The Democratic Alliance notes the ex tempora judgement handed down by the Western Cape High Court today regarding our case to overrule the closure of the Garden Route’s beaches.

While we are disappointed by the ruling in favour of beach closures, we welcome the amended hours of beach operation which we have managed to get changed from 09:00 to 18:00, to 06:00 to 19:00.

We also welcome the court’s awarding of 50% of our costs as per the ruling.

The DA is still deeply concerned that the blanket closure of the Garden Route’s beaches over the festive season will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for local economies, and for the livelihoods which depend on seasonal tourism during this time.

While we respect the judgement, we understand that this ruling remains a devastating blow to the thousands of small businesses along the Garden Route which are now at serious risk of collapse. This problem will not go away once South Africa emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, and we cannot ignore the risk to livelihoods which many lockdown restrictions present.

The DA will continue to act in both the interests of the lives and livelihoods of South Africans during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that we keep citizens safe, and that we still have an economy left once the dust has settled.

South Africa’s coronavirus response must always take into account the delicate balance between lives and livelihoods. Our country cannot endure any regulations which harm the economy and cut citizens off from their means to make an honest living in a safe and secure manner.

Regulations imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus must be within reason and backed up by scientific and medical advice. Anything less is a reckless assault on the livelihoods of millions of South Africans in an economy which is already on its knees.

The DA will continue to ensure that this balance is preserved and protected, and that national government does not take flagrant liberty to dominate and command the lives of free individuals in a democratic society.

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