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.

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