Saturday, May 5, 2012

Industry Must Demand Zuma's Intervention

In light of the Press Club debacle by our extremely ill-informed and grossly inept fisheries minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, and the subsequent fall-out, it is high time that the President Zuma be approached to urgently intervene and remove this Minister from her post. 

Her suspension of Sue Middleton on 4 May 2012 because Middleton sought the urgent assistance of the SA Deep Sea Trawl Industry Association to get the SAS Africana to sea to conduct critical fisheries research surveys, confirms that this Minister without doubt a direct threat to the economic and biological well-being of our fisheries sector. 

SADSTIA in fact had paid for the cost of the research cruise and utilised SMIT crew because - as Feike has stated repeatedly - the Navy does not have the skills or capacity to operate our patrol and research vessels. They are not tractors to be handed from one driver to the next!

The SADSTIA statement confirms that the Minister has never bothered meeting with South Africa's flag-ship fishing industry body. The hake and mid-water trawl industry contributes some 90% of the fisheries GDP of this country, employing about 50% of all workers in the fishing industry. 

We have reached a point of no return with Tina Joemat Pettersson. She is not remotely interested in sustainable fisheries management; she is an affront to Constitutionalism as she is not interested in accountability and has no ability to defend her decisions or those of her department (hence her refusal to address the Press Club with Pieter van Dalen present); she has overseen some of the most significant failures in SA fishing history including the loss of our entire fisheries patrol and research fleet; and she does not command the respect of her staff (who openly refer to her as Looney Tina (or Tunes) and members of the SA fishing industry. 

Tina Joemat-Pettersson must be removed from the post of Minister of Fisheries. 

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