SA’s January lockdown blues

Kabelo Tlhabanelo

It’s a very bad case of January lockdown blues across South Africa. 

On the southern Cape beaches, the army has been sent in to help police enforce the beach lockdown, with 40 soldiers sent to Hartenbos and Sedgefield. 

A spokesman for the Garden Route District Municipality said the police needed help as 350 officers are in isolation and close to 800 SAPS members in Covid quarantine. 

Doctors have questioned the logic of the beach ban, considering it’s generally an open, windy space. So the army clampdown could be seen as unnecessarily heavy handed. Further west, one police van got stuck in the sand patrolling Sunset beach in Cape Town.

Meanwhile, the closure of roads heading to the waterfalls in Botshabelo, Free State has angered residents. The municipality has dug holes in the access roads so cars can’t pass.

Residents say they know about the beach ban, but saw no mention in the rules about waterfalls. The  local municipality now says both indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited.

Mosa Molateli told Scrolla.Africa: “we know alcohol and beaches have been closed. The president never said anything about the waterfalls. This is the place where I used to come and relax with my friends.

“We don’t have many entertainment places in Botshabelo and we … like waterfalls. It is so refreshing and reduces stress levels regarding the pandemic itself.

But another resident, Tsietsi Rasechaba, said he was worried that people at the waterfalls were not wearing masks, suggesting that maybe the municipality had a point.

“I love fun and I was happy with the place. But I think social media with photos showing us there might have been the cause of the closure. Check Facebook, you will never see anyone wearing a mask. You won’t see social distancing practiced. 

“We should blame ourselves for the end of the waterfall era. I want it opened again but I also want us to survive through the Covid-19 pandemic. Life is more important than anything else,” said Tsietsi.

Video source: @sevexity