Check it out at www.noseweek.co.za
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The latest issue of Maritime Review Southern Africa (www.maritimesa.co.za) reviews the Minister of Fisheries' performance during 2011. Suffice it to say, it was woeful.
Read the latest edition of Maritime SA and the performance review on page 20 on http://maritimesa.co.za/CurrentIssue/tabid/79/Default.aspx
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Business Report (www.iol.co.za) today reports that Smit Amandla, the local subsidiary of the powerful Dutch-based multinational ship-handling group Smit, has served a notice of motion on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries seeking to interdict it from awarding a R1 billion tender to a consortium led by Sekunjalo.
This BLOG has reported extensively on this increasingly problematic and questionable tender. At the heart of the problem is a clear (to all but blinded government officials) conflict of interest where a fishing company is in charge of the fisheries patrol fleet.
In a bizarre response to the allegations of a conflict of interest is Sekunjalo's (and one assumes government's) bottom-of the-barrel-scraping defence that -
“When they are on patrol the vessels are commanded by government inspectors who are appointed by the department. The crew and the skipper have no idea where the vessel will patrol until they are out at sea and given the GPS co-ordinates by the inspector. And once they are out at sea no one is allowed to communicate,”
The stupidity and outright deceit of such a statement should be criminal!
Lie 1: The patrol vessels are "commanded" by fishery control officers. As the former chief director of compliance, I can assure you a fishery control officer is neither allowed to nor authorised under our maritime laws to command a vessel. The skipper and the officers are in charge of the vessel. This statement is akin to stating that a police officer on board an airplane is the commander of that aircraft!
Lie 2: The crew and skipper have no idea where the vessel will patrol until they are out at sea! This statement is so outrageous I could not believe it was uttered as a defence! This statement merely aggravates the stupidity of the decision to allocate the tender to Sekunjalo. Picture it, a blind-folded skipper and crew get on the vessel, not knowing where on earth they are going! Who decided on the fuel; the food; the budget for the trip? Did the fisheries control officers who are also "commanding the vessels" also fill up the tanks; buy the food; load the stores!
Lie 3: And once out at sea, no is allowed to communicate! What absolute crap! Why do the vessels have state of the art communication systems? Is this lot actually from Planet Earth?
So, if the FCO's are in fact "commanding the vessel", responsible for deployment, bunkers, stores and all else, what the hell are we paying Sekunjalo R800 million for? Will they just wash the vessels?
Sunday, December 4, 2011
This is a statement issued by the Democratic Alliance's Deputy Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on 4 December 2011.
Reports today indicate that a politically-linked company has been awarded a nearly R1 billion tender by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s department.
The tender recipient, Sekunjalo Investments, will be responsible for managing the country’s fishing patrol fleet. The fleet is responsible for research, inspections of fishing trawlers and anti-poaching patrols.
I will be submitting an application, under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), to access all documentation relating to Sekunjalo Investments’ bid.
Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s department must provide the public with all information relevant to this tender process to explain why Sekunjalo was selected as the preferred bidder.
In awarding this tender, the Department is spending almost R1 billion of state funds. The South African people have a right to know that their money is being spent responsibly.
The selection of Sekunjalo Investments as the recipient of this tender is an interesting decision, given the following:
• Its links to cabinet members: Premier Fishing, a subsidiary of Sekunjalo Investments, reportedly paid a R100 000 private security bill belonging to Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s cabinet colleague, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane failed to declare this payment to Parliament;
• Its chairman’s political connections: Sekunjalo’s Chairman, Iqbal Survé, is a regular member of official business delegations accompanying President Jacob Zuma and other government leaders on overseas state visits; and
• Its role as player and referee: Industry stakeholders are reportedly shocked at the decision to award the major fishing company a tender to police our fishing industry. They have raised concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest, given that Sekunjalo will now be both a “player” in the fishing industry, and a “referee”.
The DA wants to know:
• Why Sekunjalo was selected as the preferred bidder;
• Why Minister Joemat-Pettersson last week reportedly announced that Sekunjalo had won the tender, without the full tender process having been completed;
• What the “control measures” are that the Department has said it will put in place to prevent any conflict of interest arising from Sekunjalo’s role as “player” and “referee”;
• What steps the Department took to address the concerns reportedly raised by the tender committee about any potential conflict of interest.
In addition to submitting a PAIA application, I will also be writing to the Chair of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Portfolio Committee to ask that Minister Joemat-Pettersson appears before the committee at the beginning of next year to answer these questions.
The South African public deserve to know that public money is being spent responsibly, and that it is their best interests, not those of politically connected businesspeople, which are government’s top priority.
Deetlefs du Toit MP
Shadow Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
082 471 0465
DA Media Officer
072 226 9759
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Something fishy in R1bn patrol tender
BOBBY JORDAN | 04 December, 2011
See www.timeslive.co.za for the full story.
A POLITICALLY connected consortium which owns one of the country's biggest fishing companies has secured a nearly R1-billion tender to police South Africa's fishing industry at sea.
Top empowerment firm Sekunjalo Investments heads the consortium.
This has triggered concerns that the company is set to become both player and referee in the policing of the country's R2-billion-a-year fishing industry.
Sekunjalo owns a majority stake in Premier Fishing, which is active in several fisheries including rock lobster, anchovies, pilchard, hake and squid.
A senior industry source said giving a fishing company influence over the country's patrol fleet was a case of "the wolf guarding the hen house".
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Feike BLOG has brought you many a breaking news story and analyses of issues affecting the South African fishing industry.
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Timeslive.co.za reports today (27 November 2011) that ANC member of the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Salam Abram, stated that the department is in "shambles". Timeslive reports as follows:
"Joematt-Pettersson, who has been in the spotlight over her hotel bills and travels, has also been criticised by an ANC MP serving on the agriculture, forestry and fisheries portfolio committee, who described the department as a "shambles"."It is common knowledge that the department is in shambles, it is very far from carrying out what it is supposed to do. It is not visible on the ground. They come with beautiful slides and put them on the screen, but when it comes to oversight, you see very little of what they do," said Salam Abram.[Selby] Bokaba (the Minister's spokesperson) refused to comment on Abram's claims."
Our political environment is so polluted by corruption, maladministration and mind-numbing levels of incompetence that when we hear about a fishing company (and its holding company) being awarded an R800m tender to essentially manage South Africa's entire fleet of fishery patrol and research vessels and then also exposed for paying for the personal security costs of a senior ANC minister's home in the northern Limpopo province, questions just keep popping up.
Firstly, with respect to the fisheries research and patrol tenders. How is it possible for a fishing company to be responsible for the management and maintenance of patrol and research vessels. Its akin to insider trading; the fox looking after the henhouse; essentially, Premier fishing will know where and when patrol vessels are to be deployed and may even be able to influence deployment strategies whether directly or indirectly. To deny this, is to deny the earth is round or that man landed on the moon.
Regardless of how one looks at it, there is a reason why there is no comparable example of a fishing company being charged with managing a fleet of fisheries enforcement and research vessels.
Questions that need answering are:
1. Who were the other bidders?
2. What were scores of each of the bidding companies?
3. What were the evaluation criteria?
4. What were the financial proposals of each of the bidding companies?
5. Who constituted the tender evaluation committee? A copy of their actual recommendation report should be made public.
Secondly, Premier Fishing's sponsorship of security costs for the Minister of International Relation's private home in the northern Limpopo Province can at best be described as questionable. There is no doubt that when a commercial entity decides to sponsor an event or cause, it does so either because the event or cause is linked to its business strategy (and will result in exposure and therefore increased profits) or the cause is worthy of commercial investment. So what is the benefit for Premier to foot the personal security bill for an ANC Minister?
Saturday, November 26, 2011
The Mail and Guardian reports the following very strange story about Premier Fishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sekunjalo who was just awarded an R800m contract by the Department of Fisheries. Why is Premier Fishing paying for the security of the Minister of International Relations?
International Relations Minister failed to declare a R100 000 benefit.
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has not declared to Parliament a R100 000 payment for around-the-clock private security at her private residence in Polokwane.
Cape Town-based Premier Fishing picked up Nkoana-Mashabane's R8 655-a-month security tab for 12 months in 2010-2011.
Premier Fishing is a subsidiary of JSE-listed Sekunjalo Investments.
Its executive chairperson, Iqbal Survé, has travelled overseas with the official business delegation accompanying President Jacob Zuma, Nkoana-Mashabane and other ministers on state visits and other government business. Survé is also a director of Premier Fishing.
The benefit is absent from the minister's declaration of interests released by Parliament's registrar of members' interests last week.
Nkoana-Mashabane, through spokesperson Clayson Monyela, said that her brother, Harry Nkoana, was the "caretaker" of the property and that she was obliged to declare only benefits accruing to herself and her children. She referred all further questions to her brother.
For the full story, see http://amabhungane.co.za/article/2011-11-25-tycoon-pays-for-ministers-guards
Friday, November 25, 2011
Published to www.bday.co.za on 25 November 2011.
BLACK-empowered Sekunjalo Investments has won a five-year, R800m government contract it says will improve profitability and broad-based participation in SA’s maritime sector.
Sekunjalo led a consortium including ship-builder KND to maintain eight state-owned research and patrol vessels, including the Algoa, the Ellen Khuzwayo and the Sarah Baartman.
The contract, awarded by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is expected to accelerate broad-based participation in Cape Town’s highly concentrated maritime industry.
Sekunjalo said yesterday the contract would significantly improve the group’s profitability and cash flow through subsidiary Sekunjalo Industrial.
Sekunjalo CEO Khalid Abdulla said the unit was one of the only black-owned companies in Africa with the technical and engineering expertise to manage a contract of this magnitude.
"Today, Sekunjalo not only manages technical maintenance of its own fleet, but conducts maintenance and provides technical services to vessels from around the world," he said.
Sekunjalo chairman Iqbal Survé said the deal would accelerate enterprise development and skills transfer in SA’s maritime industry. "Our goal is to provide as many job opportunities through this deal as possible," he said.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the contract was the first of its kind awarded to a black-owned company.
"I am confident that Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings has the requisite skills and capabilities to fulfil this contract based on its fleet management experience, and its experience in managing maintenance projects on international vessels," she said.
The company last week came under fire from some of its shareholders after it announced it would sue two former executives for R65m for losses relating to major subsidiary Premier Fishing, which accounts for about half of group revenue.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It has been confirmed that the Oceana Group Ltd has agreed to purchase all assets and interests held by the Lusitania Fishing group. The purchase will mean that Oceana will gain control over substantial additional hake, horse mackerel and South Coast rock lobster fishing interests.
The purchase would increase Oceana's interest in the hake industry from 1.1% to 4.4%, in horse mackerel from 18.8% to 22.8%, in south coast lobster from 3.1% to 22.6% and increase the commercial cold storage capacity of the group by 4.1%.
The purchase is subject to obtaining regulatory approval from the Minister of Fisheries under section 21 of the Marine Living Resources Act and Competition Commission approval. Oceana anticipates that the transaction would be effective from 1 March 2012.
See www.oceana.co.za for more.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Today we face the prospect that the African National Congress completes its slide into the very deepest and darkest depths of corruption, sleaze and moral decay. And as it "celebrates" its centenary. The Party that spearheaded the Peoples Congress at Kliptown now chooses to flatly ignore the voices of hundreds and thousands, if not millions, as it appears completely desperate to pass the Protection of State Information Bill - the Secrecy Bill. How tragic that this great African movement has morphed into the National Party, seeing the same ghosts of "foreign spies" and varying shades of "gevaar" (fear) used so well by the Apartheid regime to scare its sheepish followers into towing the party line.
Despite the ANC's protestations to the contrary, the Bill's sole aim - like the collapsing of the Scorpions - is to shield the party and its officials from their uncontrollable lust to plunder the public coffer and undermine the rule of law.
And make no mistake, it will affect each and everyone of us in a significant way. In the fisheries sector, we have already seen the programming of civil servants into secrecy and deception mode. Essentially, the Bill will allow almost any official any DAFF to decide whether a document of process is classified.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Feike has invested in the development of a dedicated blog on South African fisheries where we will provide regular but brief news updates on issues affecting the commercial fisheries sector. The blog also provides important socio-economic facts and figures on some of our major commercial and small-scale (artisinal) fishery sectors.
go to safisheries.wordpress.com
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Feike has been provided with copies of correspondence issued by the Fisheries Department threatening small-scale commercial right holders in the lobster and abalone sectors with the "termination" of their permits if these right holders do not make levy payments by 15 December 2011.
Feike wishes to confirm that this threat is unlawful and amounts to extortion.
It is most alarming that the department continues to unlawfully threaten right holders with withholding (and now “termination”) of their permits and/or section 28 Notices for failing to make levy payments despite the fact that the department continues to not issue proper and valid tax invoices to right holders.
Earlier this year, the Minister confirmed to Parliament (Question 159 of 2011) that her department has never collected any levy without a tax invoice. She was of course not telling the truth. Her department has for some time been too inefficient to issue tax invoices and instead extorts levy payment from right holders by threatening to withhold their fishing permits and now the threat is to "terminate" the poor, helpless permit.
Further, that the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998 does not make any provision for the “termination” or “withholding” of permits is of course not relevant to our fisheries civil servants.
Accordingly, (bold text) -
1. The department cannot lawfully "terminate", murder, destroy or torture any permit; and
2. If the department wants you to pay your levy, they must do what the law says they must do. They must open up Excel and compile a tax invoice which must state the following -
* the name of the right holder, together with the right holder's address and VAT number (if VAT registered);
* the precise reasons for raising the invoice (such as for the 2010/2011 abalone levy)
* the exact amount owed and how this amount is calculated (for example: 400kg x R31)
*the date by which payment must be made and the bank details into which the payment must be made.
The pictures provided below are courtesy of Mr Scott Russell, a commercial abalone diver and spokesperson for the South African Abalone Industry Association.
Attendees at the Launch
Over the course of the past few days, Feike has received requests for assistance from a number of right holders in the abalone and lobster fisheries who had attempted to uplift their annual fishing permits only to be told that levies were outstanding and levy returns were not submitted.
After Feike addressed correspondence to the department reminding them of what the legal position is regarding the "withholding" of permits and the payment of levies, right holders have been contacted to inform them their permits are now ready for collection.
One of our clients confirmed that the DAFF official who phoned him confirmed serious "shortcomings" in the administration of levy returns and levies. Although this is not news to the fishing industry, it once again confirms the parlous state of management at the fisheries branch.
Questions that need to be answered are:
1. What "administrative shortcomings" are being experienced?
2. Does the department know exactly which right holders have paid their levies and which have not?
3. What is the rand value of outstanding levies and what amounts have been collected to date?
4. Why is the department still unable to issue proper tax invoices?
5. Why does the department continue to oblige right holders to tell it what they owe the department in levies?
6. With respect to levy returns, does the department know which right holders have submitted returns and which have not?
7. Has the department lost levy returns for right holders?
Monday, November 14, 2011
The Minister of Fisheries launched 3 anti-paoching vessels on 14 November 2011 in Hermanus. The function also noted the completion of a fisheries compliance training course for a number of military veterans who are to be deployed to combat abalone poaching between Rooi-Els and Arniston.
The launch of these anti-poaching "chase" vessels and the deployment of a team of committed "military veterans" as fishery control officers has to be welcomed as a step in the right direction in battle against rampant abalone poaching in the Overberg region.
A number of right holders did however express their concerns that the "chase" vessels were not equipped for night operations and that the average poaching RIB is easily capable of speeds of in excess of 60 knots - the chase vessels have a maximum speed of 48 knots. This is however a huge improvement over the use of the inshore and offshore patrol vessels which were never intended for use in the abalone fishery.
The Minister also noted that the much maligned "military veterans" needed the cooperation of members of the local community to apprehend poachers. However, many abalone right holders will scoff at this request as right holders have too often risked their own lives to repeatedly warn the department of ongoing poaching activities (as this BLOG has noted as well) in areas such as Hout Bay, Llandadno, Buffeljags, Perly Beach, Hawston, Robben Island etc only to be ignored. Furthermore, the department does not have an effective reporting mechanism, particularly as fishery control officers do not work after 4pm and over weekends. And no right-minded quota holder would dare approach their local police station with information about poaching.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Fisheries Department has announced the new recreational lobster fishing season which will commence on 15 November 2011. The season will close on the 15th of January 2012. Thereafter, the season will open again from the 6th of April 2012 and close on the 9th of April 2012.
The following conditions for the WCRL recreational fishing season will apply:
- From the 15th of November 2011 to the 15th of January 2012, fishing will be allowed every day;
- From the 6th of April 2012 to the 9th of April 2012 fishing will also be allowed every day;
- Recreational permit-holders collecting and landing WCRL may do so only between 08h00 – 16h00. The rock lobsters must be landed by 16:00;
- The bag limit has been set at four per-person-per-day and the size restriction is 80mm carapace length. Any WCRL caught, collected or transported must be kept in a whole state;
- A maximum of 20 rock lobsters may be transported per day, on condition that all the persons who caught such rock lobster are present. Such persons should also be in possession of their recreational rock lobster permits;
- The sale of recreationally harvested lobsters is prohibited.
Permits are obtainable from the Post Office. Permits will only be issued to persons above the age of 12 years.
Monday, November 7, 2011
The Minister of Fisheries has admitted in Parliament that a staggering 590 tons of abalone was confiscated by the department of fisheries during the 2010/2011 financial year. While this admission is jaw-dropping, what is even more alarming is her further confirmation that during the same financial period, the department is recorded to have earned R11,3 million from the sale of confiscated abalone.
590 tons of abalone is conservatively valued at R185 million (@R350/kg). This valuation is however based on what right holders can earn from the sale of abalone to South African marketers who then market the product internationally for substantially higher amounts. All confiscated abalone is sold directly to buyers in Hong Kong and China and so the department should be earning substantially higher amounts than what quota holders would ordinarily earn.
The Minister's response of course raises two extremely concerning issues. The first is that the 590 ton figure is 4-times the legal quota allocated to the legal commercial abalone fishery. This places the department firmly as a serious commercial competitor to the legal commercial abalone fishery. Furthermore, based on the department's own compliance data, only some 10% of all poached abalone is confiscated. This will then mean that South Africa is actually losing anything up to 5000 tons of abalone each year to poachers.
The second concern is the significant discrepancy between the amount of abalone confiscated (590 tons) and the amount of income earned (R11,3 million), which is completely inexplicable. Could the department have sold 590 tons of abalone at R18/kg?
Feike, together with the abalone industry, has been repeatedly requesting information pertaining to the quantum of abalone confiscated, the quanta sold each year and for what amounts. Needless to say, the department has simply refused to make this information available despite it being in the public interest to know how much abalone is being confiscated, who is buying the abalone and at what prices.
Perhaps the Minister's response to Parliament could explain the motive behind her department's refusal to make the information available to the public.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Despite initial suggestions and proposed recommendations for a cut to the commercial lobster catch limits (TAC), the Minister has set the TAC for nearshore commercial (artisinal) at 451 tons (451 tons in 2010/2011) and offshore commercial at 1540,7 tons (1528 tons in 2010/2011) according to the WCRL Industry Association. The catch limit for the interim relief sector has been increased by 50 tons to 250 tons.
The TAC limits will come as a huge relief to the commercial and artisinal fisheries as they were contemplating cuts to their quotas of between 6% and 10%.
On 3 November 2011, abalone fishers will hand a second memorandum to the Minister of Fisheries who - despite promising to reply to the first memorandum handed to her officials on 13 October - has once again failed to communicate with members of the fishing industry.
The second memorandum reads as follows:
Dear Minister Tina Joemat Petterson
Unfortunately you have failed to address our URGENT memorandum of 13 October 2011. Are we to understand that you have decided to treat us with contempt?
What has happened to the concept of "People First" (Batho Pele) ?
What has happened to the promise of "a better life for all" ?
This does not mean a better life for Government officials; Ministers and Abalone poachers - while we your clients are ignored and neglected!
You are our minister - the buck stops with you - our issues require you urgent attention - we do not want your continued absence or to hear about your excessive lifestyle in luxury hotels - we want you to take action and show proper leadership.
Your Fisheries Department is ailing
We are not receiving proper service from DAFF's fisheries department! Besides the issues already raised - here are some more:
A) Your staff has unlawfully withheld information from us.
Regarding confiscated abalone for the financial year ended 31 March 2011
We still have an outstanding request for a detailed breakdown of the following:
1) The total number of abalone confiscated, as well as the respective totals a) by DAFF; b) by SAPS
2) All the reports of the forensic audit team that oversees the processing of confiscated product, confirming the quanta, size, grading and type of abalone confiscated.
3) Full details regarding each auction for the sale of confiscated abalone - including: the form; number; mass; quality and selling price.
4)The number and mass of confiscated abalone destroyed and manner of destruction.
5)The number of individual abalone & mass & form provided to SAPS/Hawks for enforcement operations.
Please see to it that this information is made available to us immediately.
B) Your staff cannot produce proper Invoices or Statements for us.
You would do well to appoint properly qualified accounting staff to rectify your faulty Invoicing and Statements.
C) Your staff still unlawfully withhold our fishing permits.
While some abalone fishers have already received their permits for the 2011/12 season others are being prejudiced by DAFF's is refusal to issue until the experimental fishing permits have first been issued. Staff are also refusing to release permits in cases where they believe levies are outstanding, because of improper invoicing this is unlawful.
- Closely supervise and evaluate your existing staff on an ongoing basis.
- Fill all vacant posts with suitably experienced and properly qualified staff who possess an aptitude for public service.
Foundation for the Protection and Management of South African Abalone
While DAFF should be properly protecting and managing our abalone resource, unfortunately this is no the case. Now such a foundation has become necessary. Abalone fishers will be involved in this foundation and it is hoped that with government assistance great progress can soon be made.
Small Scale fishing Policy
We would like to make it clear that we have not been properly consulted on this policy and how it may affect us in the future. We are however strongly opposed to community quotas.
We again request that you our Minister URGENTLY address us on each of the issues raised in our original memorandum of 13 October 2011 and also those raised above . Kindly address your written reply to email@example.com. It is our sincere hope that we will not be required to take further action, however should your reply not reach us by close of business on 10 November 2011, we will be left with little choice.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Feike has developed a database for the African Union allowing for various categories of fisheries and aquaculture experts to register their details with the AU for future tenders and consultative processes. The database has been built to be scaleable, searchable and updatable.
The database identifies various categories of experts and stakeholders involved in African fisheries and aquaculture, including RFMO's, private expert consultants, tertiary and research institutions, fish worker unions and industrial bodies.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Feike has complemented the current fishery information and statistical systems (FINSS) database by developing a series of integrated web-based fishery management modules for the Mozambique Ministry of Fisheries.
We have developed the following 3 management modules:
- Administration Module, which monitors and tracks budgets, income and expenditure within a fisheries administration department;
- Trade Module, which monitors all imports and exports by regulating the issuing of import and export licences/permits. This module is integrated to the FINSS vessel registry, species and compliance modules to enhance the ability of staff to eliminate IUU trade; and
- Aquaculture Module, which comprehensively records all data relevant to the management of small-scale and industrial-scale fish farms.
Each module can be adapted to meet client specific needs and can exist independently of each other and of FINSS itself. Because the modules are web-based tools, they can be installed, administered, updated and managed remotely.
Abalone right holders have planned a second protest at the offices of Department of Fisheries on 3 November 2011 at 10am. The right holders will deliver a second memorandum to the Minister of Fisheries.
The Minister of Fisheries has failed to respond to the memorandum handed to her officials during the first protest.
Friday, October 14, 2011
The fisheries department announced via email that the Minister has decided to set the abalone TAC at 150 tons for the 2011/2012 season - the same as for the 2010/2011 season. It is unclear whether the Minister's decision on the abalone TAC, which precedes an announcement on the lobster TAC even though the lobster season opens on 15 October 2011 for Zone A (Port Nolloth), is in response to the protest action and demands by abalone right holders yesterday (13 October). She will undoubtedly deny that this is the case.
The department has also hurriedly convened an abalone management working group for 19 October 2011 having previously postponed an initial working group meeting indefinitely.
It is understood that although many right holders in Zones E and G are pleased with the announcement, they still want the Minister to respond to the issues raised in the Memorandum handed to her Acting Deputy Director-General of Fisheries on 13 October 2011.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
On 13 October 2011 abalone right holders who are almost exclusively from Zones E and G protested against the department of fisheries and its Minister. Almost no right holders from Zones A, B, C and D - which are the zones threatened with complete closure - bothered to attend the protest. The reason for the non-attendance is unclear although one zonal representative is believed to have been in a meeting with departmental officials when he instructed another representative to inform Scott Russell of Abalone South Africa to immediately cancel the protest! Why would right holders who face a zero abalone allocation so fundamentally oppose protesting against the proposed closure of their fishing zones? Does 1 plus 1 add up to 2?
The memorandum (see article below) was handed over to the Acting DDG of the fisheries department, Mr Wickness Rooifontein. The Minister continues to be the most absent minister in the history of fisheries management!
Below are some pictures of the protest, the protestors and their colourful placards.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
MEMORANDUM BY COMMERCIAL ABALONE FISHERS
TO THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE FORESTRY & FISHERIES: 13 OCT 2011
We are legal and law-abiding commercial abalone fishers who have been completely ignored by you and your officials at the Department of Fisheries. Even though you were appointed as the Minister of Fisheries in June 2009, you have NEVER EVER met with the abalone industry; consulted with us regarding compliance, management or recovery of abalone stocks. You and your department have completely forsaken our social and economic well-being.
This memorandum raises only our most critical concerns and we demand that as the Minister responsible for fisheries, you now finally take responsibility for implementing measures to address these concerns.
DAFF STILL BENEFITS IMMORALLY FROM POACHING
Your department (DAFF) continues to rely on the sale of confiscated abalone to fund a substantial part of its operational budget. This is extremely immoral IF NOT illegal. It is a fact that it is in DAFF’S financial interests to ensure that large scale poaching continues and more and more product is stolen and then confiscated so that DAFF can sell the poached product for PROFIT.
It is a shocking fact that the legal abalone fishery must compete with DAFF for buyers especially since DAFF continues to sell sub-standard product at substantial discounts to export markets. This is ruining BRAND SOUTH AFRICA and the ability of law-abiding abalone right holders to earn a living and to continue to provide employment.
We demand that:
• DAFF's financial interest in poaching be terminated immediately!
• Confiscated abalone be made available to the legal abalone rightsholders so that it can benefit the industry that rightfully should have harvested it (if DAFF had done their job and protected it from poaching in the first place)
COMPLIANCE IN COLLAPSE
One of the key “conditions” imposed by Cabinet for the re-opening of the commercial abalone fishery was the reduction in poaching levels and improved compliance. Yet, the Chief Directorate: MCS is in a state of implosion and does not even have a permanent head of MCS. Your own officials have admitted in a recent (January 2011) publication that the department has no compliance strategy in place to protect abalone.
• Despite numerous regular “tip-offs” provided by abalone divers and members of the public of day-light poaching in areas such as Llandadno, Hout Bay, Buffels Bay, Perly Beach etc, your officials have NEVER responded effectively to any complaints.
• The so-called Overberg abalone “hotline” is never answered and just rings. It serves no point at all.
• Due to the mismanagement of the Marine Living Resources Fund, your department no longer has the budget required to implement a compliance strategy. Despite requests for access to the Compliance budget, we have still not been provided with this.
• Fishery control officers are poorly trained and lack basic understanding of the law and what is required of abalone right holders under permit conditions. Proof of this is the number of prosecutions your department has lost and the number of cases prosecutors & magistrates have thrown out of court.
• Fishery control officers are not allowed to work over weekends and after 4pm! This is ludicrous in the extreme. Slipways and harbours are routinely being left un-monitored, allowing for large-scale poaching of abalone, lobsters and line fish.
• Although we regularly hear of “arrests” of poachers and syndicates (such as the 19 poachers recently arrested and the 29 arrested years ago for poaching at Robben Island), they are not prosecuted, fined the maximum of R800,000 and their assets are never confiscated. Arrest of poachers is meaningless if they simply walk free.
• The use of the environmental protection vessels is a waste of time and money. They were not designed for inshore patrolling. They are huge, costly and too slow to stop abalone poachers who use high-speed RIBS.
• The continued use of the “military vets” for compliance is an embarrassment and smacks of nothing more than cadre deployment. They are shockingly trained and lack basic knowledge about abalone enforcement strategy and monitoring. We are not aware of a single case where they have apprehended poachers or stopped poaching.
We demand that you and your staff urgently engage with abalone right holders to immediately develop an effective multi-faceted compliance strategy. We want –
• the Green Courts back;
• effective monitoring and surveillance of hot-spot areas and slip ways;
• the deployment of high-speed rubber ducks to combat sea-based poaching;
• to work with well-trained and competent FCO’s to reduce poaching.
ABALONE RESEARCH? WHAT RESEARCH?
Has your researchers provided you with comprehensive research analysis and data on the non-existent abalone fishery recovery strategy?
Your researchers have NEVER undertaken any proper underwater research on abalone fishing zones such as Zones E and G. How is this possible? How can they provide you with any form of reliable and adequate data on our abalone resource?
Have you received annual data analyses on how abalone stocks are doing in protected areas such as the Betty’s Bay MPA? We assume not.
Why is industry excluded from studying any of the ‘’research reports” that inform the TAC proposals you receive. Do you get to read and study these research reports? The abalone industry has repeatedly tried to obtain access to these “secret reports”. Why are they a secret? Perhaps because they are based on such factual fallacies that they fear industry would expose?
We demand that you and your staff urgently engage with abalone right holders to immediately develop an effective abalone research and recovery strategy which should have been put in place in 2009! We want –
• to partner with your researchers to provide them with the support (including free use of our vessels as we understand they do not have the funds to hire vessels) needed to undertake proper research in EACH of the 7 fishing zones; and
• to participate in and be consulted adequately (as required by law) on the annual TAC proposals.
THE ABALONE FISHING POLICY OF 2003 IS STILL LAW: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR TURFs?
The abalone fishery is governed by the Abalone Fishery Policy of 2003 which requires abalone right holders to be allocated fish based on the TURF system.
• Why have you and your department unilaterally and unlawfully abandoned implementation of legally binding policy?
• Why are officials employed who cannot produce the proper inter area schedules and who claim that it would take months were they to attempt to do so?
• Where is the co-management of the fishery that you speak of all the time? Why is DAFF so unwilling to cooperate with the abalone fishing industry?
• Why do your officials act as obstacles to the effective management of the abalone fishery? For example, why has it taken more than 2 seasons for them to implement the East False Bay Experimental TAC?
We demand that you and your staff urgently engage with abalone right holders to immediately develop an effective management strategy which should have been put in place in 2009! We want –
• You and your officials to respect the rule of law and properly implement the Abalone Fishery policy of 2003;
• To move away from using TAC decreases as the only management mechanism as this has failed hopelessly. Why can’t we increase the TAC to displace poachers? Poachers are being allowed by your department to steal between 2000 and 3000 tons of abalone annually! Decreases in our 150 ton TAC can never help with the recovery of abalone in these circumstances!
ABALONE FISHING LEVIES
In 2003 our levy was increased 4-fold! - on the understanding that –
• The increase was temporary;
• The increase would fund the establishment of the Green Courts; and
• The increase would fund a comprehensive compliance strategy – Operation Trident.
In 2005, the Green Courts were closed and Operation Trident was terminated AND nothing replaced these. Since then however our levies have only been further increased! - while we receive nothing except incompetence and failure in return.
On 31 May 2011 we addressed an urgent letter to you regarding our objections to paying the current inequitable and unjust levy. You have failed to respond to this letter and continue to ignore our concerns and objections.
We will now withhold payments of our levies to the Marine Living Resources Fund until such time as you have the decency to reply to our letter and we can agree on a reasonable levy that is in line with levies payable in the other commercial fishery sectors.
We now require you – as the Minister – to address us on each of the issues we raised above as a matter of extreme urgency and by no later than 20 October 2011, failing which we continue to publicly protest outside your offices. Your written reply can be submitted to Abalone South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 7, 2011
A few weeks back Feike, together with the Abalone Industry Association, requested that the department of fisheries make available certain reports that were used to inform the scientific recommendations on the 2011/2012 abalone total allowable catch (TAC). The department's officials initially refused access to these documents as they were deemed "confidential". When Feike noted that as the "Secrecy Bill" was not law (yet), officials did not have a right to simply decide what is "secret" or confidential, the officials changed tack stating that application for the documents should be made under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)!
Feike then requested access to the department's PAIA Manual which, we noted was not available on the DAFF website and could not be found anywhere. Every department must have a PAIA Manual stating, amongst other things, which categories and types of information are freely available without having to adhere to the normal PAIA request for information process. We also pointed out that all TAC documents must be made available on request in terms of the General Fisheries Policy of 2005.
Our requests for the Manual were fobbed off and of course the officials pretended to not know about that policy of 2005. Then suddenly, a couple of days after we demanded access to the PAIA Manual noting that a refusal to provide the Manual constituted a criminal offence, a brand new PAIA Manual suddenly appeared on the DAFF website, specifically excluding public access to current TAC documents! How convenient!
And how incredibly dishonest! But by unjustifiably "classifying" as secret such critical documents that directly inform the how and why TAC's are set, DAFF has now in effect forced the Minister of Fisheries to first consult adequately with the abalone fishing industry (and for that matter other fishing industries) BEFORE she unilaterally publishes TAC's, especially where the TAC results in quota decreases.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
It would appear that the commercial lobster fishing sector is abuzz with corridor talk about the fact that two Gansbaai fishing companies have been allowed to harvest an offshore lobster fishing quota in the lobster closed season (1 October 2011-15 October 2011).
Feike, together with Shaun Hangone of Cape Town law firm, Von Lieres Cooper Barlow Hangone Attorneys, was appointed by Dyer Eiland Visserye and Scenematic 16 in September to urgently protect their respective commercial contractual interests involving a lobster quota they were entitled to harvest, process and market. During late August, the right holder concerned proceeded to breach certain contractual obligations and demanded that the Minister of Fisheries cancel its fishing permits which were held by Dyer Eiland and Scenematic 16. The Minister duly cancelled the permits in late August and despite efforts to convince the quota holder to respect its contractual obligations, it became clear that the quota holder was intent on double dipping by selling its quota twice!
So, off to court we went seeking an urgent interdict against the right holder. The Minister was joined as a respondent but as the matter was a commercial dispute, she agreed to abide the court's decision and agreed to "immediately issue permits" to Dyer Eiland Visserye and Scenematic 16 should the court grant the interdict. On 27 September 2011, the Western Cape High Court issued an interdict against the right holder. The application was completely unopposed as the right holder failed to oppose the application. The Minister agreed to issue permits immediately on the 27th.
By the 30th of September - the last day of the season - the Minister had still not issued the permits in terms of the court order of 27 September 2011. Accordingly, at about 3:30pm on 30 September 2011, the WC High Court heard an urgent application to hold the Minister of Fisheries in contempt of court. The court was particularly concerned with how the court order of 27 September 2011 could be given effect and the dignity of the High Court protected and thus granted Dyer Eiland Visserye and Scenematic 16 the right to harvest the lobster quota until 18 October 2011 (which is the date on which the court will hear argument on the Minister's contempt of court allegation). It is important to note that on 30 September 2011, the Court again ordered the Minister to issue permits to Dyer Eiland Visserye and Scenematic by 8am on 3 October 2011. The Minister had failed again to comply with this order and could thus be said to be in "double" contempt if such a concept exists.
If one recalls, in January 2011, this Minister narrowly escaped contempt of court charges by issuing permits to a Feike client at the very last minute. What is deeply concerning is that we are increasingly facing a Minister and a department who simply appear to be above the law. They appear committed to simply do as they wish regardless of the impact it has on commercial fishing companies and the ability to go fishing.
We of course remain committed to holding these public servants to account. The rule of law cannot be sacrificed at the alter of arrogance and incompetence.
Friday, September 16, 2011
MaritimeSA (www.maritimesa.co.za) reports a number of important industry headline news. Log onto their site for further info on the following headlines:
- Oceana converts seasonal employment to permanent jobs
- Sub-saharan trade starting to suffer from piracy
- Working for the Coast project launched
- SADC to host anti-piracy summit
- SA Navy in Zanzibar in search and rescue ops
- SA helps Tanzania after ferry capsizes
- Maritime University on the cards for South Africa
- Deputy Minister open Nautical Command Seminar
- Transnet buys new equipment for Durban Port
- Seli 1 continues to cause concern
- New truck entrance at the port of Cape Town
The fraudster and con-man known as Yusuf Achmat (Malafa Fishing CC) has been removed as a beneficiary of an interim relief lobster quota, making way for a deserving and honest fisherman who actually relies on fishing for a living.
In July, Feike was alerted to the fact that Mr Achmat's name appeared on the proposed Interim Relief List for 2011/2012. Feike addressed correspondence to the Department advising that Achmat could not qualify for an interim relief quota as he does not satisfy the department's published criteria. Feike noted, inter alia, that -
1. Mr Achmat is known to have defrauded a number of commercial fishing companies by posing as the holder/owner/authorised representative of commercial fishing rights in the lobster offshore and small pelagic fisheries. Feike provided copies of bank statements showing Achmat's receipt of funds totaling more than R200 000 and his fraudulent signature on a number of agreements.
2. Mr Achmat poses as the owner of Malafa Fishing Fishing CC (a defunct entity of which he is not a member) and fraudulently advertises that he/Malafa owns an offshore lobster commercial fishing right amounting to 15 tons.
The department advises that it had attempted to obtain Achmat's response to the allegations put forward by Feike but refused to answer his mobile phone and refused to respond to written requests to attend a meeting of the verification team. The Department has also advised that all fishery control officers have been informed that Achmat is not permitted to lawfully harvest any fish.
Monday, September 5, 2011
The South African government's Service Delivery Review publication, which aims to publicise examples of service delivery by state departments, provides an in-depth analysis of the success of broad based black economic empowerment in the South African commercial fisheries with particular reference to the hake deep sea trawl fishery.
The publication can be accessed via http://www.dpsa.gov.za/dpsa2g/documents/service_delivery_review/sdr_Vol_8_No_3_2011.pdf
Saturday, September 3, 2011
The Seli 1 leaked more oil on 3 September 2011 which washed up onto Blouberg Beach today. The smell of oil was still very pungent by 14h00 but had largely dissipated by 17h00. The City of Cape Town had cordoned off access to the beach and had largely cleaned up the beach of significant oil deposits by 17h00.
Although not a substantial spill, some sea life has been affected with the City reporting the death of 4 gulls and seals. The beach has been closed to all recreational activity.
The Seli 1 is a Turkish bulk carrier, operated by TEB Maritime of Istanbul, and was en route to Gibraltar when it was driven aground off Blouberg beach by strong westerly winds shortly after midnight on 18 September 2009, having reported engine failure and a snapped anchor chain.
The ship was carrying a cargo of 30 000 tons of coal, and 660 tonnes of heavy fuel oil with 60 tons of diesel fuel. The vessel was essentially abandoned by its insurers, the Russian P&I Pool and its owner.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
The second SAMSA Seafarer of the Year call for nominations has been published. The maritime industry will once again recognise the significant contribution made by South African seafarers when they come together in October to announce the SAMSA Seafarer of the Year. This year’s winner will be chosen from the thousands of men and women who have followed their vocation to sea. Fishermen, salvors, merchant mariners, offshore riggers, engineers, harbour pilots and rescue crew all play a major role in moving trade, harvesting resources and keeping our waters safe. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has once again stepped up to honour the commitment made by these individuals and promises to host a memorable evening on 22 October where winners will be chosen in the following categories:
- Overall SAMSA Seafarer of the Year
Having established the Centre for Seafarers in 2010 (The International Year of the Seafarer), SAMSA continued their support for this sector in 2011 when they launched the SAMSA Cadet Programme that aims to secure training berths for young South Africans keen to embark on a career at sea. Smit Amandla Marine, Grindrod Group, Business Partners and Maritime Southern Africa have all joined up to honour seafarers at this year’s function. For more information, including accessing the nomination form, please see http://maritimesa.co.za/SOYA/tabid/88/Default.aspx
Monday, August 29, 2011
Ever since the installation of Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2009, we have had a growing number of statements and questions over the levels of black ownership, empowerment and transformation in the fishing industry by members of government, including the Portfolio Committee on Fisheries. What is apparent is that the department of fisheries and the Minister simply don't know or understand the fisheries economy of this country.
The institutional meltdown at the department of fisheries has contributed greatly to the lack of any discernible information on, analysis or performance measuring of our commercial fisheries. Just consider the utter nonsense that was published as "data" from the evaluation of the Cluster C and Cluster D fisheries - and the millions of rands that was wasted on that useless and error-ridden data.
Without accurate and reliable socio-economic data it is impossible to properly regulate commercial or recreational fisheries. Feike has over the years invested substantial resources and energy into understanding the socio-economic relevance of our commercial fishery sectors. In 2008, we published an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic profiles of some of South Africa’s most important commercial fisheries. In addition, we monitor the total and individual fishery sector values on an annual basis based on the average landed values of the principal target resources.
Here are some of the more significant headline statistics on fisheries.
In 2006, the commercial fisheries landed approximately 630 000 tons of fish worth an estimated R4,4 billion. By 2010, some 745 000 tons of fish was landed worth an estimated R5,4 billion. The hake deep-sea trawl fishery has consistently been South Africa’s most important commercial fishery, accounting for 53% of the total value of the commercial fisheries. The small pelagic fishery, comprising pilchards and anchovies, has consistently been the largest fishery by volume, accounting for more than 550 000 tons of fish in 2010.
If one considers the significant level of social transformation of the commercial fisheries since 1994, it ought to serve as the benchmark of black economic empowerment and social transformation for most of our economic sectors. Whereas black ownership of the commercial fisheries was almost non-existent in 1994, with quotas divided amongst some 400 operators, by 2005 (when long term commercial fishing rights were allocated), more than 3000 fishing rights were allocated with black ownership of fisheries at 60.9%. Between 2001 and 2005, the commercial fisheries increased employment numbers from approximately 29 000 to more than 43 000.
And South Africa’s most valuable and important commercial fishery, the hake deep-sea trawl fishery, has led by example. In 1994, of the 21 quota holders, black ownership was measured at less than 0.5%. Five quota holders shared 92% of the catch allocation. By 2001, black owned and managed quota holders controlled 25% of hake trawl catch. The number of right holders more than doubled to 53 quota holders and the quota held by the five largest quota holders was reduced to 74%. By 2005 when the trawl fishery was allocated 15-year long commercial fishing rights, black owned and managed quota holders controlled 43% of hake trawl catch and the five largest quota holders controlled a further reduced 70% of the catch.
The fishery directly employs some 8000 people and 75% of all hake deep-sea trawl skippers are black. Right holders in the trawl fishery employ an average of 70 persons per 1000 tons of fish; while their international counterparts employ about 40 persons per 1000 tons of fish.
Without a cogent and rational understanding of the socio-economy of the fisheries sector as a whole and of individual sectors, how is the department possibly going to even begin preparing for the allocation of commercial fishing rights in 13 commercial fisheries in 2013 and 2015? How does the department even begin to develop policy to manage the next round of fishing rights allocation without having monitored and evaluated performance of fishery sectors and right holders against the legally binding policy objectives set out in each of the fishery policies?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Based on anecdotal evidence from fishers along the coast, some recent (conservative) research analysis - to balance the anecdotes, the near weekly reports of significant abalone busts by the South African Police and conversations with fishery control officers, there is little doubt that abalone poaching continues unabated. The recent arrest of 19 members of a local syndicate appears to have done little to dent the poaching thirst. Then of course we know that the department of fisheries is not particularly interested in curbing poaching. They continue to rely on the proceeds from the sale of confiscated abalone to fund the administration of the Marine Living Resources Fund and fishery control officers are not permitted to work after 4pm or on weekends!
The department also lacks the funds to implement any (even a half decent one) abalone anti-poaching strategy and continues to waste substantial funds on the "military veterans" that they use as additional "fishery control officers".
Now rumours are awash along the Overberg coast that the department's abalone scientists are recommending the closure of two further abalone zones - Zones A and B, which will effectively close all abalone fishing in the Overberg leaving that entire coast free for poachers to plunder. There is no doubt that our scientific advisers are dead right in their biological analysis that because of rampant and unchecked poaching in the Overberg, closure of the last two zones in the area is needed to save abalone.
But is closure the answer? I reckon that what we should be doing is the opposite. I would in fact increase the commercial abalone TAC ... dramatically. I would perhaps start with doubling the TAC for the 2011/2012 season to about 250 tons and do the same again in 2012. I would look at what my fishery control officers (ie those troops on the ground) and organisations such as TRAFFIC and SEAWATCH are saying about poaching trends in Zones A, B, C and D (the closed zones and zones proposed for closure) and increase allocations in those zones. For example, I would allocate no less than 10 tons in Zone A, 145 tons in Zone B, 10 tons in Zone C and 10 tons in Zone D.
I know what you are thinking. I have not lost my marbles. The reality is that since I was head of fisheries management, the "best advice" I received has always been to cut quotas when a resource is not doing well for whatever reason. The same applied and continues to apply to abalone. The small difference back then was that we had the resources to start reducing abalone poaching. Not now. DAFF is resourceless with no known options to reduce poaching.
In 2004, all scientific advice pointed to the need to reduce catch limitations in the Patagonian Toothfishery which was being subjected to significant levels of poaching. However, based on consultations with toothfish right holders, the South African government elected to instead leave the TAC unchanged in order to encourage year-round legal fishing in the area in order to try and displace illegal fishing.
It is along these lines that I am suggesting that instead of abandoning an entire coastline to poachers, keep the legal fishery active in a bid to displace poachers and particularly syndicates. The reality is that after some 8 years of being closed to abalone fishing, Zones C and D have shown no recovery. Yet, it is known that significant poaching of lobsters and abalone continues in these zones.
My proposal would be to establish a formal working relationship between the abalone industries located east and west of hangklip, on the one hand, and DAFF, TRAFFIC and SEAWATCH on the other, with the latter organisations providing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation capacity monitoring fishing and poaching trends on a weekly basis to determine the trajectory of this project. Should the M&E system indicate potential biological calamity (the criteria for which are agreed to beforehand of course), the Minister always has the authority to suspend fishing, reduce effort or reduce the TAC on a zonal basis on an emergency basis under section 16 of the Marine Living Resources Act.
The usual approach of reducing TAC's and closing the legal fishery has only served up more and more of our abalone to syndicated poachers. I reckon its time for a radical option. What do we have to lose?
Friday, August 12, 2011
Feike and some of the work we do in South Africa is featured in the July/August edition of Maritime Southern Africa (pages 56-57). The electronic version can be viewed on http://maritimesa.co.za/CurrentIssue/tabid/79/Default.aspx then simply click on the magazine and flip to page 56.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Feike's Shaheen Moolla will be chatting to Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show between 19:30 and 20h00 on Thursday 11 August 2011. We will be talking about the state of the SA fishing industry with particular emphasis on the larger commercial fisheries such as hake deep sea trawl and the small pelagic fisheries.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
The Sunday Times of 31 July 2011 reported on the fraudster and con-artist, Yusuf Achmat. The article however seems to create an air of ambiguity regarding the role that Feike played in the matter. These are the facts:
1. Feike was approached by both Ixia Trading and Gansbaai Marine (via Marine Admin Consultants) to urgently source pilchard quota for them for the 2011 season.
2. Feike was advised that a person called Yusuf Achmat who represented 4 pilchard quota holding companies was prepared to sell the pilchards belonging to these entities for the 2011 season for a specified price on certain terms and conditions, which were communicated to Feike by Achmat in writing.
3. Feike communicated these terms to the both Ixia and Gansbaai whose respective managing directors confirmed their concurrence and that Feike must proceed with the drafting of the agreements. The agreements were subsequently drafted and presented to Achmat for signature. As the quota holders he represented are close corporations, the contracts drafted by Feike explicitly required Achmat to warrant that he was properly authorised to represent and bind the quota holders and sell the fish concerned. Achmat further warranted his authority to bind and represent the corporations when he signed each agreement. Feike was not requested to or required to conduct any due diligence on Achmat or any of the close corporations. Indeed, based on the urgency of the parties to conclude the contracts, any due diligence would have been impossible.
4. The applicable agreements were then counter-signed by Ixia and Gansbaai Marine's respective managing directors.
5. In terms of the agreements, Ixia and Gansbaai would pay "deposits" to Achmat on signature of the agreements. These deposits varied from 5% to 10% of the total purchase price. A portion of Feike's legal fees and commissions were payable on signature of the agreements. The deposits were paid by Feike to Achmat between 29 April & 3 May as required by Achmat.
6. During the subsequent 2 weeks, it became apparent that Achmat could not produce the requisite tax clearance certificates and other documents required to uplift the fishing permits for the four corporations. At this stage, Feike alerted both Gansbaai and Ixia to the fact that Achmat may not be able to produce the documents he was obliged to produce in terms of the contracts.
7. During informal correspondence with a director of another Cape Town based fishing company, the director mentioned how his company was recently conned by two separate persons - the one being a Yusuf Achmat. At this stage, Feike informed both Ixia and Gansbaai Marine of the possibility that Achmat was a con-man and a fraud who may have signed the sale agreements with any legal mandate or authority.
8. With the concurrence of both Ixia and Gansbaai, Feike appointed a firm of attorneys to urgently issue summons to recover the deposits paid to Achmat. Feike also appointed a debt collecting agency to attempt to recover the deposits. Further, Feike reported Achmat to SARS for violations of the Income Tax Act and VAT Act - as Achmat had issued fraudulent VAT invoices for the receipt of the deposits and would not have declared these deposits to SARS as income.
9. For reasons only known to Gansbaai Marine and Ixia Trading, they suddenly decided to not sue Achmat for the deposits he received and invoiced for. Feike remains committed to suing Achmat for the damage caused by his fraud, misrepresentation and deceit by signing agreements for which he had no legal mandate or authority.
The only reason fraudsters and con-artists like Achmat continue to operate in the fishing industry is because companies like Ixia Trading and Gansbaai Marine refuse to expose and sue these types of people. How often did a certain Mr W (now deceased) operate in a similar fashion, selling his quota 3 and four times over in the same season collecting illicit deposits on his quotas without anyone (other than the Grim Reeper) putting an end to the practice?