Well, Friday the 20th has come and passed. The department closes its doors on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 for the holiday season but still not a single fishing right of the more than 1000 than ought to be allocated BEFORE 31 December 2013, has been allocated.
It has of course been patently clear for months now that the department's promises that it would be able to allocate fishing rights by September 2013 and then "before" the rights expire on 31 December 2013 were just more false promises.
The SA Tuna Association today received written confirmation from the department that fishing rights will in all likelihood not be allocated by 31 December 2013 and that fishing boats must simply return to port by midnight on 31 December 2013.
Even if fishing rights are miraculously issued between Monday 23 December and Tuesday 24 December 2013, no "right holder" will be able to go fishing on 1 January 2014 as the department has still not gazetted the fees for the granting of fishing rights and fishing permits must still be applied for and issued under section 13 of the MLRA. Fishing permits take at least 7 working days to issue. And of course for a valid and lawful grant of fishing right gazette to be adopted, a draft must first be published for public comment. And both the draft and final gazettes can only be published with the concurrence of the Finance Minister.
So while incompetent and arrogant departmental officials will no doubt be partying the night away on 31 December 2013, with salaries having been electronically transferred to their bank accounts thanks to us poor taxpayers, more than 1000 right holders and 5000 workers will be facing 1 January 2014 with no fishing rights, tied up boats and the prospect of losing everything that has been worked for over the past 8 years of long term fishing rights.
Postscript: Members of the ANC's Military Veterans of which the incompetent Desmond Stevens is a member, invaded DAFF's offices on 19 December 2013 demanding that certain lucrative compliance-related contracts handed to them previously be re-allocated to them. Of course, we should be asking (as we had previously back in 2010), why is the ANC's Military Veterans the recipients of lucrative compliance tenders? Do we pay taxes solely to benefit the ruling elite and party?