It would appear that senior Naval and Fisheries officials deliberately misled and lied to members of the Portfolio Committee of Fisheries during their visit to Simonstown on Friday 21 September 2012.
These officials appear to have deliberately misled and/or lied to the MP's with respect to the following -
- That Smit Amandla was re-appointed to take operational control of the Algoa research vessel. It is understood that the Africana will follow suite shortly. It appears that these procedures were put in place some 5 weeks previously. This despite the Fisheries Minister's bluster that she had prima facie evidence that Smit Amandla was involved in corruption and that the matter was being investigated by the SA Police. The Minister's statement is in fact still on the DAFF website; and
- The status of the vessels. It is apparent that the officials deliberately painted a false picture of the state of apparent vessel disrepair and deliberately failed to inform the MP's about the fact that the Algoa was being sailed out of Simonstown harbour under the operational control of Smit Amandla crew probably while the MP's were in the harbour.
We must surely be gravely concerned that senior civil servants are able to willfully deceive elected members of parliament. We also point out that Fisheries officials led by the Acting DG and Acting DDG of Fisheries appeared before the Portfolio Committee on 11 September 2012 and during that presentation deliberately failed to mention anything about the transfer of vessels to the Department of Environmental Affairs.
We sincerely trust that the Portfolio Committee will urgently hold a special meeting where the senior Naval and Fisheries officials who were present in Simonstown before the Committee on 11 September 2012 are held to account and explain their deceit. We trust that the Portfolio Committee will report their conduct to the Public Service Commission and demand their dismissal. We cannot rely on the fisheries minister to act.