Sunday, November 27, 2011

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DAFF is in Shambles! reports today (27 November 2011) that ANC member of the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Salam Abram, stated that the department is in "shambles". Timeslive reports as follows:

"Joematt-Pettersson, who has been in the spotlight over her hotel bills and travels, has also been criticised by an ANC MP serving on the agriculture, forestry and fisheries portfolio committee, who described the department as a "shambles".

"It is common knowledge that the department is in shambles, it is very far from carrying out what it is supposed to do. It is not visible on the ground. They come with beautiful slides and put them on the screen, but when it comes to oversight, you see very little of what they do," said Salam Abram.

[Selby] Bokaba (the Minister's spokesperson) refused to comment on Abram's claims."

Questions that need answering

Our political environment is so polluted by corruption, maladministration and mind-numbing levels of incompetence that when we hear about a fishing company (and its holding company) being awarded an R800m tender to essentially manage South Africa's entire fleet of fishery patrol and research vessels and then also exposed for paying for the personal security costs of a senior ANC minister's home in the northern Limpopo province, questions just keep popping up.

Firstly, with respect to the fisheries research and patrol tenders. How is it possible for a fishing company to be responsible for the management and maintenance of patrol and research vessels. Its akin to insider trading; the fox looking after the henhouse; essentially, Premier fishing will know where and when patrol vessels are to be deployed and may even be able to influence deployment strategies whether directly or indirectly. To deny this, is to deny the earth is round or that man landed on the moon.

Regardless of how one looks at it, there is a reason why there is no comparable example of a fishing company being charged with managing a fleet of fisheries enforcement and research vessels.

Questions that need answering are:

1. Who were the other bidders?
2. What were scores of each of the bidding companies?
3. What were the evaluation criteria?
4. What were the financial proposals of each of the bidding companies?
5. Who constituted the tender evaluation committee? A copy of their actual recommendation report should be made public.

Secondly, Premier Fishing's sponsorship of security costs for the Minister of International Relation's private home in the northern Limpopo Province can at best be described as questionable. There is no doubt that when a commercial entity decides to sponsor an event or cause, it does so either because the event or cause is linked to its business strategy (and will result in exposure and therefore increased profits) or the cause is worthy of commercial investment. So what is the benefit for Premier to foot the personal security bill for an ANC Minister?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why is Premier Fishing Paying for a Minister's Security?

The Mail and Guardian reports the following very strange story about Premier Fishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sekunjalo who was just awarded an R800m contract by the Department of Fisheries. Why is Premier Fishing paying for the security of the Minister of International Relations?

International Relations Minister failed to declare a R100 000 benefit.
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has not declared to Parliament a R100 000 payment for around-the-clock private security at her private residence in Polokwane.

Cape Town-based Premier Fishing picked up Nkoana-Mashabane's R8 655-a-month security tab for 12 months in 2010-2011.

Premier Fishing is a subsidiary of JSE-listed Sekunjalo Investments.

Its executive chairperson, Iqbal Survé, has travelled overseas with the official business delegation accompanying President Jacob Zuma, Nkoana-Mashabane and other ministers on state visits and other government business. Survé is also a director of Premier Fishing.

The benefit is absent from the minister's declaration of interests released by Parliament's registrar of members' interests last week.

Nkoana-Mashabane, through spokesperson Clayson Monyela, said that her brother, Harry Nkoana, was the "caretaker" of the property and that she was obliged to declare only benefits accruing to herself and her children. She referred all further questions to her brother.

For the full story, see

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sekunjalo to Maintain Fisheries Research & Patrol Vessels

Published to on 25 November 2011.

BLACK-empowered Sekunjalo Investments has won a five-year, R800m government contract it says will improve profitability and broad-based participation in SA’s maritime sector.

Sekunjalo led a consortium including ship-builder KND to maintain eight state-owned research and patrol vessels, including the Algoa, the Ellen Khuzwayo and the Sarah Baartman.

The contract, awarded by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is expected to accelerate broad-based participation in Cape Town’s highly concentrated maritime industry.

Sekunjalo said yesterday the contract would significantly improve the group’s profitability and cash flow through subsidiary Sekunjalo Industrial.

Sekunjalo CEO Khalid Abdulla said the unit was one of the only black-owned companies in Africa with the technical and engineering expertise to manage a contract of this magnitude.

"Today, Sekunjalo not only manages technical maintenance of its own fleet, but conducts maintenance and provides technical services to vessels from around the world," he said.

Sekunjalo chairman Iqbal Survé said the deal would accelerate enterprise development and skills transfer in SA’s maritime industry. "Our goal is to provide as many job opportunities through this deal as possible," he said.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the contract was the first of its kind awarded to a black-owned company.

"I am confident that Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings has the requisite skills and capabilities to fulfil this contract based on its fleet management experience, and its experience in managing maintenance projects on international vessels," she said.

The company last week came under fire from some of its shareholders after it announced it would sue two former executives for R65m for losses relating to major subsidiary Premier Fishing, which accounts for about half of group revenue.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oceana Buys Lusitania

It has been confirmed that the Oceana Group Ltd has agreed to purchase all assets and interests held by the Lusitania Fishing group. The purchase will mean that Oceana will gain control over substantial additional hake, horse mackerel and South Coast rock lobster fishing interests.

The purchase would increase Oceana's interest in the hake industry from 1.1% to 4.4%, in horse mackerel from 18.8% to 22.8%, in south coast lobster from 3.1% to 22.6% and increase the commercial cold storage capacity of the group by 4.1%.

The purchase is subject to obtaining regulatory approval from the Minister of Fisheries under section 21 of the Marine Living Resources Act and Competition Commission approval. Oceana anticipates that the transaction would be effective from 1 March 2012.

See for more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Tuesday

Today we face the prospect that the African National Congress completes its slide into the very deepest and darkest depths of corruption, sleaze and moral decay. And as it "celebrates" its centenary. The Party that spearheaded the Peoples Congress at Kliptown now chooses to flatly ignore the voices of hundreds and thousands, if not millions, as it appears completely desperate to pass the Protection of State Information Bill - the Secrecy Bill. How tragic that this great African movement has morphed into the National Party, seeing the same ghosts of "foreign spies" and varying shades of "gevaar" (fear) used so well by the Apartheid regime to scare its sheepish followers into towing the party line.

Despite the ANC's protestations to the contrary, the Bill's sole aim - like the collapsing of the Scorpions - is to shield the party and its officials from their uncontrollable lust to plunder the public coffer and undermine the rule of law.

And make no mistake, it will affect each and everyone of us in a significant way. In the fisheries sector, we have already seen the programming of civil servants into secrecy and deception mode. Essentially, the Bill will allow almost any official any DAFF to decide whether a document of process is classified.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Want to Know More About SA Fisheries?

Feike has invested in the development of a dedicated blog on South African fisheries where we will provide regular but brief news updates on issues affecting the commercial fisheries sector. The blog also provides important socio-economic facts and figures on some of our major commercial and small-scale (artisinal) fishery sectors.

go to

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Permit Threats by DAFF Unlawful

Feike has been provided with copies of correspondence issued by the Fisheries Department threatening small-scale commercial right holders in the lobster and abalone sectors with the "termination" of their permits if these right holders do not make levy payments by 15 December 2011.

Feike wishes to confirm that this threat is unlawful and amounts to extortion.

It is most alarming that the department continues to unlawfully threaten right holders with withholding (and now “termination”) of their permits and/or section 28 Notices for failing to make levy payments despite the fact that the department continues to not issue proper and valid tax invoices to right holders.

Earlier this year, the Minister confirmed to Parliament (Question 159 of 2011) that her department has never collected any levy without a tax invoice. She was of course not telling the truth. Her department has for some time been too inefficient to issue tax invoices and instead extorts levy payment from right holders by threatening to withhold their fishing permits and now the threat is to "terminate" the poor, helpless permit.

Further, that the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998 does not make any provision for the “termination” or “withholding” of permits is of course not relevant to our fisheries civil servants.

Accordingly, (bold text) -

1. The department cannot lawfully "terminate", murder, destroy or torture any permit; and

2. If the department wants you to pay your levy, they must do what the law says they must do. They must open up Excel and compile a tax invoice which must state the following -
* the name of the right holder, together with the right holder's address and VAT number (if VAT registered);
* the precise reasons for raising the invoice (such as for the 2010/2011 abalone levy)
* the exact amount owed and how this amount is calculated (for example: 400kg x R31)
*the date by which payment must be made and the bank details into which the payment must be made.

Launch of the Anti-Poaching Chase Vessels in Pics

The pictures provided below are courtesy of Mr Scott Russell, a commercial abalone diver and spokesperson for the South African Abalone Industry Association.

Attendees at the Launch

The Minister addresses the gathering at the launch

The newly trained military veterans on parade

The "Leervis" Chase Vessel

The "Galjoen" Chase Vessel

The "Galjoen"

300HP Engines on each of the Chase Vessels

DAFF Admits to Shortcomings

Over the course of the past few days, Feike has received requests for assistance from a number of right holders in the abalone and lobster fisheries who had attempted to uplift their annual fishing permits only to be told that levies were outstanding and levy returns were not submitted.

After Feike addressed correspondence to the department reminding them of what the legal position is regarding the "withholding" of permits and the payment of levies, right holders have been contacted to inform them their permits are now ready for collection.

One of our clients confirmed that the DAFF official who phoned him confirmed serious "shortcomings" in the administration of levy returns and levies. Although this is not news to the fishing industry, it once again confirms the parlous state of management at the fisheries branch.

Questions that need to be answered are:

1. What "administrative shortcomings" are being experienced?
2. Does the department know exactly which right holders have paid their levies and which have not?
3. What is the rand value of outstanding levies and what amounts have been collected to date?
4. Why is the department still unable to issue proper tax invoices?
5. Why does the department continue to oblige right holders to tell it what they owe the department in levies?
6. With respect to levy returns, does the department know which right holders have submitted returns and which have not?
7. Has the department lost levy returns for right holders?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Minister Launches Anti-Poaching Vessels

The Minister of Fisheries launched 3 anti-paoching vessels on 14 November 2011 in Hermanus. The function also noted the completion of a fisheries compliance training course for a number of military veterans who are to be deployed to combat abalone poaching between Rooi-Els and Arniston.

The launch of these anti-poaching "chase" vessels and the deployment of a team of committed "military veterans" as fishery control officers has to be welcomed as a step in the right direction in battle against rampant abalone poaching in the Overberg region.

A number of right holders did however express their concerns that the "chase" vessels were not equipped for night operations and that the average poaching RIB is easily capable of speeds of in excess of 60 knots - the chase vessels have a maximum speed of 48 knots. This is however a huge improvement over the use of the inshore and offshore patrol vessels which were never intended for use in the abalone fishery.

The Minister also noted that the much maligned "military veterans" needed the cooperation of members of the local community to apprehend poachers. However, many abalone right holders will scoff at this request as right holders have too often risked their own lives to repeatedly warn the department of ongoing poaching activities (as this BLOG has noted as well) in areas such as Hout Bay, Llandadno, Buffeljags, Perly Beach, Hawston, Robben Island etc only to be ignored. Furthermore, the department does not have an effective reporting mechanism, particularly as fishery control officers do not work after 4pm and over weekends. And no right-minded quota holder would dare approach their local police station with information about poaching.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

WCRL Recreational Season Announced

The Fisheries Department has announced the new recreational lobster fishing season which will commence on 15 November 2011. The season will close on the 15th of January 2012. Thereafter, the season will open again from the 6th of April 2012 and close on the 9th of April 2012.

The following conditions for the WCRL recreational fishing season will apply:
  • From the 15th of November 2011 to the 15th of January 2012, fishing will be allowed every day;
  • From the 6th of April 2012 to the 9th of April 2012 fishing will also be allowed every day;
  • Recreational permit-holders collecting and landing WCRL may do so only between 08h00 – 16h00. The rock lobsters must be landed by 16:00;
  • The bag limit has been set at four per-person-per-day and the size restriction is 80mm carapace length. Any WCRL caught, collected or transported must be kept in a whole state;
  • A maximum of 20 rock lobsters may be transported per day, on condition that all the persons who caught such rock lobster are present. Such persons should also be in possession of their recreational rock lobster permits;
  • The sale of recreationally harvested lobsters is prohibited.
Permits are obtainable from the Post Office. Permits will only be issued to persons above the age of 12 years.

Monday, November 7, 2011


The Minister of Fisheries has admitted in Parliament that a staggering 590 tons of abalone was confiscated by the department of fisheries during the 2010/2011 financial year. While this admission is jaw-dropping, what is even more alarming is her further confirmation that during the same financial period, the department is recorded to have earned R11,3 million from the sale of confiscated abalone.

590 tons of abalone is conservatively valued at R185 million (@R350/kg). This valuation is however based on what right holders can earn from the sale of abalone to South African marketers who then market the product internationally for substantially higher amounts. All confiscated abalone is sold directly to buyers in Hong Kong and China and so the department should be earning substantially higher amounts than what quota holders would ordinarily earn.

The Minister's response of course raises two extremely concerning issues. The first is that the 590 ton figure is 4-times the legal quota allocated to the legal commercial abalone fishery. This places the department firmly as a serious commercial competitor to the legal commercial abalone fishery. Furthermore, based on the department's own compliance data, only some 10% of all poached abalone is confiscated. This will then mean that South Africa is actually losing anything up to 5000 tons of abalone each year to poachers.

The second concern is the significant discrepancy between the amount of abalone confiscated (590 tons) and the amount of income earned (R11,3 million), which is completely inexplicable. Could the department have sold 590 tons of abalone at R18/kg?

Feike, together with the abalone industry, has been repeatedly requesting information pertaining to the quantum of abalone confiscated, the quanta sold each year and for what amounts. Needless to say, the department has simply refused to make this information available despite it being in the public interest to know how much abalone is being confiscated, who is buying the abalone and at what prices.

Perhaps the Minister's response to Parliament could explain the motive behind her department's refusal to make the information available to the public.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lobster TAC Remains Stable

Despite initial suggestions and proposed recommendations for a cut to the commercial lobster catch limits (TAC), the Minister has set the TAC for nearshore commercial (artisinal) at 451 tons (451 tons in 2010/2011) and offshore commercial at 1540,7 tons (1528 tons in 2010/2011) according to the WCRL Industry Association. The catch limit for the interim relief sector has been increased by 50 tons to 250 tons.

The TAC limits will come as a huge relief to the commercial and artisinal fisheries as they were contemplating cuts to their quotas of between 6% and 10%.

Abalone Fishers Hand Second Memorandum to Minister

On 3 November 2011, abalone fishers will hand a second memorandum to the Minister of Fisheries who - despite promising to reply to the first memorandum handed to her officials on 13 October - has once again failed to communicate with members of the fishing industry.

The second memorandum reads as follows:

Dear Minister Tina Joemat Petterson

Unfortunately you have failed to address our URGENT memorandum of 13 October 2011. Are we to understand that you have decided to treat us with contempt?

What has happened to the concept of "People First" (Batho Pele) ?

What has happened to the promise of "a better life for all" ?

This does not mean a better life for Government officials; Ministers and Abalone poachers - while we your clients are ignored and neglected!

You are our minister - the buck stops with you - our issues require you urgent attention - we do not want your continued absence or to hear about your excessive lifestyle in luxury hotels - we want you to take action and show proper leadership.

Your Fisheries Department is ailing
We are not receiving proper service from DAFF's fisheries department! Besides the issues already raised - here are some more:

A) Your staff has unlawfully withheld information from us.
Regarding confiscated abalone for the financial year ended 31 March 2011
We still have an outstanding request for a detailed breakdown of the following:

1) The total number of abalone confiscated, as well as the respective totals a) by DAFF; b) by SAPS
2) All the reports of the forensic audit team that oversees the processing of confiscated product, confirming the quanta, size, grading and type of abalone confiscated.
3) Full details regarding each auction for the sale of confiscated abalone - including: the form; number; mass; quality and selling price.
4)The number and mass of confiscated abalone destroyed and manner of destruction.
5)The number of individual abalone & mass & form provided to SAPS/Hawks for enforcement operations.

Please see to it that this information is made available to us immediately.

B) Your staff cannot produce proper Invoices or Statements for us.
You would do well to appoint properly qualified accounting staff to rectify your faulty Invoicing and Statements.

C) Your staff still unlawfully withhold our fishing permits.
While some abalone fishers have already received their permits for the 2011/12 season others are being prejudiced by DAFF's is refusal to issue until the experimental fishing permits have first been issued. Staff are also refusing to release permits in cases where they believe levies are outstanding, because of improper invoicing this is unlawful.

Some suggestions:
- Closely supervise and evaluate your existing staff on an ongoing basis.
- Fill all vacant posts with suitably experienced and properly qualified staff who possess an aptitude for public service.

Foundation for the Protection and Management of South African Abalone
While DAFF should be properly protecting and managing our abalone resource, unfortunately this is no the case. Now such a foundation has become necessary. Abalone fishers will be involved in this foundation and it is hoped that with government assistance great progress can soon be made.

Small Scale fishing Policy
We would like to make it clear that we have not been properly consulted on this policy and how it may affect us in the future. We are however strongly opposed to community quotas.

We again request that you our Minister URGENTLY address us on each of the issues raised in our original memorandum of 13 October 2011 and also those raised above . Kindly address your written reply to It is our sincere hope that we will not be required to take further action, however should your reply not reach us by close of business on 10 November 2011, we will be left with little choice.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Feike Develops Fisheries Experts Database

Feike has developed a database for the African Union allowing for various categories of fisheries and aquaculture experts to register their details with the AU for future tenders and consultative processes. The database has been built to be scaleable, searchable and updatable.

The database identifies various categories of experts and stakeholders involved in African fisheries and aquaculture, including RFMO's, private expert consultants, tertiary and research institutions, fish worker unions and industrial bodies.