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Gauteng High Court rules that beaches must remain closed


The court sided with government and Garden Route and Eastern Cape beaches will remain closed

File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

THE GAUTENG High Court, Pretoria, turned down three applications by various stakeholders for beaches along the Garden Route and in the Eastern Cape to reopen.

On Wednesday Judge Hans Fabricius confirmed the declaration by the government earlier this month that these beaches will remain closed until January 3.

The judge said that this step taken by the government in a bid to try and curb the spread of Covid-19, especially during this second wave, was necessary and not irrational.

Judge Fabricius pointed out that the applicants – the Great Brak Business Forum, along the Garden Route, the Kouga Municipality which runs Jeffreys Bay, and the Buffalo Bay Homeowners Association – made vague statements as to why these beaches should be opened. These statements were not substantiated, he said.

On the other hand, the government consulted with medical and other experts before it decided to close these beaches, which fall in what is currently the three hot-spot Covid-19 areas.

The judge said the government has an obligation to ensure that our hospitals are able to cope with a surge in infections and by opening these beaches the risk of spreading the virus will increase.

He said this is peak holiday season with a lot of feet on the ground and if these beaches were to be opened, people would flock there.

The judge said he cannot find in law that the government acted irrationally or that it had to further consult with other stakeholders before deciding on closing these beaches. The various premiers were consulted and those in the hot-spot areas were adamant that the beaches had to remain closed during the peak season, ending on January 3.

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