Monday, June 1, 2020

Opening of reserves, conservation areas, parks and beaches under Level 3 remains uncertain

Where can we go (legally) under Level 3 in Cape Town?

There seems to be a misunderstanding by the Executive Mayor of what the Regulations say. 

While beaches and parks are closed and can only be opened if the Alert Level 3 regulations are changed, the question still remains in relation to Nature Reserves.

Werkmans Attorneys' Shane Krige says that the Media Statement fails to take into account the exception contained in Regulation 39(2)(g).   Regulation 39(2)(g) contains a specific exception that states that Nature Reserves are open for "such facilities and activities as envisaged in sub-regulation (3)." Sub-regulation 39(3) refers to "private self-drive excursion activities". 

In other words, Nature Reserves are open for activities that can be conducted as self-drive excursions. 
On 30 May 2020, the Minister of Tourism confirmed that certain National Parks would be open for such activities and SANPARKS opened certain of the parks on 1 June 2020 as a result.

"The opening of Table Mountain National Park this morning is indeed in accordance with the Regulations (Regulation 39(2)(g) read with Regulation 39(3))" says Krige. Activities that can be conducted safely by private individuals without guides are being allowed in Table Mountain National Park in accordance with these Regulations.

"Please allow public access to Open Spaces," alderman Dan Plato.
The City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato, appealed to the Minister to amend the regulations and to allow the public to access these open spaces. However, he has not received any feedback as yet from the National Government and as such, the reserves and parks and beaches within the City of Cape Town’s boundaries remain closed until further notice and until such time as the regulations have been amended.

Beaches and parks do remain closed under Regulation 39(2)(m) and there is no exception to this rule. It is therefore correct that the Regulations would need to be amended to open the beaches, but no such amendment is required to open Table Bay Nature Reserve. Krige further comments "Our reading of the Regulations is that the Table Bay Nature Reserve, which was never officially closed, is, in fact, open as the Executive Mayor wishes it to be."