The High Court in the Western Cape has dismissed the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) bid to have the ban on the Garden Route overturned.  

The official opposition has welcomed the ruling with mixed feelings.

“While we are disappointed by the ruling in favour of beach closures, we welcome the amended hours of beach operation which we have managed to get changed from 09:00 to 18:00, to 06:00 to 19:00. We also welcome the court’s awarding of 50% of our costs as per the ruling,” it says.

The Democratic Alliance says it is deeply concerned over the Garden Route ban, saying it is a devastating blow to the thousands of small businesses along the area, which are now at serious risk of collapse.

The party believes the ban will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for local economies, and for the livelihoods which depend on seasonal tourism during this time.  

“This problem will not go away once South Africa emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, and we cannot ignore the risk to livelihoods which many lockdown restrictions present,” says DA leader, John Steenhuisen.

The party has vowed to continue its quest to preserve and protect a balance between lives and livelihoods.

Garden Route District Mayor, Alderman Booysen, has described the beaches’ closure as a hard pill to swallow, saying it comes as the district was struggling to recoup from the hard lockdown.

Meanwhile, a decision on an urgent application before the High Court in Pretoria to have Eastern Cape and Garden Route beaches reopened is expected on Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the closure of some of the country’s beaches in COVID-19 hot spot areas over the festive season last week due to the surge in infections.

While some beaches in the Western Cape remain operational, in KwaZulu-Natal they will only be closed on the busiest days of the festive season. These include on Christmas and New Year’s Day.