Allow individual water sport participants in South Africa to access the ocean.

Allow individual water sport participants in South Africa to access the ocean.

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Massimiliano Castiglia started this petition to Mr. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa (President of the Republic of South Africa) and

In brief, this is a petition for all individual water sports enthusiasts currently in South Africa to invite the Government to give us back the right to access the ocean in a disciplined manner adhering to some very simple and standard Covid-19 containment measures. Below the full letter that will be forwarded to the four Authorities indicated in the first paragraph.

(This is a continuing team effort: a heartfelt thank you to all my fellow water friends for their precious suggestions in preparing the following document and the constant help in promoting this petition). Aloha! :-)

FULL LETTER

Dear: Mr. President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa;  Mr. Nkosinathi Emmanuel 'Nathi' Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture; Mr. Alan Winde, Premier of Western Cape; Mr. Daniel Plato, Mayor of Cape Town

Following the recent decision to prohibit access to beaches in most provinces (with an exception being made for holders of a fishing permit) we as individual water sport enthusiasts (surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand up and paddle surfing, kayaking, ocean swimming, etc.) are petitioning to highlight the benefits of a healthy lifestyle on preventing the spread of Covid-19 and reducing the burden on the health system, and thus to request access to the ocean in order to continue enjoying such benefits.

The above decision by Government was understandably aimed at preventing large gatherings of people on the beaches during the festive season, given that big events with large crowds, worldwide, have resulted in multiple infections.

However, there is no evidence that preventing individual water sport participants from accessing the ocean will help reduce the spread of Covid-19; quite to the contrary, allowing people to maintain such a healthy lifestyle is a real and effective barrier to the spread of the disease as supported by much scientific literature. Following, just two of many examples:

- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7366884/   -   Do the benefits of exercise in indoor and outdoor environments during the COVID-19 pandemic outweigh the risks of infection?

- https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.201912   -   Vitamin D and COVID-19: evidence and recommendations for supplementation

Considering that people are allowed to spend time in shopping malls, casinos, museums, on busy beachfront promenades and hiking trails, in restaurants and cafés, indoor gyms, etc. etc., it is even more difficult to understand the limitations aimed at a responsible community of water sport enthusiasts. Furthermore, following the ZA Government’s decisions to open up its borders and beaches from Nov. 12, several people booked a hard-earned holiday to South Africa with the main purpose of engaging in their favourite water sport, only to see such right denied for unsustainable motives. Also, these visitors are providing much needed economic relief to the tourist sector and its employees: maids, cooks, guesthouse owners, car rental companies, etc.

In light of the above and given that our sports, due to their very nature, are performed individually in the outdoors while maintaining a safety distance that is at least several meters and often much more, we respectfully ask that our basic civil rights be reinstated as participants in said sports while adhering to the following rules of conduct:

- participants must wear masks and maintain standard social distancing in the parking lots adjacent to beach access points;

- participants are allowed to rig and de-rig their equipment in the above-mentioned parking lots, including taking the necessary time to put on a wetsuit;

- participants are allowed to cross the beach carrying their equipment from the parking lot and using the shortest route possible solely for the purpose of reaching the ocean and engaging in their sport; once their on-the-water session has been completed, they shall return to the parking lot for the purpose of taking a brief rest or de-rigging;

- no equipment shall be left on the beaches and no loitering will be allowed.

The community of water sports enthusiasts will do its best to self-regulate itself making sure that these simple common-sense rules are adhered to by all, thus relieving the Authorities from any unnecessary use of their precious human resources.

Understanding the challenges that any government faces in trying to deal with the Covid-19 crisis efficiently and in a fair manner, and in full appreciation of how the South African government has been performing quite well throughout this period, we remain confident that the right decision will be made to allow a responsible use of the ocean in observance of the above rules and/or of any other reasonable recommendations you may have.

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!