Thursday, February 4, 2010

R500 for Lobster Permit!

MCM want recreational lobster fishers to pay R500 for an annual lobster fishing permit! When the 10-year long commercial lobster rights were allocated, the fee was R400! MCM want recreational fishers to pay more for an annual permit than the commercial fishers paid for a 10 year right!

The fee increases proposed by MCM range from 233% to 488% for recreational lobster permits. All of a sudden, Eskom's fee requests look reasonable! South Africa's official inflation rate has just breached the 6% upper level and most businesses (especially small ones that create the most jobs) are still struggling to keep people on the pay-roll. The Cape Times reports this morning that the proposed recreational fishing permit and boat licence fees will certainly result in a sharp decline in permit sales which will hurt the local SCUBA, boating and fishing businesses.

The proposed fee increases confirm an Eskom type crisis at MCM as it belatedly scrambles to raise money squandered by Mayekiso's band of inept managers on business class travel, hundreds of unnecessary jaunts to Pretoria for outcome-averse management meetings, expensive workshops and wasteful Christmas parties. More so, the fee increases are meant to fund Mayekiso's proposed new branch at environmental affairs - it will be cheaper to fire this man that is responsible for the repeated collapse of fisheries governance in this country, and who was found to have squandered millions of rands in 1999 and is again accused of siphoning off millions (see story below). Why is the department of environmental affairs so desperate to keep a man who has proved himself to be such a liability?

The proposed fee increases also indicate an MCM that is so out of touch with reality that it boggles the mind. The Minister of Environmental Affairs - who issued these proposed fee increases - is supposed to be an ANC minister in an ANC government apparently deeply concerned about rising inequality, poverty and unemployment. These fee increases will greatly support increases in all three categories. Is the Minister aware of the consequences of her proposed fee increases.

Do her foolish officials not know that, for example, the very poorest rural families purchase east coast and west coast rock lobster fishing permits each season to harvest lobsters to supplement their meagre incomes and government grants, paying for uniforms, bread and taxi fare to get to remote clinics or schools. And now MCM want to increase these fees by 488%! The same applies to the outrageous increases proposed for linefish, bait, crab and net permits. These proposed fee increases are immoral and a breach of this country's commitments to reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment, especially in rural coastal communities.

Let us hope that the Minister Finance has more capable advisers and refuses environmental affairs' request to implement the proposed fee increases.

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