This statement was issued by the Democratic Alliance's, Pieter van Dalen, DA Deputy Spokesperson on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (see www.da.org.za)
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson, in her infinite wisdom, has decided that the best way to turn around the performance of the Marine and Coastal Management Unit is to relocate it to Pretoria from Cape Town where it is currently based.
Exactly how taking a coastal management unit away from the coast will help is difficult to fathom. Talk about a fish out of water.
Do we need to remind Minister Joemat-Pettersson that 80% of commercial fishing activity takes place in the coastal region of the Western Cape?
Does she expect fishermen to travel to Pretoria each time they have to apply for a permit?
And what will happen to the 7 00 Marine and Coastal Management staff members who currently reside in Cape Town?
This has clearly not been thought through properly.
The evidence is mounting that Minister Joemat-Pettersson is struggling to manage a portfolio that is so crucial to the quality of life of all South Africans. Her tenure has been marked by a series of gaffes and scandals including:
• A R1.6 million personal hotel bill last year;
• flights to Sweden, where she has a holiday home but stayed in hotels – she failed to declare this or to disclose that she had met with Swedish Arms manufacturer, SAAB;
• the appointment of a close family relation in a directorship position in her Department; and
• the awarding of an R800 million tender to Sekunjalo Consortium, which was clearly incapable of doing the job, but whose directors are politically connected.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is clearly in chaos. Our scarce marine resources, which provide a livelihood for thousands of people, cannot be allowed to dissipate just because of one Minister’s unwillingness or inability to lead.