It was back in May 2010 when the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) took the decision to "provisionally" allocate permits to some and refuse permits to others in the lucrative and tourism driven boat-based whale watching (BBWW) and white shark cage diving (WSCD) sectors. These "non-decisions" (as Feike referred to them back in May 2010), were the continuation of a confused process which has only escalated in the levels of oddities, legal irregularities and financial costs to the two industries.
And twelve months on since those legally flawed "decisions", we are no closer to any answers from the DEA or its minister. In the interim, a number of those new entrant applicants who were promised permits once the appeal process was over are in serious financial difficulty as the loans they took to secure access rights to vessels, payment of the hefty application fees and the services of consultants and lawyers to draft their applications are being called in.
In reality of course, by the time the Minister gets around to sorting out the administrative mess which engulfs the BBWW and WSCD appeal processes, it will be too late. If the Minister does go ahead and allocate permits to any new entrant, they will find that these entities have either been liquidated, do not have access to vessels any longer as the owners have found other uses for them, have simply decided to write the sector off and move on or would not be able to raise the further large sums required to pay for the actual permits to start operating.
Well done to the Minister and her incompetent staff at DEA for supporting black economic empowerment, job creation and all those other noble causes they so easily mouth off in pointless press statements and at farcical lekgotla.
We await your next mouthful of propaganda and excuses.