Thursday, November 3, 2011

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.

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