Friday, February 1, 2013

The Farce that is DAFF

Two days ago the department of fisheries called an urgent meeting for midday on 1 February 2013 of all commercial right holders in the lobster fishery. The invitation called on right holders and representatives to attend.

Feike's Shaheen Moolla attended the meeting on the instructions of a number of west coast based right holders. 

Having signed in as a legal representative of the companies concerned, the meeting commenced. The department explained that the purpose of the meeting was to "clear the mud" in the media regarding the allegations pertaining to the lobster TAC. It is widely understood that the Minister of Fisheries unlawfully interfered in the setting of the current lobster TAC. The investigative programme, Carte Blanche, will shortly be exposing the shenanigans behind the TAC determination. 

It was therefore extremely surprising when - after more than 30 minutes of the meeting having commenced - and after Feike's Shaheen Moolla stood up to ask a question of clarity, that Desmond Stevens, director of "stakeholder liaison", demanded that only "right holders" may be present at the meeting. When it was pointed out to him that Shaheen Moolla and others present represented right holders (as these are legal entities and cannot of course be present themselves!) he demanded that Moolla and others leave or security would be called! 

The reality is that DAFF could not face the inevitable hard questions they would have to endure from Feike and others. In the end, the Secretary of the West Coast Rock Lobster Industry Association - the recognised industry body - left the meeting, together with other legal representatives. This left Desmond Stevens and his team to present their farcical explanations to a room of people who would agree with their explanations. They would then be able to report that they had met with the "Industry"who agreed ex post facto to the current unlawfully determined TAC. 

Mr Stevens' conduct was plainly unlawful not to mention immature and indicative of a person incapable of defending his position. Feike will demand that the Deputy Director-General of Fisheries commence with disciplinary action against him, failing which we will report his unlawful, childish and plainly appalling conduct to the Public Service Commission and Public Protector.

Perhaps Mr Stevens forgets that he is a civil servant in South Africa and not North Korea (which is undoubtedly from where he seeks his inspiration).

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