Last month, police used water cannons on disabled people at SASSA’s Bellville offices to get them to physically distance. What a stark contrast from the way they handled protesters calling at the weekend for the lifting of the beach ban.
This past Saturday and Sunday, the beach protesters, many not wearing masks or physically distancing, ignored the lockdown closure of beaches as police stood and watched.
SAPS and law enforcement officers might just as well have helped the protesters build sandcastles, rub suntan lotion on their backs and enjoy soft-serve ice creams because by the end of the weekend they had only managed to issue two fines and a warning, despite flagrant breaches of the Disaster Management Act happening right in front of them.
Their failure to act against the protesters not only sends a signal to others that lockdown regulations are really more like suggestions, it also bolsters accusations that the way the police enforce the law has a lot to do with the colour of your skin and whether you look like you can afford a lawyer.
The myopia of those viewing Cape Town from inside their Zorb ball of privilege can be quite astounding: they will call poor communities breeding grounds for the virus and demand that taxis be banned, while breathing over each other in restaurants and planes and on the beach.
The double standard is clear for all to see, but denialists believe we’re on a level playing field. This past weekend’s events show we have a long way to go. Until everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, we’ll continue to be a city divided.