Monday, July 1, 2013

Broken promises; Damned promises

Many followers of our BLOG have been asking why we have not published any articles or updates on the farcical long term fishing rights allocation process since the beginning of June. If you recall, our last BLOG on the subject was published on 11 June 2013.

We decided to give the Minister and her department the proverbial "space" to attend to meeting their unrealistic and impractical self-inposed deadlines. Deadlines have - expectedly - come and gone. The department and its Minister continue to operate in a cloud of secrecy. They do no provide any updates on the status of progress with respect to any of the milestones they have themselves identified and they have failed to respond to any of the questions that have been put to them during the draft policy consultation process. So nobody actually knows what is going on with a process that directly affects the rights and interests of more than 1000 quota holders. 

So, to this date, nobody knows how important policy matters such as the ongoing failure to resolve and decide all section 21 transfer applications will be dealt with; how will individual right holders who have now consolidated their quotas under a legal entity be treated - are they new entrants or existing right holders etc etc. 

Back to the deadlines set by the Minister and her officials and who have insisted that critics such as Feike dont know what we are talking about. The industry was told that the deadlines set are completely attainable. The portfolio committee swallowed the deadlines and timetable hook, line and sinker ... but we dont expect too much thinking and independent thought from this quarter of course. 

So here we are, at the end of 1 July 2013. Which promises have been kept by the Minister and her officials? 

▪DAFF said they will Gazette final general policy and sector-specific policies by  28 June 2013.

 That was last week and not a whimper from the Minister or her DAFF officials. Where are these final policies? Could they account and explain why these final policies were not gazetted as promised and tell us when the next promised gazette date will be?

▪DAFF said they would Appoint "service providers" by 1 July 2013. Again all we have heard is a very loud silence from DAFF on deadline day. What services were they supposed to provide? Who tendered?

▪DAFF said simplified applications in four languages will be gazetted by 14 June 2013.

That was more than 2 weeks ago and not a form in a single language in sight! Having trouble drafting the English forms?

▪And the mother of all deadlines - DAFF stated in parliament that it would Call for applications on 1 July 2013. Of course, since none of the initial deadlines have been met, there could no "call for applications".

We said of course that this is not only practically impossible but legally impossible as well because the draft policies must first be approved by Cabinet and in addition, the draft MLRA amendment bill that seeks to make provision for the allocation of fishing quotas to co-operatives and communities must be signed into law by the President.

We wonder what the fourth installment of cloud cuckoo timetables and milestones will look like.

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