The City of Cape Town is joining the call to reopen beaches, parks and reserves following the announcement of new regulations applicable to Level 3 lockdown.
Newly gazetted regulations now allow the public to exercise outdoors between 6am and 6pm. Unfortunately, section 39, Clauses (g) and (m) of the regulations state that all public reserves, beaches and public parks remain closed to the public.
“As the Mayor of Cape Town, I have heard the calls from our residents to open these recreational areas to the public. Given the vastness of these spaces, it is easy for visitors to practice physical distancing while exercising in nature. As such, I am now escalating these calls to the National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,” said Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.
We have seen reports in the media about how the South African Police Service (SAPS) have made wrongful arrests of a number of residents, across South Africa, during exercise hours at or near beaches. I believe that opening these spaces would allow the SAPS officers to focus on important and urgent matters, and not be burdened by enforcing regulations that have been challenging to interpret for both SAPS officers and residents,” adds Plato.
Plato also commended Capetonians for acting responsibly during this time and observing strict exercise hours despite the inconvenience involved, including limited space and how dark it is in Cape Town during the exercise window. He assured locals that he is moving to appeal to government to change these regulations and allow Capetonians back in the water, on the beach and out in nature.
“I have today written to Minister Dlamini-Zuma calling on her to please consider revising section 39 to allow for the opening of parks, beaches and reserves so that the public can exercise in nature, and practice social distancing, while observing the national lockdown,” he concluded.