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Driving on SA beaches? Better have a lawyer on speed dial

2017-01-24 11:30

LOOKS FUN? Driving on SA beaches can land you in a pot of trouble. Image: iStock

Laykin Rudolph

Cape Town - In December 2016 Wheels24 ran a story on an angry father launching a rock at a car that was driving illegally on Brazil’s ‘Blue beach’.

Not only was it amusing to watch, but it also shone the spotlight on driving on South African beaches.

Though other coastal countries make provision for beach dwellers to take their off-road machines for drives along beaches, is this practice legal in SA?

The heart of the matter

According to the Regulations for the Control Use of Vehicles in the Coastal Areas as published in the Government Gazette, driving on South African beaches for recreational purposes is restricted. To drive on local beaches, drivers would need to obtain a permit. There are different permits for different purposes.

This permit can be issued to carry out a non-recreational activity in terms of a right, permit or exemption granted under a number of Acts, as under the Gazette.

WATCH: Smash! This angry dad throws huge rock at beach-driving car

For the purpose of scientific research, tourism business, to host a fishing competition, access by a person who is physically disabled, to produce an ad, film, TV programme or photo stills, access to private property if there is no other alternative, and the construction or maintenance of infrastructure authorised by a law.

After the application fee has been paid, the permit may be issued for a period of five years. The permit must be shown on every occasion that the person is driving on the coastal area.

Download the full Gazette here.

Don’t have a permit?

If a person is caught driving along the beach without a permit, any 'authorised officer' - that includes a fishery control officer, environmental management inspector and all peace officers - may arrest the person who has committed this offence. 

READ: 4x4 stranded on a beach? What the law says in SA

Within 30 days of the offence may a written notice in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, stipulating an admission of a guilt fine which shall not exceed R2500 be issued. 

Any person caught driving on the beach without a permit can be fined up to a maximum of R500 000 per vehicle per offence, or face imprisonment of no more than two years, or both.

Why throw a huge rock?

In the 'angry father' video, the driver of the white Opel Corsa decided to take a female passenger for a drive along Brazil's 'Blue beach', even though it is illegal to do so.

According to the video uploader, the vehicle was driving "dangerously close" to a family. A father took matters into his own hands to ensure his children's safety. Literally.

In a fit of rage, as the car drove towards his family, the father picked up a massive rock and hurled at the Corsa, smashing the windscreen.

A female passenger confronts the enraged father but this only angered him and he can be seen picking up debris. He brandishes what appears to be a log as a weapon and threatens the vehicle's occupants.

The vehicle however is swept up by the ocean. Guess the owner won't be driving on beaches anytime soon...

Click on the GIF below to watch the full video.



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