Over the past 18 months or so, the Minister and her department of fisheries have addressed the Portfolio Committee on Fisheries and the media on the status of the research and patrol vessels and various other crises affecting the department, including its farcical rights allocation process, a number of times.
During all of these addresses, they spewed forth timeframes, timetables and commitments with none having been met or adhered to. It is one thing to be so grossly incompetent that one cannot comprehend the nature of the commitment being made or promise being promised; it is another thing to lie and then lie again and again to cover up the lie.
The Department of Fisheries, led by the repeated number of incompetent and unprofessional and equally dishonest acting DDG's over the past 18 months or so, has been guilty of both - gross incompetence and dishonesty.
Feike has repeatedly pointed out case after case where the Fisheries Department and its Minister are just dishonest in what they say - whether to the Portfolio Committee or to the media.
We have repeatedly been promised that the vessels will be at sea by the end of this other month, which never materialises. All that is done is a new date is set. Do you realise how incompetent a manager must be to make such commitments without fully appreciating whether the commitment can be achieved? Or the manager is blatantly dishonest.
The same applied to the fishing rights allocation process. The Minister and her staff have spun so many untruths here, it is hard to keep up with and correct.
Then we had the Minister herself telling the public on 12 August that the MLRA Amendment Bill was approved by Cabinet when it was not!
Now most recently, the Rapport newspaper reports that Desmond Stevens, the acting DDG of Fisheries, has been caught out in another series of lies to the Portfolio Committee about the status of the R100 million tilapia farm in the Free State province [by the way, R100 million for a tilapia farm must make it the most expensive tilapia farm around considering its production rate! We wonder how that money was spent?].
The point is, lying to or deceiving Parliament and the South African public appears to be par for the course these days for fisheries officials and the Minister. And there are no consequences for such egregious conduct.
That is why we cannot trust or believe a word that passes the lips of these officials.