I have worked through the entire government gazette issued on 20 September 2021 containing 9 draft sector policies and the draft transfer of rights fishing policy.
Should you require detailed advice and analysis on specific policies, you are welcome to contact me. It is simply not possible to draft a blog article setting out that level of analysis and detail.
The overwhelming conclusion having read these draft policies is that they are the product of incorrigible poor intellect and knowledge of our fisheries sectors, economies and communities. None of these policies will withstand any half-decent judicial review. Like the Draft General Policy 2021, these draft policies are crap.
The construction of entire paragraphs is nonsensical and an awful abuse of the English language.
Bad policy that will destroy value chains, jobs, investments and entire fisheries economies are prevalent.
How can you create policy that will exclude an entire vessel fleet in an entire sector? Or deliberately exclude everyone of the top fishing vessels in the tuna pole fishery? Is this deliberate with the intention of sabotaging the fishery by allocating rights to cadres who will then lease out the rights to the excluded top-performers? Or is this incorrigible stupidity and incompetence rolled into sickening levels of arrogance?
Then there are yawning policy gaps. The drafts are silent on how COVID-19 compliance protocols will be considered and scored. This is key to worker safety. Nothing about compliance with COIDA and the Merchant Shipping Act such as the provision of crew contracts, paid leave and crew safety. Nothing is spoken about investments made in green technologies; ecological sustainability; funding of research and development of new fisheries; nothing about rewarding right holders who kept staff employed and paid during the COVID-19 pandemic...
The draft policies are just bad. Badly written. Ambiguous. Unclear. Nonsensical. Zero understanding of the social and economic drivers of specific fisheries. It's so bad, the HAKE DEEP SEA TRAWL policy even gets the 2005 black ownership data shockingly wrong (The Minister could simply have read her predecessor, Marthinus van Schalkwyk's Appeal GPR on the HDST sector in 2006 to confirm the correct black ownership data).
Bad data (well actually no data) produces awful and economically destructive policy and objectives.
Barbara Creecy is renowned for taking criticism as a personal attack on her. But her insistence on backing the stupid; the destructive; the incoherent and the corrupt warrants these attacks. Her refusal to be held accountable will destroy what is left of South Africa's commercial fisheries. The SA fishing industry has to call time now and if she refuses to listen to reason; our courts must step in and slap her down as they have done now repeatedly in the horse mackerel sector.
Creecy has the audacity to now include in black and white in a policy document that objective of her draft policy is to transform the industry by rewarding applicants that have included "military veterans" in their ownership and management structures! How is this even published?
Industry bodies and their members will have to submit strong and well-reasoned responses to these draft policies. These submissions must include alternative, rational and socio-economically justifable policies and criteria to the Minister. Should she fail to abandon the irrational and arbitrary policies that dominate these drafts, industry will have the opportunity to then interdict this process and halt this farcical FRAP.