Sunday, June 12, 2011

The WSCD Appeals: Liar Liar?

The Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) of 12 June 2011 reports that after almost a year, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has yet to finalise her decisions for permits in the lucrative white shark cage diving sector.

The full article can be read by linking to

The Minister's response is essentially the usual sleight of hand; if not just plain dishonesty. When this issue of the appeals was last raised in March, her excuse was that she had only recently received the appeals and a process of information verification had been completed in February. And she stated that her decisions would be announced in a few weeks - that was on 24 March 2011! Guess what her nonsensical excuse is this time?

She is still apparently considering the appeals having received the "appeal documentation only in March" and "This meant “a lot of detailed work” including verification of the applicants’ assets and investments." Unfortunately the Minister's spokesperson must have "forgotten" that when the Minister was last quizzed about the state of the appeals process, she confirmed that the verification process was completed in February and she stated in Parliament that her decisions would be made known "within weeks". Why the lies now? How long is a "few weeks"? And what exactly is the status of the appeals?

Does the Minister and her department simply not give a damn about this industry, the jobs it sustains or the international goodwill of the industry? We unfortunately see the same "don't give a damn" attitude by the Minister of Fisheries.

We know that she has been "considering" no more than 35 appeals (which is not a substantial number of appeals). We know that the Minister received the appeal documentation in March and not recently. And we know that the information verification process was completed in February and is not ongoing.

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