The PE Herald newspaper this morning reported that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has finally commented on the furore raging about Raggy Charters' chumming for birds and/or sharks just off Hobie Beach. Lloyd Edwards of Raggy Charters admitted to the PE Herald on 29 March that he was effectively chumming just off Hobie Beach. The admission amounts to a breach of a number of laws as detailed in the blog article "PE operator caught chumming illegally: DEA Remains Silent", below.
The DEA confirms that it is "investigating" the incident and that it does not support chumming in proximity to swimming beaches or "swimming events" but then bizarrely the DEA spokesperson, Zolile Nqayi, states that they are considering amendments to current legislation to regulate this kind of activity! Wait a minute, does DEA honestly believe that current legislation does not regulate and prohibit "such activity" unless proper permits are in place (which they were not in this case).
Is DEA not aware of the provisions of the WSCD Regulations which prohibit chumming unless the operator is an authorised WSCD operator adhering to strict chumming guidelines? Is DEA not aware of the provisions of the Sea Birds Act which prohibits the disturbance of gulls unless a permit specifically authorises the disturbance? Is the DEA not aware of the provisions of its flag-ship piece of legislation, the Integrated Coastal Management Act, which prohibits the unlawful dumping of effluent which is what chumming amounts to in these circumstances?
Or does DEA just think that we are all just gullible fools and that we cant see through their woeful attempt to once again "protect" Raggy Charters" on the farcical basis that the law currently does not regulate and criminalise this dangerous conduct?
In 2004 Feike's Shaheen Moolla, then serving as head of compliance at Marine and Coastal Management, successfully revoked the white shark cage diving authorisation of a Cape Town based operator because of illegal and dangerous chumming. The laws were in place then to act against such arrogant and dangerous thugs; they are still in place and in fact even clearer now.
DEA if you fail to act and enforce the laws you charged with implementing that aim to protect our marine ecology and the public, you will simply confirm what we all already suspect.
Postscript: The reference to the Kabuso Report is to the still secret report which details extensive corruption, fraud and mismanagement at the PE (Nelson Mandela Bay) Municipality. Apparently one of the justifications by the ANC for keeping it secret still is that the findings of corruption etc are so damning that if revealed it could adversely affect the entire province's economy! Is it not tragic that a municipality so utterly wracked by corruption and failure is named after a man who represents the very opposite?