Covid-19: Eastern Cape also asks for beach closures this festive season

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane is discussing with national government of a decision to close beaches and parks during the festive season.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane is discussing with national government of a decision to close beaches and parks during the festive season.
  • Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has notified the national government of a decision to close beaches and parks during the festive season.
  • High volumes of people have visited the province's beaches over the period - something which, in the provincial government's view, could encourage the spread of Covid-19.
  • The province is also suggesting closures in other coastal provinces after KwaZulu-Natal made a similar request.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane is in talks with the national government about a decision to close beaches and parks during the festive season, and neighbouring province KwaZulu-Natal recently made a similar request.

Mabuyane is expected to raise the decision, which he has already communicated to the national government, at a joint meeting on Sunday.

READ: Government set to announce harsh restrictions as Covid-19 infections spike

"The leadership of the Eastern Cape government and its municipalities took a decision to close beaches and parks during this time because these places pose a huge risk of spreading infections," said Mabuyane's spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha.

The decision followed an influx of holidaymakers to beaches in the province over the festive season, Sicwetsha added.

"Allowing swimming at this time, during virus pandemic, will create huge problems. We have seen high numbers [at] our beaches during this time and we have a duty to protect [the] lives of the people of [the] province. We are doing this to protect lives. We believe this is good for preventing the spread of the virus," he said.

The provincial government hopes to close the province's beaches with immediate effect, according to Sicwetsha.

"We are in December now and our wish is that we should, if we agree with national government, make it immediate."

The call for beach closures echoes one made in KwaZulu-Natal last week.

The KwaZulu-Natal government resolved to shut down all beaches in the province, but Premier Sihle Zikalala later said the matter was under discussion with the national government and had not been resolved.

This was due to a debate on whether or not the use of beaches should be permitted and only swimming prohibited.

Zikalala said the provincial government had opted to regulate beach use instead of closing beaches.

Sicwetsha added that the move to engage with the national government was also to suggest that beach closures become a "national decision", which would then automatically include all coastal provinces.

ALSO READ | Mkhize to South Africans: Choose between life, sickness or death this festive season

"What happens in these two provinces affect us and what happens in the Eastern Cape affects these two provinces. And even other provinces could be affected if you look at outward migration of people from the Eastern Cape to places like Gauteng, the North West, the Free State and he Northern Cape," Sicwetsha said.

Sicwetsha added that the provincial government would also consider new measures on funerals because some Covid-19 cases stemmed from funerals.

"While we appreciate that people wear masks, we are concerned about what happens in the days leading to funeral services where there is a lot of cooking. In the culinary space, there is a lot items that exchange hands amongst people preparing food and slaughtering. This, together with food distribution during funeral services, is favourable to infections. We would [like] to find a mechanism that will reduce this risk."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 3087 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 2887 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 318 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo