This is a replication of a press statement issued by the DA's Mark Wiley last week.
Following a debate in the Western Cape Parliament last week, I have called for a Commission of Enquiry into the mismanagement of the small boat fishing harbours and fisheries along the Western Cape coast and the impact this is having on the surrounding traditional communities.
With one exception, all of South Africa’s small harbours are found along the dangerous Western Cape coastline. They service the fishing fleet, exploiting the vital fish stocks, with some 95% of all commercial species being found off this coast.
Since their construction in the 1920’s and 30’s these harbours, some in desolate areas, have served as the lifeline for the fishing communities that have developed around them. Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly in the lower income group, are dependent on this industry.
It is common knowledge, backed by expert opinion, that the current ANC National government, has neglected both the harbours and the fisheries to such an extent that both are in a state of collapse. In several harbours management is simply absent, sunken trawler wrecks block working quays and fees are not collected. Port lights do not work, toilets are a disgrace and there is no accountable supervision after 4pm and before 8am. Three National departments are involved in this management disaster, none want to take responsibility.
A report, commissioned to find ways to improve the situation in the harbours, has been kept a secret for two years. Why?
Lawlessness prevails in many harbours, and on the seas, as a result of maladministration and corruption in the handling of fishing quotas which has seen the further impoverishment of the traditional communities, with devastating social impact. The National Minister has not met with the formal industry in the over two years she has been in office. Virtually every senior Fisheries management post is either not filled or the incumbent, often acting, has no knowledge of the industry.
Only a Commission of Enquiry, convened by the Western Cape Premier, will have any chance of shedding light on this debacle that is so affecting the lives of so many residents of this Province.
Enquiries: Mark Wiley 0824525712
Mart-Marie Haasbroek 0729103724