Judgement has been reserved in the Garden Route beaches’ court case.
The High Court in Cape Town heard the matter on Monday.
The Democratic Alliance wants the beaches reopened.
The official opposition party wants the government to find a way to balance saving lives and livelihoods.
AfriForum and the Great Brak Business Forum’s urgent application on the matter will meanwhile be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday. So will the Kouga Municipality’s challenge to have the ban on the beaches in the Eastern Cape overturned.
Government has said it won’t give in to the pressure that seeks to divert it from its primary goal of protecting the lives of South Africans and avoiding overwhelming the country’s healthcare system.
It says the stringent COVID-19 regulations are temporary and will be reviewed from time to time.
The ban on some beaches was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.
Government says the move is aimed at slowing down the spread of coronavirus infections as South Africa grapples with a resurgence of cases.
On Monday, the country reported 8 789 news infections – taking the total t0 930 711.
216 South Africans succumbed to the disease overnight – taking the number of fatalities to 24 907.
Most of the fatalities are from the Eastern Cape.
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.