In reply to Parliamentary Question 1427, the Minister of Fisheries sheds more light on why she has been able to provide the profoundly shocking leadership in fisheries over the past 3 years.
In terms of South Africa's public administration laws, every Minister is authorised to appoint a maximum of two special advisers under section 12A of the Public Service Act, 1994. The purpose of the appointment of special advisers is...well for a Minister to appoint specialists to advise on policy and governance. So when a Minister with no prior knowledge of or experience in fisheries is appointed as the Minister of Fisheries, one would have assumed that she would rush to appoint specialists in the field of fisheries governance and policy.
Nope. Not our distinguished Fisheries Minister. Instead, the Minister confirms that while she has appointed as many special advisers as deputy-director generals of fisheries (7 each!), everyone of those specials advisers had and currently have no experience in or knowledge fisheries - just like the 7 acting DDG's of Fisheries she has appointed. The obvious question then is what special advice do they dispense? Or is that self-evident?
The Minister's current special advisers are Rams Mabote and Duncan Hindle. Mabote has a Btech degree in Journalism and Hindle has a degree in education. The Minister would be on the right track if she was the Minister of Education or even Communications (scratch the latter considering her tantrum at the Press Club and her rants generally!)
So now we know how she came to argue about equitably spreading fish across the country; or why she never knew about the 22 commercial fishing sectors that make up the SA fishing industry; or that abalone does not occur in KwaZulu-Natal or why it is vaguely important to have fisheries patrol vessels and research vessels at sea and not bobbing about in harbour...
Oh, and these special advisers are costing the taxpayer a cool R3 million annually in salaries for the special advice they have been dispensing.