Reports from people who attended the Hermanus consultation meeting confirm that once again the meeting was a pointless event with no substantive answers being provided to the many questions raised.
For example, when questions pertaining to the status of section 21 fishing right transfer applications and section 28 notices were put to Ms Middleton (who gave the presentation on behalf of DAFF), she advised the meeting that the department was awaiting advice from Parliament on how these applications ought to be dealt with! Parliament? What has Parliament got to do with section 21 rights transfer applications and section 28 notices?
Ms Sue Middleton could not provide answers on when the sector specific policies would be published or what the application fees would be for each fishery as the fees had to still be decided! Do they realise that the application fees must be approved by the Minister of Finance but prior to that the fees (application and grant of right fees) together with the formulae for determining each set of fees must be published for public comment? It appears that this is all news to DAFF.
DAFF appeared equally unaware of the crew lists that ought to have been maintained over the past 8 years for the crew employed in the squid, line fish and hake handline fisheries.
DAFF was unable to provide any answer to question pertaining to the duration of fishing rights either.
It appears that the normal retort was that questions can be emailed to the DDG of Fisheries and she would provide answers! (By the way, we have emailed our list of 20 questions to the DDG of Fisheries for a formal and written response from her. Let's see if she will bother to reply).
Of interest though, Ms Middleton did confirm that the application form will be made available in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu. She could not however say when the draft application form would be gazetted for comment.
Ms Middleton did admit that DAFF would have to redo the entire consultation process once the draft sector policies are gazetted for public comment. This admission is damning to say the least! What a waste of time, resources and money!
The Cape Town consultative meeting is scheduled for 9am on 23 April 2013 at the Good Hope Centre, City Centre.