Non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations could see Western Cape beaches closed - Bheki Cele

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Monwabisi beach in Cape Town.
Monwabisi beach in Cape Town.
Lirandzu Themba. (@LirandzuThemba)
  • Non-adherence to lockdown regulation could trigger the closure of beaches in the Western Cape, Police Minister Bheki Cele warned.
  • Cele visited various Cape Town beaches on Wednesday to assess compliance.
  • The visit came as Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal beaches were bereft of holidaymakers due to lockdown regulations.

Non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations could see the closure of Western Cape beaches, Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned.

Cele visited beaches in Cape Town on Wednesday to ensure beachgoers were adhering to Covid-19 regulations. He visited Strand, Macassar, Monwabisi, Mnandi, Strandfontein, Muizenberg, Camps Bay, Clifton and Big Bay beaches.

Accompanied by police management, Cele's day-long visit to various beaches included the inspection of operational deployments as well as the assessment of adherence to lockdown regulations.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday the closure of certain beaches and public parks over the festive season due to Covid-19. The closure applied to all beaches in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route, while, in KwaZulu-Natal, beaches would be closed on what are "traditionally the busiest days of the season".

Wednesday marked the first day of closures for KwaZulu-Natal beaches.

Provincial MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liason Bheki Ntuli and EThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda led a walkabout in Durban. 

Kaunda has confirmed that the promenade is open for jogging, cycling and walking, but cautioned that the public should  adhere to lockdown regulations.

KwaZulu-Natal ministry of transport spokesperson Gugu Sisilana confirmed low levels of activity at beaches.

"We've got quite a few people at hawkers and informal traders, as well as people jogging and walking, but there is absolutely no one swimming," she said.

Eastern Cape beaches were empty of holidaymakers on Wednesday.

"All beaches in the Eastern Cape are quiet. We thank our people for heeding the call. The focus is going to be in the taverns," said Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, spokesperson to Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Cele added that while the Eastern Cape had requested a blanket closure of beaches and KwaZulu-Natal had opted for beach closures on the busiest days, the Western Cape had opted to keep beaches open.

"It's very clear and everybody knows, should there be non-adherence and non-compliance to the rules, the [option] will be there to close or partially close the beaches where there is no compliance," Cele said during the inspections.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith previously told News24 that limiting movement on beaches would be extremely difficult to enforce across the city's 309km of coastline.

Instead, the City of Cape Town would aim to encourage social distancing and reduce the number of beachgoers. Smith added that Cape Town's beaches differed from those in other provinces with more "compacted" coastlines where beach areas were shorter and easier to regulate.

Premier Alan Winde told News24 that beaches fell under a municipal mandate. This meant each municipality would decide how to manage their beaches this festive season.

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