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Beach ban: Watersports only allowed for 'recognised sporting bodies' - law prof

8 January 2021 10:11 AM
Tags:
Police Station
Sunset beach
watersports
beach ban
adjusted level 3
beach arrest
lawyers letter
Professor Elmien du Plessis

A law professor has responded to a supposed 'grey area' in the new Level 3 rules after an attorney sent a letter to a local police station.

Professor Elmien Du Plessis says watersports are only permitted for recognised sporting bodies under the adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations.

This means that ordinary watersport enthusiasts are not allowed to engage in any beach activity.

RELATED: Two kite surfers arrested on Blouberg Beach but locals are 'generally compliant'

Prof Du Plessis has clarified the rules to CapeTalk after a lawyer sent a letter to the Milnerton police station questioning their enforcement of the beach ban on Sunset Beach.

In the letter addressed to the SAPS station commander, the attorney says sporting activities like windsurfing and kitesurfing are allowed under the enhanced Level 3.

Prof Du Plessis explains that it is only applicable to members of recognised sporting bodies.

RELATED: 'It's an emotive issue' - Pictures of Plett beach arrests cause a stir online

In the letter, the attorney also asserts that members of the public may continue with all activities in the sea.

However, Prof Du Plessis is of the legal opinion that the same principles apply to the sea and the beach.

Beach arrests questioned

At the same time, Prof Du Plessis has questioned the arrest of some beach-goers under the current regulations.

Although the beaches are closed under the regulations, it is not a criminal offence to be on the beach. Therefore, the legality of the beach arrests can be challenged.

On this point, Prof Du Plessis and the attorney seem to agree.

Being on the beach is not an offence in terms of the regulations...I'm not clear in terms of what regulations they were arrested. You can be asked to leave, and the regulations can be enforced but it is not an offence to be on the beach.

Prof Elmien Du Plessis, Associate Professor of Law - North West University

It's not totally correct what the attorney says there [in the letter].

Prof Elmien Du Plessis, Associate Professor of Law - North West University

The regulation says "sporting activities by recognised sporting bodies are allowed"... I think the government does it this way so they can hold the sporting bodies accountable on ensuring that people follow the [Covid-19 health and safety] regulations, like mask-wearing and social distancing.

Prof Elmien Du Plessis, Associate Professor of Law - North West University

If you are a professional surfer or windsurfer and you belong to a windsurfing or kitesurfing body that's officially recognised, then you might be allowed to do these activities... but I don't think that this is what we are taking about here.

Prof Elmien Du Plessis, Associate Professor of Law - North West University

If you look at what these regulations are trying to do, they're trying to ensure that people don't congregate on beaches or get together... and then spread Covid-19 on beaches.

Prof Elmien Du Plessis, Associate Professor of Law - North West University

One would assume, if you look at the system, that it would also include that people don't go into the sea because they probably can't regulate it.

Prof Elmien Du Plessis, Associate Professor of Law - North West University

Listen to the discussion on Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto:




8 January 2021 10:11 AM
Tags:
Police Station
Sunset beach
watersports
beach ban
adjusted level 3
beach arrest
lawyers letter
Professor Elmien du Plessis

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