Surfing, cigarettes and alcohol: petitions increase as the lockdown extension nears

5 friends petitioning on their smartphones (PHOTO: MangoStar_Studio/Getty Images)
5 friends petitioning on their smartphones (PHOTO: MangoStar_Studio/Getty Images)
MangoStar_Studio

The lockdown extension has frustrated many South Africans as this means they aren’t able to go back to “normal” just yet. For some, starting or signing petitions has been their way of getting government to hear their cries.

Last week, the Gauteng Liquor Forum wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa in which they threatened to take him to the Constitutional Court due to the alcohol sales ban. One of their reasons was that shebeens and taverns got their liquor licences through the Gauteng Liquor Board. Therefore, they were not given relief like small business owners were.

Read more: Forum threatens to take ban of alcohol sales to Constitutional Court

A petition for the lift on the ban of cigarette sales is also currently on change.org. The petition’s goal is to reach 150 000 signatures and, currently, the goal seems attainable. Petitions are on the rise and most of them are justified in their respective ways. Meanwhile, some people have decided to use their voices to call for activities to be recognised as essential services.

A man named David G Visage has started a petition to make surfing an essential activity. In the petition directed to the premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, and the president, he starts off by thanking them and explaining that he is representing a certain population of the Western Cape. “I am talking about the surfers that call the waters surrounding Western Cape coastlines, home. For a large number of Western Cape surfers, surfing is more than just a hobby. Surfing is a time for us to be alone with our thoughts, away from the struggles of everyday life, away from stress, anxiety, depression, and most importantly at this moment in time, people,” he wrote.

He has specified that surfers will strictly walk from their cars to the waters and from the waters straight to their cars. It also asks that the waters be open from sunrise until sunset. The petition needs 5 000 signatures as “it is essential that all of Western Cape waters be opened”.

In SA, there are two petitions that are recognised: a special and a public/general petition. According to the Western Cape provincial parliament, a detailed form needs to be filled out and sent to a registered email or delivered to the provincial parliament. The number of Covid-19 cases is increasing and this could potentially lead to the lockdown being extended a second time. We currently have more than 2 000 positive cases, and the door-to-door screenings continue. Frustration among citizens will likely rise and more demands will be made.