The Shadow Minister of Environmental Affairs, Gareth Morgan (DA), has confirmed that the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa (ANC), continues to apply her mind to the boat-based whale watching (BBWW) and white-shark cage diving (WSCD) appeals and remains unable to confirm a date on which she will announce her decisions.
The Minister has also confirmed that a verification process was initiated back in November 2010 and was completed in February 2011. This of course means that the Minister has been "applying her mind" to these 70 appeals since July 2010! She must be thoroughly mentally exhausted what with all those sharks and whale on the brain!
We do accept that the appeals process would have highlighted a number of fundamentally flawed decision-making processes, which would render the the entire allocation process as fatally flawed. These flaws have been highlighted on this blog and any current operator that is excluded has a slam-dunk review application on at least a couple of easy administrative review grounds. Then of course the Minister happily admitted in writing that she allowed Raggy Charters - the illegal BBWW operator in PE - to secretly change its ownership profile so that it could correct a material defect in its application. This admission was perhaps the greatest legal error I have ever come across.
So the Minister may be delaying her decisions as she finds herself between a white shark and a frolicking Southern Right, not knowing how to save herself the embarrassment of urgent interdicts, adverse costs orders and the setting aside of her department's application procedures.