The Mail and Guardian today (7 Sept 09) revealed the hypocrisy surrounding COSATU's investment via its investment company - Kopano Ke Matla - in the Spanish backed fishing company called Offshore Fishing (Pty) Ltd. Feike has taken a closer look at Offshore Fishing's application for long term fishing rights that was submitted in 2005, having held a valuable hake deep sea trawl fishing quota between 2001 and 2005. One would assume that as Offshore Fishing was significantly owned by COSATU, worker rights and issues affecting workers would be its strong points. Wrong! The following are some highlights (or rather low points) of the Offshore Fishing application:
- Offshore Fishing failed to comply with the Employment Equity Act of 1998 despite being a designated employer! In other words, while they were benefiting from a government largesse, they were guilty of breaching an important law like the EEA. So, Mr Manyi its not just racist white companies that do not comply with the EEA. Now that Mr Manyi is the DG of Labour, we will monitor whether Offshore is served with a compliance notice under the EEA.
- Offshore Fishing created a total of 2 jobs with their entire quota or approximately 0,0002 jobs per ton allocated! The industry average for example was 8.9 jobs per ton allocated.
- Offshore Fishing failed to spend a single rand on employee training. The industry spent an average of 0.75% of payroll.
- Offshore Fishing failed to contribute a single rand to corporate social investment. Forty one of Offshore Fishing's competitors contributed to CSI.
- Offshore Fishing failed to contribute to enterprise development.
- Offshore Fishing failed to comply with the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), which aims to protect workers' financial interests in the case of workplace injuries.
- Offshore Fishing failed to contribute a single rand to employee medical aid or pension plans.
- Offshore Fishing failed to submit a workplace skills plan as required under the Skills Development Act and also failed to submit a workplace training report.
- In 2004 (the year before the 2005 application process), they effectively outsourced their harvesting, processing and marketing to a Steven Kruger. This is ordinarily an indication of a paper quota which is a breach of the Marine Living Resources Act.
- Offshore Fishing scored a total of 2.5 points for investment (out of a maximum of 22.5 points) and scored the 3rd lowest overall score of the successful applicants.
So COSATU, the apparent workers' vanguard, failed to ensure that Offshore Fishing complied with the Employment Equity Act, the Skills Development Act and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act! They also failed to ensure that their staff were provided with medical aid and pension plans. And they established a formal relationship with a known convicted poacher. Talk about people living in glass houses.
I reckon COSATU has given up its right to speak out against any other entity in the fishing industry as I cannot recall another entity in the deep sea trawl sector that faired so poorly on worker rights criteria and compliance with laws. If one analyses Offshore Fishing's score, they were allocated a hake deep sea trawl fishing right until 31 December 2009 almost exclusively because of their black ownership and management profile and despite the non-compliance with a range of laws and its failure to create a significant number of jobs and invest in the industry. Tragic.