NATIONAL NEWS - The DA has officially filed papers at the Western Cape High Court to challenge government’s decision to close beaches in the Garden Route over the festive season due to rising Covid-19 infections.
Government gazetted regulations under the Disaster Management Act on Tuesday that stated that all beaches in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route would be closed from 16 December 2020 to 3 January 2021.
However, beaches in KwaZulu-Natal will only be closed on the busiest days of the season, namely 16, 25, 26 and 31 December, as well as from 1 to 3 January.
Meanwhile in the papers, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde are the respondents in the case.
The matter comes after the DA had given government a deadline – 10am on Thursday, 17 December – to provide reasons justifying the closure of beaches. Both Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma have failed to respond, according to DA leader John Steenhuisen.
“The fact that national government has requested additional time to prepare a response to our letter requesting reasons for the decision to close the Garden Route’s beaches, only demonstrates that there were none to begin with. It would seem that any reasons now provided would be ex post facto manufactured,” he said in a statement.
Steenhuisen argued that the closure of the beaches would negatively impact livelihoods and would also lead to job losses.
“In the delicate fight to save both lives and livelihoods, any job-killing Covid-19 regulation which has no rational basis in medical and scientific practice cannot be imposed. Doing so will only create a far more dangerous pandemic of widespread poverty and job losses, which we are already witnessing.
The DA leader revealed that businesses in the hospitality industry along the Garden Route were already reporting devastating losses.
“This is precisely why we are urgently approaching the courts to expedite the overturning of this decision as the livelihoods of thousands currently hang in the balance,” he added.
He said the party’s case was expected to be heard in court at 2.30pm on Monday, 21 December.