DA launches fight to reopen beaches

The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape welcomes the decision by the Kouga Municipality to seek urgent relief from the Eastern Cape High Court regarding the closure of the province’s beaches over Covid-19 infection fears, in the hopes of having this irrational decision overturned.

This includes the popular beaches of Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay which have been closed, leaving holidaymakers and locals unable to access Main Beach and Cape St Francis beaches.

“The DA is of the firm belief that the national government’s blanket closure of all Eastern Cape beaches has been imposed unjustly, and that it has already had a devastating impact on the province’s fragile tourism sector,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson.

“It is also our view that the national government has not been fair, rational or consistent in its imposition of this regulation across the country, as evidenced by the lesser restrictions imposed on KwaZulu-Natal.

Further, the closure of our beaches goes against the scientific advice and recommendations made by medical experts and will be impossible to strictly enforce,” said Whitfield.

“Tourism is one of Kouga’s, and the Eastern Cape’s, key economic sectors, especially over the busy summer festive season. The closure of beaches will have a devastating economic impact on the people of Kouga and the rest of the province, and the DA will not stand by and allow businesses, residents and visitors to suffer,” added Whitfield.

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There is also concern that the closure of beaches and parks will lead to people congregating at other venues, including private residences, where the risk of infection is even higher.

“The DA-governed Kouga municipality will take up the fight for our beaches to be reopened. We hope that success in our application will lead to all the provincial beaches being reopened.

We will take this fight to the courts to guarantee that there are still thriving coastal economies in this province, despite the national government’s irrational attempts to stifle them,” concluded Whitfield.

Photo: Joey Nel

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