while the association had put out feelers with the local Hibiscus municipality, it had yet to approach the municipality formally to seek permission.

Hibiscus Coast municipality spokesman Simon Sobhoyisa said: "If there are people who are thinking along those lines they would have to make a proposal and submit it to the municipality to request such permission. The council would then discuss that proposal and decide whether to grant it or deny. If it is granted there would have to be certain conditions attached to it."

Mr Sobhoyisa said the municipality had strict by-laws and transgressors risked being arrested and prosecuted for indecent exposure or public indecency.

"If there is an application for a nude beach, it would not be only Hibiscus municipality that will have to decide on it. The provincial government would have to also agree, as well as the Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, which owns the site of the proposed nude beach," said Mr Sobhoyisa.

Bonga Xolo, an Mpenjati resident, said the proposed nudist beach was a bad idea.

"It would bring all sorts of people here. I think it is immoral and they should take it elsewhere. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is allowed in this country where immorality is promoted."

Sharing this view was Daisy McKenzie, a Margate resident.

"We bought properties here and started businesses because we felt this is a good area to raise families. Now you are going to have a bunch of naked people going around our beaches. A nude beach would increase rampant prostitution and other social ills. I am totally against it," she said.

But Margate resident Dave Johnson said there was nothing wrong with having a nude beach in the neighbourhood. "I certainly don’t have any problem with this. As long as they have age and other restrictions," he said.