- The Gauteng High Court has ruled that beaches in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route will remain closed.
- Judge Hans Fabricius delivered his ruling on Wednesday morning.
- He said government’s decision was not irrational or invalid.
The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has dismissed three separate applications relating to the government’s decision to close beaches in certain Covid-19 hotspot areas over the festive season.
The applicants wanted certain beaches in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route to be reopened.
However, delivering his judgment on Wednesday morning, Judge Hans Fabricius said the government’s decision was not irrational or unlawful.
He also said: “Many ‘facts’ put before me were largely of a hearsay nature and that’s inadmissible. I appreciate that applicants had little opportunity to obtain expert advice but even that does not allow me to admit otherwise inadmissible hearsay evidence and to base my judgement thereon. On the other hand, the government was guided by expert medical advice…there is no doubt that the State has a Constitutional obligation to protect the health of its citizens or inhabitants. The pandemic must be halted or its spread at least limited by all lawful and rational means.”
The applicants were the Great Brak Business Forum and others, the Kouga Local Municipality and the Buffelsbaai Homeowners Association and others.
It was argued in court papers that the regulations would have a devastating impact on the economy, limit economic and tourism activity and thus, impact on freedom of trade, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Last Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the closure of certain beaches and public parks over the festive season to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The closure applied to all beaches in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route. In KwaZulu-Natal, beaches will be closed on what are “traditionally, the busiest days of the season”.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the DA’s challenge to the national government’s decision to close the beaches in the Garden Route Disteict for the entirety if the festive season failed in the Western Cape.
The DA asked the court to declare the regulations closing the Garden Route’s beaches, and limiting the time the public can access beaches in the rest of the Western Cape as unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.
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