DA fights to keep Garden Route beaches open

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has given President Cyril Ramaphosa until 17:00 on Wednesday to justify the grounds upon which the government took the decision to close the beaches in the Garden Route District for the entirety of the festive season.

In a letter sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the party says if the President fails to respond they will approach the courts for urgent relief.

The party argues that Premier Alan Winde has told the government repeatedly that beach-going in the Western Cape does not present a significant threat of COVID-19 infection.

Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced stricter measures to mitigate the impact of the second wave of the coronavirus. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Monday:

The DA says the closure of the beaches in Garden Route is the final nail in the coffin for the Garden Route’s coastal economies.

“It was very clear from the start that the Western Cape did not want beach closures, nor did the province need them. The government has blatantly ignored these requests and overlooked the competency of the Western Cape government at the peril of the lives and livelihoods of the province’s coastal communities.”

According to DA, the government has not been fair and consistent in its imposition of this regulation across the country.

“Infection rates between the Garden Route and KwaZulu-Natal, for example, are not dissimilar. Yet while beach closures in KwaZulu-Natal are limited to but a few days, the Garden Route has had a blanket restriction imposed unjustly for the entire festive season. There is no justifiable reason for beach closures anywhere in the Western Cape, and National Government’s decision to close the Garden Route’s beaches over the festive season is thus dangerously irrational.”

Beachgoers along the Garden Route took time out on Tuesday to enjoy their last few hours in the sun and sea before new lockdown restrictions kick in on Wednesday: