Cape Town – The DA has taken issue with Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for moving forward the closing time for restaurants and bars in the amended Covid-19 regulations.
On Saturday, DA MP Dean Macpherson said Dlamini Zuma decided to overrule President Cyril Ramaphosa in the latest amended regulations published on Thursday.
"This time, Minister Dlamini Zuma has unilaterally decided to change the closing time for restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, theatres and museums from 10pm to 9pm," Macpherson said.
On Monday, Ramaphosa said in his address to the nation the hours of the curfew would be longer, starting at 11pm and ending at 4am.
"Non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will have to close at 10pm so that staff and patrons can get home before the enforcement of the curfew,” he said in his national address.
Ramaphosa had said the curfew was meant to prevent gatherings that go on late into the night, while enabling restaurants, bars and taverns to continue to operate and earn an income.
Macpherson said it was not the first time that Dlaimini Zuma has contradicted Ramaphosa, saying the U-turn on tobacco sales during the lockdown was the most famous.
"When the president speaks, his word should be final. It should not be allowed that a minister can advance their own agendas through regulations as we have seen time and again."
He said he has written to Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa requesting an urgent answer as to why the closing time has been altered in this cavalier manner.
"Establishments like restaurants need every hour they possibly can get to make up for the hard and brutal lockdown that they have been subjected to this year," Macpherson said.
The DA is taking the government to court challenging the decision to close the beaches in the Garden Route District for the entirety of the festive season.
Ramaphosa announced that areas with the highest rate of infection, beaches and public parks would be closed for the duration of the festive season from December 16 to January 3.
"This will apply to all of the Eastern Cape, as well as to the Garden Route district in the Western Cape.
"In KwaZulu-Natal, beaches and public parks will be closed on what are traditionally the busiest days of the season," he said.
He also said the beaches and public parks of the Northern Cape and the Western Cape – with the exception of the Garden Route – would remain open to the public over the festive season.