Locals and visitors to the Garden Route town of Plettenberg Bay protested on Sunday for the re-opening of the beaches in the area. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Locals and visitors to the Garden Route town of Plettenberg Bay protested on Sunday for the re-opening of the beaches in the area. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Damage 'already done' to Garden Route tourism before beach closure ruling

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Dec 24, 2020

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Cape Town - AfriForum and the DA have suffered a humiliating defeat after both the North Gauteng and Western Cape high courts ruled in favour of the government’s beach closures.

Both wanted the courts to overturn the decision, calling on them to reopen some of the country’s beaches.

Knysna Accommodation Association head Colleen Harding said: “The damage has already been done after the announcement was made. Despite them losing their cases, it makes no difference. We are hopeful. The cancellation of the accommodation will have an effect on other activities such as restaurants; we rely totally on tourism. The deed was done and even if they had opened the beaches, I highly doubt people would have rebooked their holidays.”

Yesterday, The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria validated the government's decision to close some of the country’s beaches this festive season. AfriForum and the Great Brak Business Forum lost a bid to overturn the government’s beach restrictions. In a similar matter, the Western Cape High Court handed down its judgment in an urgent application brought by the DA. The high court, however, decided to amend the beach operation times, which the DA have managed to get changed from 9am to 6pm, to 6am to 7pm.

NightsBridge managing director Theresa Emerick said: “Most small accommodation owners had pinned their hopes of survival on their bookings for the season. These hopes were dashed with the announcement that all beaches in the Garden Route would be closed till January.”

Both Afrifoum and the DA have indicated that they will not be appealing against the courts’ decision.

But Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said, in court papers, that the restrictions on beaches were limited, and more importantly, “temporary”.

“Covid-19 poses an unprecedented risk to the lives and health of everyone living in South Africa. The State was and remains constitutionally obligated to act to prevent Covid-19 from killing hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa and from leaving hundreds of thousands of others permanently affected by the lasting effects of Covid,” Dlamini Zuma stated in her responding affidavit to Afriforum.

Cape Argus

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