DA files court papers to overturn decision to close Garden Route beaches

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
17 Dec 2020 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by John Steenhuisen MP. Court papers can be accessed here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today filed court papers in the Western Cape High Court challenging a decision taken by national government to close the beaches in the Garden Route District for the entirety of the festive season.

We had provided President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with an extended deadline of 10:00 this morning to provide reasons justifying the closure of beaches along the Western Cape’s Garden Route. Both the President and Minister Dlamini-Zuma have failed to respond by the extended hour. 

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.

The DA and our governments across the Western Cape’s coastal municipalities have fought vehemently against any closure of beaches over the festive season, as such a regulation is not in line with the scientific advice available from medical experts and is impossible to enforce. This regulation is also proving be the final nail in the coffin for the Garden Route’s coastal economies which are nearing total collapse.

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.

Businesses in the hospitality industry along the Garden Route are already reporting devastating and life-threatening losses to the value of hundreds of millions of rands. 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.  

In the South African context, poverty can be far deadlier than the coronavirus, and in this instance, national government is risking the livelihoods of thousands of South Africans unnecessarily. We cannot and will not allow this to happen.

We expect that our case will be heard as early as Monday 21 December 2020 at 14:30 where we hope to be granted immediate relief of this draconian regulation.