DA notes High Court ruling in favour of beach closures - John Steenhuisen

Leader says his party is disappointed, but welcomes the amended hours of beach operation

DA notes High Court ruling on beach closures

22 December 2020

The Democratic Alliance notes the ex tempora judgement handed down by the Western Cape High Court today regarding our case to overrule the closure of the Garden Route’s beaches.

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.

The DA is still deeply concerned that the blanket closure of the Garden Route’s beaches over the festive season will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for local economies, and for the livelihoods which depend on seasonal tourism during this time.

While we respect the judgement, we understand that this ruling remains a devastating blow to the thousands of small businesses along the Garden Route which are now at serious risk of collapse. 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.

The DA will continue to act in both the interests of the lives and livelihoods of South Africans during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that we keep citizens safe, and that we still have an economy left once the dust has settled.

South Africa’s coronavirus response must always take into account the delicate balance between lives and livelihoods. Our country cannot endure any regulations which harm the economy and cut citizens off from their means to make an honest living in a safe and secure manner.

Regulations imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus must be within reason and backed up by scientific and medical advice. Anything less is a reckless assault on the livelihoods of millions of South Africans in an economy which is already on its knees.

The DA will continue to ensure that this balance is preserved and protected, and that national government does not take flagrant liberty to dominate and command the lives of free individuals in a democratic society.

Statement issued by John Steenhuisen MP - Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 22 December 2020


DA awaiting judgment on Garden Route beach closures

Note to editors: Please click here for a soundbite by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP.

Yesterday, the Western Cape High Court considered arguments made by the Democratic Alliance to open beaches along the Garden Route. The judgement was reserved, and we remain confident that it will be handed down in the coming days.

In the fight to save both lives and livelihoods in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we believe that beach closures do far more harm than good.

The closure of beaches goes against the available scientific advice from medical experts and is thus irrational. Furthermore, the closure of beaches along the Garden Route has had a devastating impact on the region’s tourism economy which is the lifeblood of many local municipalities.

As part of our case, the DA also argued to have the imposition of irrational beach operating hours of between 09:00 and 18:00 overruled. Again, this restriction goes against all medical and scientific advice, and is an irrational and unnecessary policing of the freedom of movement.

We cannot and will not allow irrational restrictions to be passed which impact the livelihoods of millions in our country at a time when the economy is on its knees. We hope that the courts will rule in our favour, and in favour of the millions of lives and livelihoods placed at risk by this irrational restriction.

Statement issued by John Steenhuisen MP - Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 22 December 2020