Water sports enthusiasts in Cape Town are calling on the government to allow them back in the water as South Africa moves to Level 3 on June 1.
A petition started on May 28, urging the government to allow water sports under Level 3 restrictions, is quickly gaining public support. To date, the petition has garnered over 3000 signatures and counting.
While Capetonians are particularly missing their time spent in the ocean, South Africa as a whole is feeling the separation too. The country is known as one of the most successful water sporting communities globally. Many champions of surf skiing, surfing, body boarding and marathon canoeing call South Africa home, including Olympic medalists in rowing and swimming.
Under Level 3 regulations, residents will be able to exercise between 6am and 6pm. Many expected the government to allow water sports again but were disappointed at the news that it will not be permitted under Level 3.
According to the petition, recreational water activities make up a large portion of exercise in a number of different provinces around the country. Many of these are largely non-contact and low risk for COVID-19 infection, leading many to question why they are not permitted.
“When compared to current permitted exercise, namely, running, walking and cycling, by far cycling is a larger drain on medical resources and serious injuries requiring intervention from ambulances, hospital beds etc. Apart from the closure of beaches and parks to stop people congregating, there appears no reason why people will not be able to exercise in water parallel to parks and beaches,” reads the petition.
The petition also questions the logic behind allowing stores which specialise in the sale of water sport equipment to trade under Level 3, when their customers won’t be able to utilise their products.
Frances Lombard, who created the petition, says many positive things can come from allowing these activities again and appeals to Honourable Nkosinathi Emmanuel ‘Nathi’ Mthethwa to consider the plea of water sports enthusiasts across the country.
“It appears that as the Minister, the power is in your hands to open up these activities. We ask you to kindly consider it,” says Lombard.