The relaxation of certain regulations by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, gazetted yesterday, whilst welcomed by the Democratic Alliance (DA), remain illogical and not backed by any scientific data.
Late yesterday, the Minister released regulations which confirm the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa two weeks ago.
These new regulations allow for certain entertainment and social establishments such as restaurants and casinos to begin operations with strict enforcement of Covid-19 safety protocols.
Whilst these additional regulations will assist the growth of our failing economy, it still does not explain Government’s rationale for the continued closure of open public spaces such as beaches, parks and swimming areas.
To be clear, the DA has welcomed the opening of more sectors of the struggling economy in a safe manner and in accordance with correct health and safety protocols in place, and we will continue to do so. We do however question the reasoning behind the continued ban of people using spaces like beaches and parks to exercise.
In our view, the closure of open public spaces such as beaches and parks are having the opposite effect of the intended purpose. In cities such as Durban and Cape Town, thousands of residents are forced to squeeze onto the beach promenade but may not dare to set a foot in the beach for fear of prosecution.
The opening up of the beaches will assist in contributing towards better social distancing and thus provide further protection to citizens.
The same principle applies to other public open spaces such as parks and picnic sites.
During a recent Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs portfolio committee meeting, Minister Dlamini-Zuma, undertook to consult with the portfolio committee prior to the drafting of new regulations. We urge the Minister to do what is right and give consideration to these additional measures.
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