The Western Cape High Court has ruled in favour of the closure of Garden Route beaches.
CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape High Court has ruled in favour of the closure of beaches after the DA approached the courts to order that the Garden Route’s beaches be reopened.
The high court did, however, decide to amend the operation times for Cape Town’s beaches, which the DA has managed to get changed from 9am to 6pm, to 6am to 7pm.
In a statement, DA leader John Steenhuisen said: “While we are disappointed by the ruling in favour of beach closures, we welcome the amended hours of beach operation.”
He said the party was still deeply concerned at the blanket closure of the Garden Route’s beaches over the festive season.
“While we respect the judgment, 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,” said Steenhuisen.
The party argued that there was a balance to be struck between saving lives and preserving the nation’s economy. Its argument was heavily reliant on the closure of the Garden Route beaches, where towns are extremely dependent on tourism.
In a separate case, in the Eastern Cape, the Kouga Municipality submitted an urgent application to the courts to have the decision to close all beaches in the province overturned.
The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will also deliver its judgment on Wednesday in three separate applications in which it has been asked that certain beaches in the Eastern Cape and those along the Garden Route be opened to the public during this time.
Judge Hans Fabricius, who is hearing the matter, had requested a copy of the Western Cape High Court’s order ahead of delivering his judgment.