The National Health Department has vowed to challenge court applications opposing decisions of the National Coronavirus Command Council which are aimed at protecting the public.
It says imposing stricter lockdown regulations is necessary in some areas following a surge in coronavirus infections.
The department says it will take the necessary action to protect the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and collapsing. It says the decisions are substantiated by scientific evidence.
The department says some of the country’s beaches are overcrowded during the festive season and people tend to be carefree and not follow the rules.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has identified large gatherings as the leading cause of the spread of the virus.
Ramaphosa says, “There are probably many reasons for this massive spike in infections, but some key contributors are now becoming clearer. Gatherings, especially social gatherings and parties, are the largest source of outbreaks. In many of these gatherings, social distancing is not being observed, venues are crowded and not adequately ventilated, hand sanitiser is not readily available, and people are not wearing masks.”
The president has urged South Africans to adhere to the safety protocols.
“Just as we did during Easter, we need to once again adhere to the basic health protocols. If we do not do things differently this festive season, we will greet the new year not with joy, but with sorrow.”
He has asked citizens to keep the festive season celebrations small. Church gatherings have been restricted to 100 people indoors and 250 outdoors.
The Sarah Baartman and Garden Route districts have been declared as hotspots. This is after Nelson Mandela Bay was declared a hotspot.
Ramaphosa says the same additional restrictions will apply to these two districts as in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Beaches, parks and alcohol
To curb the virus, a nationwide curfew has been imposed at parks and beaches.
“Beaches and parks that are open to the public will only be open between 9am and 6pm. The situation will be monitored daily by local authorities to ensure compliance with the regulations on gatherings and the prohibition of alcohol.”
The beaches and public parks of the Northern Cape and the Western Cape – with the exception of the Garden Route – will remain open to the public over the festive season. Festivals, live music, and live performances at beaches are prohibited.
“In KwaZulu-Natal beaches and public parks, this will be closed on what are traditionally the busiest days of the season. These days are the 16th of December, the 25th , 26, the 31st , as well as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of January 2021.”
Closing of Eastern Cape, KZN beaches under the spotlight