Thursday, May 30, 2013

Has Joemat-Pettersson Passed Her Sell-By Date?

During the debate on the Fisheries Minister's budget vote, Pieter van Dalen (DA, MP) stated that he had been informed that Minister Rob Davies had been instructed by Cabinet to rescue fisheries from the woeful Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Van Dalen now advises that he can confirm that Minister Rob Davies has in fact been deployed to assume a number of key responsibilities and functions from Joemat-Pettersson. It is of course entirely unclear how this "deployment" is to function in law and in practice. Fisheries management is already schizophrenic with functions under the Marine Living Resources Act split between the fisheries and environmental affairs ministers.

Instead of dismissing Joemat-Pettersson, will the President really act to compound the confusion and mayhem by adding a third minister to the MLRA pot? Imagine, being an official at DAFF? Who is your Minister!

The wonderful confusion and mayhem that is our government. Guided solely by patronage networks and self interest.

Thank-you Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Thank-you Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her cadres at DAFF (including Ms Mymoena Poggenpoel) for helping to collapse the South African lobster industry, particularly the nearshore artisinal fishery. Food Lovers Market has announced that it will no longer be selling the famed West Coast Rock Lobster in its stores.

One can assume that all the major retailers, leading hotels and restaurants will follow suit.


FOOD LOVER'S MARKET WILL NO LONGER STOCK WEST COAST ROCK LOBSTER AS OF APRIL
Food Lover's Market has announced that it will stop selling West Coast Rock Lobster in its stores. This is in response to the recent reports of the dire state of the West Coast Rock Lobster resource. This means that Food Lover's Market will no longer be purchasing Rock Lobster for resale and will sell out its existing stock - as of 15 April 2013 it will no longer stock the product.

This decision is in line with Food Lover's Market's Sustainable Seafood Policy and Commitments which were developed as a key component of its partnership with WWF-SASSI. Visit here for more information

Joemat-Pettersson costs Lobster its SASSI Green Status

Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's reckless and unlawful conduct last year which saw her department's managers unlawfully amend the west coast rock lobster TAC and thus ignore her own department's scientific advice, has now resulted in the WWF-SASSI programme downgrading lobster from its green list to orange, effectively threatening the continued export of lobsters to the EU, North American and other markets concerned about sustainability. This of course will not impact exports to China. 

The downgrading will certainly hit small-scale lobster fishers the hardest and is yet another indication how - despite all the empty populist rhetoric from this Minister about addressing poverty and unemployment and empowering small-scale fishers - Minister Joemat-Pettersson and her band of deployed cadres are without doubt the greatest threat to the sustainability of the SA fishing industry (large and small-scale).

By listing lobster on the orange list, SASSI is effectively telling consumers to not eat the famed west coast rock lobster and instead seek an alternative and more sustainable option. This listing will be devastating for legal small-scale and interim relief quota holders who will now find it impossible to sell their catches locally to responsible hotels and restaurants. The effect will be that small-scale fishers will be increasingly forced to turn to industrial operators who have the resources to pack lobsters for the export market in China and thus reduce incomes further and increase reliance on big industry. So much for small-scale fisher empowerment, Minister! (or is this consequence intentional and by design?)

The WWF emphasised that “[t]he sustainable and responsible management of South Africa’s marine resources needs evidence-based decision making. This assessment process has shown how the lack of an observer programme and regular at-sea enforcement as well as inconsistent biomass surveys can negatively impact the sustainable management of our fisheries.”

Considering the rate at which inshore fish stocks have been descimated under this admionistration's reign, the 2012 small-scale fishing policy will shortly be rendered unimplementable because of a lack of nearshore fish - never-mind the absence of a coherent fisheries management plan. Period. 
  

Fisheries Minister's Budget 2013

The Fisheries Minister put her department's budget to Parliament on 29 May 2013 for the annual budget vote, which was subsequently approved by an ANC-led majority vote. 

What, if anything does the budget say? Well, it actually says nothing of substance. Did we really expect anything of substance from this Minister? 

The only notable bit of news is that the fisheries budget is set at R434 million including salaries and vessel operational and management costs. The Minister's budget was silent on four key crises afflicting her department. Not a word was said on -


  • the fishery patrol and research vessels, their status, what repairs have been effected to them to date, at what cost, and when they are expected to sail. Silence.
  • the status of the observer programme which is supposed to be up and running according to DAFF's undertakings to the Marine Stewardship Council by June 2013 (ie by next week). Feike understands that the observer programme tenders have now lapsed and the department has slashed the observer programme budget, which could render the programme obsolete. Silence.
  • rampant poaching afflicting abalone, lobsters and sharks (for fins). Silence. 
  • staff vacancies including the ever-vacant posts of DDG of Fisheries (currently occupied on an acting basis by a person with a Grade 12 qualification only and no fisheries management knowledge or experience but he is a senior member of the ANC's Military Veterans) and head of fisheries management. Both of these posts are critical to any successful rights allocation process. Silence. 
Talking about rights allocation, the Minister barely even mentioned this most important process that is supposed to under full swing presently but actually lurches from one ad-hoc process, event and decision to another. This BLOG has repeatedly stated that the current rights allocation process is chaotic and unlawful. This would perhaps explain the Minister's refusal to say anything substantial about it. There is nothing decent to say about it especially since it is now openly opposed by academics, small-scale fishers, NGO's and industry. The only apparent praise singer for the Minister is one Timothy Jacobs of the ANC Western Cape Economic Transformation and Rural Development Sub-committee.

Further, staying with the rights allocation process, the Minister failed to even mention the budget for this process (considering that this was a budget vote and the 2013 rights allocating process would be the single most expensive line item). 

The Minister actually spent more time thanking her children and child minder than she spent addressing fisheries issues. In our view, the budget speech was exactly what we have come to expect from the fisheries department and its Minister.  Empty and pointless.

Perhaps the most useful bit of information came from Pieter van Dalen of the DA who mentioned during the debate component of the budget presentation that Minister Rob Davies has been instructed by Cabinet to intervene in the current chaos caused by Tina Joemat-Pettersson at Fisheries. Hopefully this leads to Joemat-Pettersson's removal. [She could be appointed CEO of I&J as we hear their CEO has stepped down (he was a aging white male - the worst kind there is) or she could even be appointed Editor of the Cape Times now that Sekunjalo has bought (Soon Not So) Independent Newspapers]. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DA's Pieter Van Dalen's Fisheries Budget Vote Speech

Below is Pieter van Dalen's (DA, MP) fisheries budget speech. The DA did not support the DAFF budget vote. The Minister's complete budget speech is available at www.daff.gov.za


"Mr Chairperson
The Fishing Communities are suffering tremendously.  My experience with them has made me realise that Government is failing them dismally. Today I want to dedicate my speech to the fishing community of Paternoster. Recently two fishermen from Paternoster got lost at sea for three days. Christie and his son Brendon had to suffer this hardship and near-death experience because of the ill-defined and badly-conceptualised policies of the Department of Fisheries. 
Ek wil hulle welkom heet hier vandag Christie en Brenden Jordaan is die twee vissermanne wat weggeraak het en na 3 angswekkende dae op die see in dik mis weer teruggevind is. By hulle is hulle vrou en moeder Brenda wat self 3 dae beproef is en ander vissers Pieter Coraizin, Naomie en Charls. Voorsitter hierdie mense is die sout van die aarde en is hoogs gespesialiseerde vakmanne in die gebied van visvang. Hulle spandeer die grootste gedeelte van hulle lewe op die see. Hulle is Suid Afrika se vissermanne. Maar voorsitter in die nuwe Suid Afrika word hulle gesien as plakkers ,“poachers” en as armlastig. Hierdie mense van Parternoster is moeg gebaklei om hulle lewenstandaard te handhaaf. Hulle kinders en families ervaar die vernietigende effekte van die wetgewing van die department. 
Paternoster en sy vissermanne is n hegte gemeenskap wat saam bly is as die vis loop en saam huil as van hulle vissermanne en kinders nie weer terugkeer van die see nie. Hulle trotseer elke dag die gevaarlike waters van die see om kos op die tafel sit en ‘n ekstra geldjie probeer verdien om die kinders skool toe te stuur en om mediese hulp te kry as hulle siek is. Hulle het agteruit gegaan in die nuwe Suid Afrika en is nou geklassifiseer as “poacher’s en kriminele”. 
Hoekom, Agbare Minister, word hulle hoogs gespesialiseerde kennis nog nie erken en het u nie hulle hand gevat om hulle menswaardighied terug te gee nie. Hulle vra regtig nie so baie nie. Voorsitter. U het vandag my versekering dat ek dit nou my missie gaan maak en gaan baklei dat die bloed so loop in hierdie parlement om hierdie onreg teen ons vissersgemeenskappe reg te stel.  
First I will fight for these fishermen to be recognised for the highly specialised task they do. They must be recognised for the important role they have to play in the food security of South Africa. We need to recognise their skills and give them recognition of prior learning against existing unit standards. We must get schooling institutions to put fishing on their curriculum as a subject. Schools in coastal areas must make it interesting for learners to stay in school and the model of FET institutions that focus on agriculture should be extended to cover fisheries. I will go out and engage the industry to ensure that training and assessment are made accessible and delivered locally. Furthermore, local experts should be trained and employed as assessors to ensure authentic expertise. And local indigenous knowledge should be consulted in the generation and development of new and further unit standards. 
Secondly I will fight to remove the restrictions of office hours on our fishermen. Did you know that this department and yes you honourable Minister has made it law that you may only catch fish in office hours as the inspectors only work office hours. How I ask you minister is it possible that you expect the fishermen to only work office hours. The tide, the wind, the mist and fish do not keep office hours and don’t listen to your commands. The fish actually bite very early in the morning and the wind is on its calmest at 2 am. This is the time when fishermen usually all over the world go to sea. Usually by the time you Hon Minister wake up the fisherman are on their way back to shore. This is now punishable with a fine of R2000. This is a disgrace.  
Thirdly you have stopped the fishermen to catch more than one species per trip. So what now happens is that the fisherman has to decide beforehand what it is he wants to catch? If it is rock lobster he must take his nets and he is not allowed to have his net onboard if he goes out for line fishing. So if the fish don’t bite the day they cannot drop their nets on their way home and catch some rock lobster as they have been doing all there life. This makes it virtually uneconomical to fish the 167 kg that you have decided that they must live off. The petrol price is up and this has forced them to now steal more to just survive and pay for the petrol which incidentally includes a lot of levies for the roads and road accident fund of which they have no benefit. A’ but they can claim it back or get a rebate from SARS you will say. But minister this 167kg would translate to about R25 000.00 per year and therefore you don’t qualify to pay or claim back from tax. Take of your cost of going to sea and buying your petrol, bait and safety equipment then they are left with less than R10 000.00 per annum. Nobody can live, send their children to school and hospital on this pittance. This must be relooked at and I suggest that 500 Kg per year will go some way in solving this problem and be sufficient in this day and age. 
Voorsitter dit bring my nou na die punt van die nuwe Kleinskaalse Vissers beleid wat u voorstel. U wil he dat daar weer teruggegaan word na Ko-operasies wat ons al telkemale in SA probeer het en nie werk nie. Sien u wil nie regtig na die welstand van die vissers omsien nie. U wil he dat hulle hulle kwotas in een pot gooi en dan weer moet gaan baklei vir hulle deel. Dan wil u he dat hulle die bietjie geld wat hulle nou verdien moet deel met die hele gemeenskap om sodoende almal n stukkie te gee. Hierdie plan is gedoem om te faal soos die geskiedenis ons geleer het. Verder agbare Minister gaan u regstreeks teen die bevinding en aanbeveling van die Nasionale ontwillelings plan en die van hierdie kommitee soos gemaak op 16 May 2012 en deur hierdie parlement bekragtig is om nie Ko-operasies in te stel nie. Hoe durf u om te dink dat u beter as die vissermanne en hierdie parlement weet wat die beste is.  
Die visie van die nuwe beleid is dat meer mense gaan regte  kry en dat dit al die sosiale problem van die land gaan oplos. Dit is beloftes wat u gemaak het Agbare Minister en die verwagting is nou gevestig. Die realiteit is egter dat die vis voorraad onder geweldige druk is en dat die kwotas alreeds te min is. Kan u ons miskien antwoord en meedeel waar hierdie klomp vis vandaan gaan kom wat u belowe het of gaan u die kwotas kleiner maak as wat dit nou is? 
Voorsitter daar is n ou Chinese gesegde wat sĂȘ: Gee 'n man 'n vis, dan voer  jy hom vir 'n dag. As jy hom 'n visstok gee om mee vis te vang, dan voer hy homself vir 'n leeftyd. Ongelukkig het u soos die meeste mense van Suid Afrika, sodra hulle ryk, geleerd is en n magsposisie beklee, hulle rug op hulle eie mense draai, en gerieflikheids onthalwe vergeet waar U vandaan kom. Dit sal my misie wees om die vissermanne te bemagtig om hulle self uit armmoede te haal en van die welsyn sisteem af te haal sodat hy na homself en sy familie kan omsien en sodoende sy menswaardigheid terug te kan eis en net soos die meeste Suid Afrikaners n trotse patriot te kan wees. Dit was duidelik te veel van u gevra Agbare Minister. Indien u regtig wou sou u met die mag wat u nou tot u beskikking het dit maklik kon verander. Waarom het u dit nie verander nie? Kan u dit aan die vissermense van Paternoster verduidelik in plek om Politiek te praat en almal behalwe uself te blameer. Politiek kan nie gevang word nie. Politiek kan nie verhandel word nie. Politiek kan ook nie geeet word nie. 
Ons verwelkom u aankondiging gister vir die uitstel van die komentaarlewering datum en publieke deelname prosese tot 14 Junie. Mag ek verder vra dat die Department nou na al die regte vissergemeenskappe aan die kusdorpe, insluitend Paternoster gaan besoek en uitvind wat dit is wat hulle verwag en wil he van die Klein Skaalse Vissers beleid.  
Die DA verwelkom ook die nuus dat Minister Rob Davies gestuur is om die department van Vissereie te red van totale ondergang aan die hand van Agbare Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Graag wil ons die hoop uitspreek dat die take wat hy reeds oorgeneem het nou beter hanteer sal word in die belang van die vissergemeenskappe. Ons kan u verder die versekering gee dat ons hierdie verwikkelinge met valk oe gaan dop hou. 
Voorsitter ek dank u"

Fallacies rule the Minister's Budget Vote

The Minister's budget vote and the speech in support by Lulu Johnson of the ANC repeat two fundamental falsehoods. The Minister and her department have clearly decided to pretend that they are the saviors of small-scale fishers. In support of this fallacy, they have repeatedly made two false statements.

FALLACY 1. The small-scale fishing policy and subsequent proposed amendments to the MLRA represent the first  ever interventions by the SA government to protect and acknowledge small-scale fishers. FACT: This is false for two reasons. Firstly, the fisheries policy of July 2001 explicitly recognised a specific regulatory regime and rights allocation process for small-scale commercial or artisinal fishers. Second, in 2005, the cluster management system introduced by the General Fisheries Policy further ring-fenced and recognised small-scale fishers thus exclusively allocating more than 73% of all fishing quotas to small-scale fishers.

FALLACY 2. The department intends allocating 70% of fishing rights to small-scale fishers. FACT: In 2005, more than 73% of all fishing quotas were allocated to artisinal and small-scale fishers in the Cluster C and Cluster D fisheries and line fishery.

The proposed draft fishing policies will in fact significantly prejudice and expose small-scale fishers to exploitation and fronting by breaking down the carefully constructed regulatory safeguards that protect small-scale and artisinal fishers under the 2005 General Fisheries Policy. By proposing to allow companies, close corporations, trusts, and co-operatives to access small scale fishing rights will certainly allow directors of large (fishing) corporations, lawyers, teachers, builders, departmental officials and other non-fishers to freely access quotas by hiding behind the veil of corporate identity or blind trusts. So it is unclear how this department and its minister will further protect the interests of small-scale fishers.

The Minister's proposed legal framework will certainly destroy small-scale fishers and allow for large enterprises to usurp small-scale fishing quotas. The budget vote and supporting rhetoric amounts to nothing more than an attempt to continue repeating fallacies in the hope that it becomes the accepted word.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Urgent Notice: Comment Period Extended

The Minister of Fisheries has announced in a series of Gazettes published on 27 May 2013 that the comment period for - 


  • the draft general fisheries policies (2013);
  • each of the 8 draft sector policies (2013); and
  • the draft MLRA amendment bill, 2013
has been extended to 14 June 2013. 

The extension of the comment period has to be welcomed but in our view does not correct the serious legal deficiencies that afflicted the public consultation process which has been seriously prejudicial and exclusionary particularly to small-scale right holders along the west coast and the Overberg region. 

However, one must now again question the Minister and her department on their stated objective of allocating fishing rights before they expire on 31 December 2013. Assuming that no interested party halts the current process by means of an interdict, the department must still overcome the following standard procedural hurdles:

1. Draft application forms have not yet been gazetted for comment. The draft tuna pole application form  which was informally handed out on 27 May 2013 to some 25 persons, indicates that the form is at best weeks away from formal gazetting and a notice and comment period. The only form made available was for "medium term right holders". The new entrant form was not discussed. 

2. The department has not yet gazetted its proposed application fees and grant of right fees for public comment either. Even once the public consultation process has concluded, the draft fees must be submitted to the Minister of Finance for formal approval. 

3. Once the draft policies and application forms have been finalised (assuming mid July), they need to be formally submitted to Cabinet for approval in terms of the Constitution. Technically, the entire suite of policies and forms are submitted to Cabinet's Economic and Social Cluster for initial study and comment. Assuming that this cluster approves the suite of policies and forms without amendment, Cabinet will then meet to debate and approve the policies and forms. In 2005, this process took just over 3 months. 

Based on the current timeframes and assuming that there are no objections at an inter-Ministerial level, Cabinet could approve the suite of policies and forms by the end of October. 

4. The gazette inviting applications could then be published during October and prospective applicants will have to be given no less than 40-60 days to complete the forms and submit these. We will now be at the end of December 2013. This is in any case unrealistic considering the time of the year and end of fishing seasons. 

5. Applications will then be submitted by hand during January 2014 (assuming departmental staff are not on leave). Considering that the department will be relying entirely on its own staff to manually receive and data capture each field of each application form for the purposes of being able to comparatively score and balance applicants by sector,  it is anyone's guess as to how long that will take.

But history and past performance are important indicators. Let us consider the manual but considerably simpler permit allocation process for the boat-based whale watching and white shark cage diving sectors. It must however be noted that the environmental affairs department (which was also in charge of fisheries at that time) utilised the expertise of the Resolve Group to administer and advise on these two processes, which included the use of independent lawyers to evaluate and score the applications. The permit allocation process adopted the long term rights allocation process framework (as well). 

The application process commenced in August 2009. In total, a mere 77 applicants applied for permits. A decision on who would be provisionally granted permits was only announced in June 2010 - 10 months after applications were invited. The Minister finally decided the appeals and permit allocations in April 2011 - almost 2 years after the invitation to apply for the permits was first gazetted. And to date, the Minister's decision on a white shark cage diving permit has been been set aside by the Western Cape High Court and 3 further review applications seem set to follow suit. 

The fisheries department will not be receiving 77 relatively simple whale watching and shark cage diving permit applications. It will help not only the department and its Minister but importantly job-supporting and wage-paying right holders that these unavoidable process realities are recognised and addressed honestly and openly. 

...And let us not forget that the draft policies seek to allocate fishing rights to co-operatives which is presently not permitted under the MLRA. Accordingly, the entire suite of fishing policies is dependent on a Parliamentary amendment to the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998. Cabinet cannot lawfully consider and pass policies that provide for co-operatives until the MLRA is amended by Parliament. Factoring an amendment to the MLRA into the equation, it is impossible to understand how the department can continue to insist that a rights allocation process can be undertaken by December 2013 let alone before the next General Elections in mid 2014. 

The department will be addressing the Portfolio Committee on Fisheries on Tuesday, 10 June 2013 between 9:00 and 13h00 on the rights allocation process. Will it finally recognise these process constraints?  



 

2013 Rights Allocation Process: An Update

The Fisheries Department held an informal meeting on 27 May 2013 to discuss the draft tuna pole application form. The meeting was chaired by the Department's Craig Smith and proved to be a rather useful meeting aimed at discussing and conceptualising a draft application form for the fishery. The meeting was attended by approximately 25 persons from the pole sector.

The draft application form presented was simply printout of the 2005 application form complete with out-dated references to medium term right holder applicants, right holder conduct during the 2002-2005 period etc. In short, the draft application form like the draft policies are at an early conceptualisation phase. The meeting yesterday, like the consultation meetings on the draft policies before that, was a meeting that can politely only be described as an early conceptualisation meeting; a meeting at which the department itself had little idea as to process, policy or timelines but was seeking industry input and bouncing ideas about prior to a formal consultation process on serious policies and application forms.

From previous rights allocation process experience, this important idea generation and conceptualisation phase usually starts about 18 to 24 months before the allocation deadline ... not 6 months.

So the meeting yesterday referred to the possibility of allocating rights by February 2014. What?

The draft form itself makes it plainly clear that what the department is attempting to do is to fit a VW Citi Golf body onto the engine and chassis of a Bugatti Veyron. You can try and force a fit but its going to look really bad and it's not going to work at all. The draft application form does not relate to the draft policy which, for example, makes provision for the allocation of fishing rights to co-operatives and individuals in the tuna pole fishery. The draft application has not been conceptualised or structured to cater for this obviously. The Schedule Notes and Explanatory Memoranda were designed for a process that simply is not the present one. The mismatch and irrelevance are profound.

Again, as is the case with the draft policies, it is simply not possible to force fit the current badly planned, late and visionless process over the framework of an allocation process that was designed over a period of 3 years and underscored by a comprehensive IT and software foundation designed specifically to receive, read and extract specific data from pre-identified fields in each sector form so as to immediately provide each decision-maker with a comprehensive profile of all applicants in each sector.

Where is the department's own IT system for this process? How will they receive application forms, data capture all the applicable data so as to understand the various quintiles and means of right holder transformation levels, investments, exploitation levels and so on? What is understood is that the department is going to rely on its own staff in resource management to manually input each data field into an Excel spreadsheet! Can you imagine the error rate for such a manual and tedious process? How long will that process take assuming a relatively conservative estimation that between 5000 and 10,000 persons will apply fishing rights? And if they are going to use their own internal staff for this process, who is going to process and administer the day-to-day work of receiving and issuing fishing permits, export permits, licences etc?

One can only conclude again that based on the discussions on the draft application form presented to the 25 tuna pole right holders that attended yesterday's meeting, a fair and proper rights allocation process is many, many months away, maybe more.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Government Confused: Who is in charge of the BBWW & WSCD Sectors?

We read from the draft MLRA amendment bill many strange and bizarre things. One of the more bizarre and confused provisions is the idea by the Minister of Fisheries that persons engaged in "non-consumptive use" will have to apply for a "right" to do so under section 18 of the MLRA. 

Now, of course, the Minister does not define what "non-consumptive use" entails.  However, assuming  that "non-consumptive use" actually refers to what we in the industry refer to as boat-based whale and dolphin watching (ie watching marine mammals) and white shark cage diving, then the Minister of Fisheries is going to really upset the Minister of Environmental Affairs because she claims that she is in charge of whales, turtles, dolphins and those tourist attracting great white sharks. 

And the Minister of Environmental Affairs will have good reason for being angry because just last year,  Tina Monica Joemat-Pettersson said on oath before the Western Cape High Court that she has nothing to do with these mammals and sharks, confirming in magnificent English (not that nonsense used in the draft policies and the MLRA amendment bill) that "[i]n line with the provisions of the proclamation, I do not consider that (ie the regulation of whale watching and shark cage diving) to be within the purview of my powers and functions but rather within those of the [Minister of DEA]". 

Eish, and now she wants to not only require whale watchers and shark cage divers to have a simple section 13 permit, they must apply for section 18 rights as well. 

To confound the whale watching and white shark diving sectors even further, the Minister of Environmental Affairs is presently seeking public comment on a draft set of regulations published under the Biodiversity Act (and not the MLRA) that will incorporate the regulation and management of these sectors under the draft Threatened and Protected Species Regulations.

So who is actually in charge of regulating the BBWW and WSCD sectors? The Minister of Fisheries or  the Minister of Environmental Affairs? Can industry choose? 

(For the sake of the sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales, we hope that its not tantrum tina. She may just decide to relocate some whales and turtles to Hartebeespoort Dam in her bid to equitably spread the fish away from the Western Cape). 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Comment on the Draft MLRA Amendment Bill

Feike has submitted its comments on the draft MLRA Amendment Bill. Our comments are quite lengthy and legally technical. A copy of our comments are available on request. We provide below a summary of our principal concerns and objections.

1. The comment period is hopelessly too short. South African law requires consultation on such matters to be fair and adequate. The draft bill is extremely lengthy (48 provisions long) and complex and affects a number of very different constituencies - commercial, small-scale, subsistence and rural fishers, recreational fishers and fish farmers. Further, the draft bill is also published for comment at the same time the fishing industry is considering a raft of fishing policies and preparing for the allocation of long term fishing rights. The comment period of less than 30 days is unlawful as it is contrary to the requirements of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. 

2. According to the department, it intends to submit the finalised draft bill to Parliament by August 2013. On the department's own version, it is impossible that the draft bill could be considered, voted on and passed into law before the end of 2014 especially since Parliament will have to undertake its own consultation processes which will necessarily have to involve taking the draft bill (which must still be translated into at least Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa) to rural and local constituencies. And remember that we are no more than 12 months from the next General Elections. It is even more unlikely that Parliament will consider a bill that removes all reference and mention to "subsistence fishers" of which there are more than 7000 in KZN and the Eastern Cape. 

4. Without the amendment bill being passed into law (ie passed by Parliament and actually signed into law by the President), the current draft policies that make provision for the allocation of fishing rights to co-operatives cannot be approved by Cabinet as to do so will be unlawful as the MLRA does not allow for fishing rights to be allocated to co-operatives. 

5. It is also our view that the Minister of Fisheries cannot unilaterally amend the MLRA as she "shares" administrative powers with the Minister of Environmental Affairs. Accordingly, any amendment to the MLRA must be submitted jointly to Parliament's fisheries and environmental portfolio committees for consideration! This will necessarily delay any amendment process even further.

6. The extreme bias toward small-scale fishery objectives and principles to the complete exclusion of commercial fisheries is not only unbalanced but contradictory to the National Development Plan.

7. The draft bill also deletes reference to aquaculture rights and subsistence fishing without any transitional provisions to cater for the ongoing regulation and management of these sectors. These are serious flaws could cause serious damage to the aquaculture sector in particular and force subsistence fishers into criminality and poaching.

8. The draft bill proposes the creation of a "Review Board". The proposed “review board” is ill-advised as it will only compound the already slow and bureaucratic administrative appeals process. It will only create an unnecessary and unwarranted layer of bureaucracy that is not needed. The creation of a “review board” should be abandoned.

Our conclusions are that -


  • The draft bill is extremely poorly drafted and requires substantial editing and redrafting.
  • The draft bill seeks to substantially hinder effective decision-making processes by creating unwarranted and ill-advised layers of bureaucracy such as the review board.
  • Fisheries management requires rapid, transparent and regular decision-making and the codification of rules and amendments. In this regard, the draft bill ought to recognise the promulgation of “policy circulars” to fast-track policy amendments and ensure that fishery management practices remain relevant and in line with best practices.
  • Further, it is uncertain to what extent the 1998 Fisheries Regulations have also been reviewed and will be amended. The MLRA cannot be amended without concurrent and substantial amendment of the Fisheries Regulations.

Tuna Pole Fishery Gets 15 Years

We have commented previously on the irrationality of proposing a 7 year duration for the fishing quotas intended for allocation later this year. 

However, one of the least black empowered fishery sectors - the tuna pole fishery - will be allocated rights for 15 years according to the draft fishing policy. Now this really places DAFF on the wrong footing. The draft tuna pole policy states that, "having regard to the new investment in vessels right holder" - (the failure of language here is normal and we reckon is part of DAFF' attempts at introducing a new language called Craplish which has been used extensively throughout the draft policies and draft Amendment Bill) - rights will be allocated for a period of 15 years (1 February 2014 - 31 January 2029).

How does DAFF justify allocating 15 year long fishing rights to the tuna pole fishery but not to the other 7 sectors? And DAFF cannot now reduce the allocation period in the final version of the tuna policy, principally because the comment period has closed and of course it is unlikely that anyone would have objected to their current 8 year right in the tuna pole fishery being extended to 2029! 

DAFF will be hard pressed to not amend the remaining draft fishing policies to increase the fishing right duration period to 15 years as well. The squid and line fish industries have a strong legal case now for 15 year rights as well. 

CONSULTATION: On 20 May 2013, the department issued an email to certain persons informing them of an ad-hoc series of tuna pole policy consultation meetings in Durban, Lamberts Bay and Port Elizabeth. These meetings are clearly a panicked and extra-legal response to Feike's criticisms that the initial solitary formal consultation meeting for the tuna pole fishery was restricted to only Cape Town. The most significant problem with these ad-hoc additional meetings on 22, 23 and 24 May, is that the gazetted date for comment on the policy has now passed and the comment period has closed.  

The entire consultation and comment process coupled with the out-dated copy-and-paste policies written in Craplish are just a mess. It all lacks coherence, thought and planning. There is no process framework with clear timelines and achievable outcomes. Confusion and contradiction are everywhere. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

We Laugh at DAFF at our Collective Peril

It would indeed be funny if it was not so damn tragic and threatening to thousands of livelihoods. Yes, the publication over the past few weeks of DAFF's bad cut-and-paste policies, complete with policy objectives that "... most importantly ... please, praise and glorify the one who provided and gave man the power to rule over the fish..." may be vilified and laughed at but the sad and awful reality is that these jokers employed as senior civil servants are actually in charge of a multi-billion rand fishing industry that employs thousands of important jobs. 

In the Western Cape alone, where more than 90% of all commercial fishing activity is based, the loss of 10,000 jobs would increase regional unemployment by 1% from the current level of 23% which is lower than the national average of 25% but still appallingly high. Currently, DAFF's joker rights allocation process and draft policies threaten more than 1000 quotas and probably more than 10,000 jobs and incomes (both directly and indirectly dependent on these quotas). 

The obvious question is where has the fishing industry been over the past 2 years when DAFF ought to have started preparing for the present rights allocation process? (We wont bother with asking about the whereabouts of that pointless body called the portfolio committee as it is more interested in protecting the Minister of Fisheries from accounting about her imploded department). And why is industry so quiet now (at least outside of the private corridors of vilification)? Perhaps one can understand industry's worry at raising its voice of objection and concern too loudly. The Minister of Fisheries for example used Foodcorp to make a point of showing industry what will happen when you try and challenge her or voice disapproval. And of course, government has repeatedly and openly shown its contempt and disdain for the rule of law in the mining sector when it publicly threatened to revoke mining licenses to companies that did not tow its line. 

The flip-side to this spiral into the abyss of institutional thuggery and illegality is the economic collapse of the fishing industry. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DAFF's 8 Sector Policies: A Bad Case of Being Stuck in 2004

On 14 May 2013, a week after an arbitrary and exclusionary consultation process had commenced on only some of the 8 sector specific fishing policies, the Minister of Fisheries gazetted the draft 8 sector policies for public comment... and in English only. And comment is due on 31 May 2013, providing less than a two week comment period on 8 sector policies which need to be considered with the draft general fisheries policy. The gazette is comprises more than 100 pages.  The unlawfulness of this process is compounded by the fact that the comment period on the draft general policy closed prior to the gazetting of these sector policies which - we were told by the Minister - HAD TO BE READ TOGETHER WITH THE SECTOR POLICIES! 

The unlawfulness of the consultation process has been even further compounded by the Minister's unashamedly hypocritical and exclusionary consultation process. We have pointed out in a previous BLOG that the Minister has consciously decided to not consult any tuna or shark fishers in the Northern and Eastern Cape Provinces or along the West Coast and Overberg regions of the Western Cape. Bizarrely, every traditional line fisher along the entire west coast and Northern Cape will be excluded from consultation as well - this region is the heartland of traditional line fishers in the country and the Minister has shown them the middle-finger!  At the so-called Cape Town consultation meeting on the draft line fish policy held at the department's offices in Cape Town yesterday, no more than 50 people attended with even fewer right holders present. Not even the chairman of the linefish association was present at what ought to be the most important sector meeting in more than 8 years! This region is home to more than 290 of the 450 right holders and they are excluded from a consultation process on a policy which will directly impact on their fishing rights and income. 

Proceeding to the substance of the draft sector policies, it is perhaps clear why the department is steering clear of an accessible, transparent and considered consultation process. The draft sector policies are plain rubbish. They are ... and yes we know we sound like stuck records ... are horrible cut-and-paste of the 2005 policies. The cut-and-paste policies are an indictment of a department that has imploded; lacks any intellectual and leadership skills in the field of fisheries management; a department with no clue about the fishing sectors it is supposed to regulate. Take these stated and actual policy "objectives" from the mussel and oyster fishery sector policies - 

"(c) co-manage white mussel fishery with other spheres of government ... and most importantly in a manner that would please, praise and glorify the one who provided and gave man the power to rule over the fish (including white mussels)" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I absolutely kid you not that such absolute rubbish is now part of actual government policy and is the most important policy objective in the mussel and oyster sector. Regardless of the unjustifiable religious connotations of such an objective, how does one end up up measuring compliance with such an objective? Will it be a permit condition that right holders will have to go to Church and glorify and praise "the one" and failure to attend Church will result in a section 28 Notice?! Eish, the agnosts and atheists are screwed.

(Lift jaw; read on.)

For DAFF, time has remained stuck in 2004. As far as DAFF is concerned, nothing has changed in the world of fisheries since 2004 when the current fishing policies were conceptualised and the objectives and criteria put to paper. Could Marty and Doc from the "Back to the Future" movie franchise please come and save us from this nightmare! 

The draft sector policies do admittedly have their own little tweaks which are apparent from the sudden bad formatting and non-sequential numbering and the uncomfortably worded additions to the 2005 policy objectives which just make no sense in the scheme of the draft sector policies. 

Then there are the numerous cringeworthy contradictions that litter the draft policies such as policy statements that exclude certain applicants from applying on one page and permitting them to apply on the very next page! These contradictory policy statements are an indication of a department and top-management at sixes and sevens. It is blatantly apparent that these documents have not undergone the slightest proof-reading or thought (unless our esteemed colleagues at DAFF do not know that an "individual" is also a "natural  person"). Also, someone may want to tell the clever people at DAFF to stop referring to laws that have been repealed since the adoption of the current fishing policies. For example, dont refer to the 1973 Companies Act. There's been a "new" Companies Act in place since 2008! 

The draft policies also seek to reduce the duration of the fishing rights in the eight sectors to 7 years (from the current 8 year period). There is no logical reason for this especially given the fact that black ownership and black empowerment across these fisheries has increased; the economics in each fishery has worsened over the past 8 years given global economic conditions; effort allocations have remained steady or have increased (such as the TAC in the hake handline fishery) over the past 8 years; and there is a legitimate legal expectation that rights would be allocated for the same or longer periods. Given these factors, the only logical and reasonable expectation would be an INCREASE in the duration of the fishing rights and not a decrease. Again, DAFF's proposal for 7 year long rights appears completely arbitrary and contradicted by the very criteria it says has informed the proposed determination of 7-year-long fishing rights. This is another reviewable aspect of the draft policies if finalised. 

The department's continued insistence of opening up the application process to all and sundry, including co-operatives (which is presently illegal), natural persons and trusts in sectors such as the highly capital intensive prawn trawl fishery and, on the other hand, legal entities in marginal artisinal only fishery sectors such as mussels and oysters WITHOUT also amending the entire schema of the draft general fisheries policy and each of the 8 draft sector policies (because of the cut-and-paste job of course) has created a confused and contradictory rights allocation process scheme. For, example the entire 2005 and current Fishing Policy schema is based on a very tidy and clear management system, which provides that - 
  • each of the 22 fisheries are divided up into four management clusters based on socio-economic and biological reasons. The Cluster A and B fisheries (offshore) are reserved for commercial operators where fishing rights are held by companies and close corporations only. Trusts are not permitted to hold fishing rights because of the ability of these structures to front and abuse "beneficiaries". Trusts are the perfect vehicle for example to hide politically-linked beneficiaries and persons who do not wish to be identified. Trusts cannot be permitted to hold fishing rights.  
  • Cluster C comprises high value nearshore fisheries where rights are allocated to individuals only (except the hake handline fishery due its own historical peculiarities). Cluster C right holders may not be involved in any way in any commercial fishery in Cluster A or B and vice-versa in order to protect the artisinal fisheries from commercial abuse and access. 
  • Cluster D comprises low value and economically marginal fisheries such as the oyster, mussel and treknet fisheries. As with Cluster C, rights are only allocated to individuals and the same rules apply as far as cross sector involvement is concerned. 
  • The traditional line fishery is managed outside of the above cluster system because of its inherent unique features of being a fishery that straddles both Cluster B and C. The original line fishery prior to December 2000 comprised tuna line (Cluster B) and hake handline (Cluster C) and thus has attributes that qualify it for special management. In addition, it is the only fishery managed in terms of section 16 of the Marine Living Resources Act as a fishery in need of emergency recovery measures. 

The ill-considered draft fishery policy proposals that now seek to allow any type of person (companies, close corporations, co-operatives, trusts and individuals) to apply for any fishery sector will completely disrupt this management structure which is perpetuated by the draft general fisheries policy. It will cause management anarchy and will subvert the stated intentions of protecting and growing the small-scale fisheries as it will allow commercial companies and close corporations and their shareholders, directors and members to apply for and hold fishing rights in artisinal fisheries or hide these interests in blind trusts, for example. Again, so much for all the empty rhetoric of the small-scale fisheries policy and many of the small-scale fishery developmental objectives that litter the draft general policy and the sector policies. 

On the whole, the draft policy statements, criteria and objectives (other than those that require we praise and glorify the one who gave us power over the fishes!) - 

  • are largely outdated (they were applicable in 2004/2005 but not 8 years later) and irrelevant in 2013 considering the substantial changes in the fisheries economies of a number of sectors (such as the handline hake, tuna and shark fisheries);
  • fail to take into consideration important changes in the economic and social structure of fisheries and as such  continue to perpetuate policy proposal pertaining to vessels, for example, that are no longer applicable; 
  • make provision for fishing right duration periods that are arbitrarily determined and not supported by the draft policies' own duration determination criteria. These proposed 7 year periods should be reconsidered and extended; 
  • are contradictory, ambiguous and lack important detail about the rights application and administration processes; and
  • are incoherent and do not create a understandable and logical fisheries management framework. In particular, we refer to the lack of clarity regarding the types of applicants that may and not apply for rights in sectors understood to form part of the various management clusters. 

We reiterate that the consultative notice and comment process embarked upon by the Minister and her department to date is unquestionably unlawful as it is arbitrary, exclusionary and inadequate. In addition, the substantive texts of the draft sector policies are equally unlawful. These draft texts require substantial revision and updating. In order for this to be done, one requires a comprehensive and extensive series of consultation processes with current and potential operators in each sector to determine and understand, inter alia, the precise extent to which current policy objectives have been met or have not been met and the reasons for this; the appropriateness of vessel size limitations; vessel use in multiple sectors; black ownership and black economic empowerment levels; the economics of each fishery and particularly issues affecting trade and market access and so on. 

To even attempt to allocate fishing rights in terms of policies, rules and principles that were applicable in 2004/2005 in 2013 is not only impractical, it is legally irrational, prejudicial and unlawful. We urge DAFF to urgently seek some half decent legal advice on the appropriateness of proceeding. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

DAFF's Line Fish Policy: 2013

The department's draft traditional line fish policy (2013) - which remains an ungazetted discussion document - is yet another cut-and-paste of the current 2005 Traditional Line Fish Policy. 

The draft policy is simply a regurgitation of the current Policy with a number of arbitrary additional objectives that are unrelated to the current Policy objectives and whether any of these have been met or to what extent the current policy objectives have been surpassed or not achieved. For example, one policy objective states that it is the intention of the department to "lay the foundations for the management of this fishery on a regional basis". Wake Up, DAFF! The foundations for regional fisheries management were laid back in 2005 when this policy objective was first mooted! They are laid; has it worked and what now in 2013? In clause 9.1, the draft policy confirms that South Africa remains committed to implementing an ecosystems approach to fisheries management by ... 2010! So, can we assume that by this failure to correct the cut-and-paste from the current Policy, we have FAILED to implement EAF in the fishery as undertaken back in 2005? 

Another policy objective case-in-point concerns transformation or the "promotion of black traditional line fishers". The most recent (outdated) performance review findings showed that 42% of traditional line fishers as at 2009 were black. How does this compare with transformation levels in 2001, 2003 and 2004 - the previous occasions data was collated on transformation levels in the line fishery? In 2004, black right holders accounted for 35% of traditional line fish operators. What accounted for the 7% increase in black right holders between 2004 and 2009? And how does DAFF intend "promoting" black line fishers and to what levels? 

The draft policy is frankly a poor and ill-considered regurgitation of the current 2005 Policy. For example, the draft policy states that the crew lists will be compiled from the last quarter of 2005! On the subject matter of "crew lists", the department has not still not published the 2005 and subsequent crew lists for any of the fisheries such as tuna pole and squid. Where are the crew lists DAFF? 

A further example of the ill-considered regurgitation is the continued definition of what are suitable and maximum length vessels for the fishery. Once again, DAFF has confirmed that it is so completely out of touch with the realities of the fishery that it continues to define a suitable vessel in terms of criteria that were relevant back in 2005. 

The draft policy again confirms that rights will be allocated to, inter alia, co-operatives despite the fact that the law does not permit this. However, it importantly recognises that individuals will continue to be able to hold fishing rights as recognised by the Marine Living Resources Act. 



Friday, May 10, 2013

Feike's Comments on the Draft General Fisheries Policy: 2013


Feike submitted the following commentary on the draft General Fisheries Policy, 2013.

Despite the expiry of the comment period on the draft General Policy (10 May 2013), the Fisheries Minister has not gazetted a single sector specific fishing policy. Any comment on the draft General Fishing Policy is simply impossible without sight of these sector specific policies. Indeed the entire schema of the draft General Fisheries Policy is premised on the peremptory instruction by the Minister that the General Fisheries Policy must be read together with the applicable fishery specific sector policy.  
The Cover Page of the draft General Policy states that -   
"THIS POLICY MUST BE READ WITH THE APPLICABLE FISHERY SPECIFIC POLICY (available at www.daff.gov.za)" 
Similarly, PART A, Clause 1.1 instructs all readers of the draft General Fishing Policy 2013 that the policy must be read in conjunction with the fishery specific sector policies.  
Not only are the fishery specific policies not presently gazetted; they are not publicly available either at the promised website or at any of DAFF's offices in Cape Town or along the coast. Accordingly, any meaningful comment on the draft General Fishing Policy is impossible. This notwithstanding, -  
1. The draft policy is by and large irrelevant as it is a cut-and-paste of the 2005 General Fisheries Policy. Policy statements and objectives that were valid in 2005 cannot be and are not valid and applicable 8 years later in 2013. A substantially revised general fisheries policy is required for the present rights allocation process.  
2. The draft policy fails to address important management issues such as how outstanding section 28 and section 21 transfer of fishing right applications will be dealt with. 
3. The draft policy does not address important developments in global fisheries management such as port state control measures and how these developments will influence fisheries management and right holder conduct. 
4. The draft policy stipulates that fishing rights will be allocated to co-operatives in small scale fishery sectors but South African law does not permit the allocation of fishing rights to co-operatives and communities.  
5. The draft policy fails to recognise that fishing rights may be allocated to individuals, despite the fact that the MLRA makes explicit provision for this.  
6. The draft policy, read with the Small Scale Fisheries Policy, continues to fail to define which fisheries comprise "small-scale fisheries". The confusion regarding what are "small-scale fisheries" is exacerbated by clause 2.1(a) which stipulates that the draft fisheries policy applies to, inter alia, a list of fisheries presently defined by law as being small-scale commercial or artisinal fisheries (ie those fisheries defined to be part of the Cluster B and C sectors) "...and the small-scale fishery sector". What is the "small-scale fishery sector" and which fisheries comprise this elusive and undefined sector if not the Cluster C and D fishery sectors? 
7. The draft policy has failed to take into consideration important dicta in a number of judicial decisions over the past 8 years and aspects of the draft policy are therefore patently unlawful. 
8. The purpose of the reference in clause 4 to "Key Government Policies" is unclear as none of the identified government policies appear to have influenced any aspect of the draft General Policy. This observation is especially apparent given the fact that none of these "Key Government Policies" existed back in 2005, yet the current draft is identical to the 2005 General Fisheries Policy. In addition, the inexplicable bias toward to small-scale fisheries is contradictory to the National Development Plan. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The DAFF Consultation Circus: Part 2

It has to be a particular combination of utter arrogance and stupidity to commence the second phase of the fishing rights consultation process once again without having notified interested and affected persons of the process or even having gazetted the sector specific policies or application forms. 


The draft application forms and sector policies are nowhere to be found - not on the DAFF website, not at fishery control offices or at DAFF's Customer Services Centre in Cape Town. 

And to compound the illegality of the process, DAFF issued informal emails to certain right holders only the day after the consultation process started in Stillbaai on 8 May - the Stillbaai consultation was on the hake handline fishery only and we understand from those who were able to attend that the draft sector hake handline policy is ... you guessed it ... a another copy-and-paste job of the 2005 hake handline fishery policy! 

And what is the point of the consultation process when the draft policies which are supposed to be the subject of the consultation are not made available BEFORE the meeting? DAFF obviously is of the opinion that people must simply attend, listen to what they say and then collect the food parcels they have on offer (or least had on offer during the general policy consultation process - as if food must placate the bloody fisherman as opposed to answers about this process). That is simply not a legally valid consultation process.

This second phase of the consultation process will not withstand legal scrutiny for the following further reasons:

1. The comment period which ends on 31 May 2013 is too short. Some parties will have 22 days and others will have 13 days to comment on the sector policies. Given the complexity and importance of these processes, such short consultation and comment periods are contrary to the provisions of proper and fair administrative justice under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act; and

2. None of the sector policies have been gazetted or made available for public consumption BEFORE the commencement of the consultation process. For proper and adequate consultation to be realised, these documents ought to have been gazetted in at least two of the country's official languages prior to the commencement of the consultation process. This would allow interested and affected parties to study each draft policy, seek legal or professional counsel on them, attend the consultation meetings and then be able to adequately and properly interrogate the draft texts. That is administratively fair consultation as determined by our courts. 

3. The extremely selective nature of the consultation process is highly prejudicial and unfair. For example, DAFF indicates that it will only consult with right holders and interested parties in Cape Town on the tuna pole sector policy. This would exclude all right holders and potential applicants in areas such as Eastern Cape, the Overberg and West Coast? Do these persons simply not matter? And what about the hundreds of line fish right holders and potential applicants that will be excluded because the DAFF will not be consulting any traditonal line fisherman on the west coast? So much for all the rhetoric about empowering the poor and those outside of Cape Town. By way of comparison, in 2005, 48 coastal venues were visited and communities consulted AFTER the draft general fisheries policy, each of the sector policies and application forms were gazetted in 4 languages and physically made available to communities via the fishery control officers and partner offices such as conservancy groups, NGO's and provincial authorities such as Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. 

4. Finally, the second phase of the consultation process appears to have forgotten about a rights allocation and consultation process for the shark demersal fishery! Has DAFF forgotten about this fishery and its right holders?

Like the first phase of the consultation process on the general fisheries policy, this process can only be described as farcical and chaotic. The consultation process is wholly unlawful and prejudicial to the rights and interests of quota holders and members of coastal fishing villages and towns. The time is approaching to halt this illegality and madness by way of an interdict.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Stevens Appointed as Acting DDG

Desmond Stevens, who was acting Chief Director of Fisheries Resource Management, has now been appointed as the acting DDG of Fisheries despite the fact that he lacks any post matric (Grade 12) qualification and fisheries experience. 

The advertised minimum requirements for the post of DDG requires extensive fisheries knowledge and experience and a post graduate university degree. He has neither but is a member of the ANC's Military Veterans Wing and we reckon that one does need much more than this to qualify for senior appointment in government these days. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Speculation about the next Acting DDG

Feike has been inundated with speculation as to who the next acting DDG of the fisheries branch will be. This is not unexpected considering that this imploded and increasingly pointless branch (they are now going to even hand-over the Sarah Baartman to environmental affairs!) has had 10 acting DDG's to date. We wont consider the grating Greta Apelgren-Narkedien a permanent deployment because she held out for less time than most of the previous actors.

The most common name being speculated to "act' is that of the Minister's lap-dog, Desmond Stevens. Many people are strangely perplexed by this possibility noting that he is "only" a director and so cannot lawfully act at the level of DDG and of course that he does not have any post-matric qualification (but you can blame apartheid for that) and he keeps admitting in public that he knows nothing about fisheries management.

We of course cant understand the reason for the 'perplexion'! Firstly those stupid rules regulating the civil service and qualifications and meeting job requirements are meant to be broken. Just ask Apelgren who told us as much on Carte Blanche. Only the completely naive still think this government is supposed to adhere to any rules and laws. The stupid (ie us) alone must adhere. 

Secondly, there have been 10 DDG's straight who occupied the fancy DDG suite of offices without having the remotest clue about fisheries management. Why must the 11th be expected to know anything. THAT would be just plain unfair and discriminatory. How dare we deny the next acting DDG the benefits of high public office just because he fails to meet a single one of the advertised mandatory criteria for the job.

The only requirements for the job of DDG are that your R12 ANC membership is in order and you are part of the right faction and will tow the line. How else do you explain the types of "deployments" in the civil service that are not even questioned anymore. How do you go from being bad at being the head of department for the department of housing in one province, to being the national head of fisheries (and admitting that you dont have the qualifications for the job) and then being appointed to head up housing in another gullible province? 

And then we scratch our heads and struggle to understand why the rights allocation process is in the dwang despite an 8 year "heads-up"; why for more than 12 months we have not had any fisheries research and patrols conducted by our billion rand fleet of vessels; why not a single new fishery has been declared for more than 9 years despite repeated empty comments about "transformation" and "empowerment" and all that nonsense about helping coastal communities - we are still talking about 22 commercial fisheries when we should be talking about no less than 27 or 29 commercial and small-scale fisheries. 

So dont come here with your counter-revolutionary, imperialist, colonialist, neo-liberal talk about rules, laws and job requirements. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Environmental Affairs will take Possession of the Sarah Baartman

It has been confirmed that the department of environmental affairs (DEA) will re-take control over and possession of the offshore fisheries patrol vessel, the Sarah Baartman. The Sarah Baartman, together with the remaining 2 fisheries research and 3 inshore patrol vessels, remain in Simonstown Harbour. Feike has been informed that the reason for the vessels still remaining in harbour is that SAMSA will not authorise the new service provider to take possession of the vessels. 

It remains unclear as to how the DEA will deploy the vessel as fishery control officers are employed by the fisheries department. However, this minor bureaucratic can be easily attended to and probably has been addressed in the recent memorandum signed between the two departments. The most important benefit is that the Sarah Baartman will be put to sea as the DEA does not bear the same irrational and personal vendetta against Smit Amandla who was able to put the research vessel, Algoa, to sea within a couple of weeks after the fisheries department handed that vessel back to DEA in September 2012.