As DAFF steamrolls along the coast and heads to the Western Cape for its long term fishing rights allocation "consultation process", we reckon that these questions need urgent answering:
1. How are interested and affected parties supposed to comment on and consider the draft general policy with no sector specific policies? The draft general policy repeatedly states that the reader must read the general policy together with the applicable sector specific policy but these are non-existent.
2. When will the sector specific policies be gazetted for comment? When will all the policies be available in languages other than just English, especially given the overwhelming use of Afrikaans in the Western Cape?
3. Why did DAFF start the "consultation process" without first gazetting each of the 8 sector policies first? If these sector policies are gazetted for comment, will DAFF commence a second consultation process?
4. Where are the draft application forms? When will these be gazetted for comment?
5. How does DAFF foresee the application process unfolding and when will this be? How will cluster C and D applicants apply for rights? How will cluster A & B applicants apply? Will these processes mirror the 2005 processes and if so how far is DAFF with finalising its electronic web-based process for Cluster A and B applicants?
6. Will all applications have to be audited (or only Cluster A and B) and has DAFF come to an agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants on the rules and procedures for such an auditing and verification process? What are these?
7. Who has been appointed to audit and verify the process of rights allocation. Who is auditing this present consultation process?
8. When will the formal QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES process commence and what will the email address be where we can submit these questions and how frequently will be answers be published and where will these published?
9. What will the application fee and grant of right fee be for each sector and how has the formula been devised? Please provide a copy of the formula. When will the fees formula be published for comment? Has the Minister of Finance approved any of the draft formulae?
10. What is the proposed duration of rights for each of the 8 fishing sectors?
11. Where will the rights application centres be for collecting and handing in applications for Clusters C and D fishery sectors? Will applications be available in Afrikaans (and other languages) as well or only English?
12. What is the present status of the proposed MLRA amendments? Why have these not been submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Fisheries yet? When are the proposed amendments going to be published for public comment?
13. The draft general policy appears to exclude allocating any rights to individuals. Why and on what legal basis is this exclusion proposed given the right of individuals to apply for and hold such rights. The MLRA does not make provision for the allocation of fishing rights to co-operatives and community-based organisations unless these are incorporated companies registered as such under the Companies Act or established as Trust. (It must be noted that based on the medium term rights monitoring and evaluation process, it was decided in 2005 to not allocate fishing rights to trusts because of the massive abuse of trust structures as it allows for easy fronting and the abuse of beneficiaries).
14. How will DAFF treat the applications of right holders whose section 21 application have not been finalised yet?
15. How will DAFF treat the applications of right holders whose section 28 notices have yet to be finalised, including those currently facing criminal prosecution? In this latter regard, does DAFF have access to the NDPP's database of persons facing prosecution under the MLRA and its Regulations?
16. Does the draft general policy of 2013 intend repealing the entire 2005 General Policy? If so, why does the draft not say this?
17. In so far as those sectors that require vehicular access to the coastal zone are concerned, how does DAFF intend ensuring co-ordinated decision-making with the Department of Environmental Affairs?
18. Which internal databases does DAFF intend utilising and when will right holders be afforded the opportunity to first verify the veracity of the information contained in these databases?
19. Will the department be publishing its registered crew lists for the squid, linefish and hake handline fishery sectors and will these be published?
20. What policies are being considered with respect to quantum and effort allocations?