The DA says it will be laying an ethics complaint against Police Minister Bheki Cele after he ordered police officers to shut down a film shoot at Camps Bay beach. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
The DA says it will be laying an ethics complaint against Police Minister Bheki Cele after he ordered police officers to shut down a film shoot at Camps Bay beach. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Garden Route, Camps Bay beach closure battles to play out in court

By Siphokazi Vuso, Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Dec 18, 2020

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Cape Town – The president's office says it will deal with legal challenges to the latest national State of Disaster regulations through the courts.

The DA yesterday lodged papers in court challenging a decision taken by the national government to close the beaches on the Garden Route for the entirety of the festive season.

Acting spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa, Tyrone Seale, said there were processes that had to be followed. “We note the DA court action and we will deal with the matter through legal processes,” he said.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said having the beaches closed would hurt tourism business in the region.

“Doing so will only create a far more dangerous pandemic of widespread poverty and job losses, which we are already witnessing,” he said.

Mossel Bay mayor Harry Levendal said estuaries, lagoons, quays, launch sites and open coastal waters were still accessible.

“With beautiful rivers in the greater Mossel Bay, the youngsters can still frolic in the river's water and even build sandcastles on the riverbanks,” Levendal said.

The challenge to the closing of the beaches along the Garden Route comes as the Red Petal Production company that has been shooting commercials on Camps Bay beach had their operation shut for a second time yesterday.

The company was first stopped on Wednesday, with Police Minister Bheki Cele saying it contravened Covid-19 regulations when filming an advertisement. Cele had embarked on a daylong visit to various beaches in Cape Town in a bid to inspect operational deployments as well as to assess adherence to lockdown regulations, when he saw the production.

The executive producer of Red Petal Production, Toni Marais, said they were given permission on Wednesday night by Camps Bay SAPS to continue the shoot, but on condition that police officers would be present.

“We came back to shoot again in the morning. The Camps Bay SAPS informed us during the shooting that the national police office had called and ordered them to shut down the shooting.”

Executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman said they had pulled back from pursuing an interdict on Wednesday, but would now again approach the court urgently for an interdict to allow the shoot to continue.

Cele's spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said he was aware of all the threats and court actions against him.

Themba said Cele had not given permission for Red Petal Production to continue shooting as it was unlawful, and hence it had been ordered to cease operations again.

Cape Times

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