WATCH | Beaches 'off limits' but not parking lots after police pounce in Jeffreys Bay
Kouga municipality mayor Horatio Hendricks has warned residents and visitors, until the outcome of a court challenge, not to set foot on a 60km stretch of pristine beaches after police arrested a man in Jeffreys Bay.
Johan Rossouw posted video footage on Facebook of a police contingent who told him on Saturday it was not only beaches that had been closed under revised lockdown regulations along the Garden Route.
“Can you understand the parks is also closed,” he was told during a verbal exchange in a parking lot that ended in his arrest.
Rossouw told HeraldLIVE his teenage son recorded the incident.
He shared photographs of a written notice to appear in court or pay a R2,000 admission of guilt fine for contravening lockdown regulations, and another notice to appear in court or pay a R1,000 admission of guilt fine for interfering with police.
On Sunday, Hendricks said: “We have engaged with the Jeffreys Bay police for clarity about what places they consider closed or open to the public in terms of the amended Covid-19 regulations.
"This follows the police operation in Jeffreys Bay [on Saturday] during which residents and visitors were dispersed from not only beaches and public parks, but also from lagoons and parking areas.”
Subsequent to that meeting, his advice was:
- the entire 60km stretch of pristine beaches along Kouga's coastline are closed until January 3 2021 in accordance with the national regulations;
- public parks are also closed until January 3 2021. Notices are being put up at those parks closed in terms of the national regulations. Anyone caught defacing the notices will be issued with a fine;
- parking areas are not closed; and
- lagoons and rivers are open, but they may not be accessed through public parks, as would typically be the case at Kabeljous and Paradise.
“While Kouga will be opposing these harsh regulations in court, we have no choice but to adhere to them. Residents and visitors are further advised that police officers are fully empowered by the minister of police to enforce the regulations and to issue fines. They do not take instructions from me or the municipality.”
The municipality falls within a coronavirus hotspot area which has seen a sharp increase in Covid-19 infections. In response to the hotspot areas, government declared all beaches on the Garden Route and in the Eastern Cape closed from December 16 to January 3.
The municipality has joined other groups in mounting a legal challenge to the beach ban, arguing among other things that it would have a devastating effect on the local economy and jobs.
Parks affected by closures in the municipality include:
- Kabeljous, Tecoma, Supertubes (where the recycling penguins used to be located), Pagoda, Pellsrus, Paradise lagoon park and Dawnview in Jeffreys Bay;
- KwaNomzamo Park in Humansdorp;
- Shore Road 1 and Granny's Pool in St Francis Bay;
- Seal Point in Cape St Francis; and
- Yellowwoods, Patensie Park and Gamtoos Mouth Park in the Gamtoos area.