The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken the government to court over its decision to close the beaches in the Garden Route District for the entirety of the festive season.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the strict measures on Sunday as part of the government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 second wave that’s hit the country.
However, the official opposition believes the strict measures are unnecessary and will have dire consequences for jobs.
It filed papers in the Western Cape High Court and says it hopes the matter will be heard on Monday afternoon.
The move followed President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cooperative Governance Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s, failure to meet the party’s deadline for it to justify the closure of the beaches.
“The fact that the 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 party says.
The DA believes that the closure of the beaches is not in line with the scientific advice available from medical experts and is impossible to enforce. “This regulation is also proving to be the final nail in the coffin for the Garden Route’s coastal economies which are nearing total collapse,” it says.
The DA is not just about saving lives but livelihoods too, alleging that 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.
“In the South African context, poverty can be far deadlier than the coronavirus, and in this instance, the national government is risking the livelihoods of thousands of South Africans unnecessarily. We cannot and will not allow this to happen.”
On Wednesday, the Western Cape reported 3 233 new COVID-19 cases. The cases had increased by 448 compared to the previous day.