The much discussed question of whether a person may walk for exercise or walk his dog in privately owned security estates


The much discussed question of whether a person may walk for exercise or walk his dog in privately owned security estates

In certain estates, the roads and public/communal open spaces are owned by the body corporate or home owner’s association. This has caused great confusion in certain estates, as pursuant thereto, it was deemed due to the fact that the private open spaces are in deed that, a private open space, that residents of the estate may use that space for walking, jogging, exercising, or any recreational activities.

Community Schemes Ombus Service (known as “CSOS”), is the governing body established in terms of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act, 2011 (Act No 9 of 2011) to regulate the conduct of parties within community schemes, and private estates fall within the scope of its governance.

After considering the recent circular by CSOS, it is our opinion that the walking of dogs, or merely walking or jogging not for the specific purpose of having to obtain medicine, food or an emergency essential service, is in fact, NOT ALLOWED.

Furthermore, The South African Police Service has warned residents in private security estates and complexes that the restrictions on going outside for a jog or to walk their dogs applies to them too.

Following the announcement of the lockdown, there was initial confusion over whether people would be allowed out their homes to walk the dog or get some exercise, as has been allowed in several other countries with lockdowns in effect.

Initially, the message from the Department of Health was that this “should be fine” – however, government quickly backtracked on this as it caused further confusion about the limits and restrictions during the lockdown.

To avoid all this debate, and to ensure the lockdown’s goal of limiting the movement of people and thus the spread of the coronavirus in the country, no one is allowed off their property except for the essentials, ie, getting food, medical care or medicines.

Essential workers are exempt.

However, despite the clear directive, those living in security estates and complexes have continued to make use of the private communal space for both exercise and to walk their dogs.

The SAPS has clarified that the regulations apply across the board, and called on estate and complex managers to enforce them.

“Following several enquiries about residents being able to walk or jog within their security estates/complexes. The Regulations also apply to people living within estates/complexes – meaning no walking, jogging or walking of pets within closed estates/complexes is allowed,” it said.

“All estate/complex managers must assist by ensuring that these regulations are enforced with immediate effect. The fundamental purpose of lockdown is to drastically reduce the movement of people in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Your assistance in this regard will be highly appreciated.”

It is thus clear from the “enforcers” of these government regulations, that walking, running or taking your dog for a stroll, is not allowed by anyone, whether on publicly or privately owned spaces.

The next couple of weeks are going to be tough on all of us, but adhering to the regulations in terms of the LockDown has ample benefits for the whole of our community.

Article excerpts extracted from: Business Tech