I have been in constant communication regarding the unrest that erupted in Hout Bay over the weekend following the SAPS Task Force anti-poaching operation on Friday last week (10 August 2018), which resulted in of the three fisherman drowning in the ocean.
The social unrest by community has been precipitated by the belief that our officials were responsible for such an operation and the torching of our government offices including the torching of one of our official’s house, must be understood in this context. My office and senior officials have been engaging with various stakeholders in this regard.
Our attempts to have meetings with the community has been difficult because of the emotions still running very high, except engagement with community leaders. I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the family of the drawn fisherman. Police who specializes on body search in waters are still looking for the body and my Department is in constant communication with them. At an appropriate time to the family, I am intending visiting them to express our sympathy as government.
This incident of Hout Bay ( the arrest of illegal fishermen and the missing body in the sea) highlights the urgency with which my Department should conclude the Allocation of Fishing Rights to Rights Process to the Small Scale Fisherman and coastal communities who fish for the living.
Acceleration of Allocation of Fishing Rights to the Small Scale Fisheries.
I have issued the directives to the Department senior officials to begin the Accelerated process of allocation of fishing rights in our four (4) coastal provinces to Small Scale Fisheries and coastal communities beginning this coming September.
The impediments in the West Coast Rock Lobster Fishing Rights Allocation Process (WCRL/FRAP) has been the “tip-offs” from community about many of those that we were to allocate, as being fronts for big established companies. An Appeal Process has to be put in place to deal with these, so that we empower the real previously disadvantaged communities, not the big players through the backdoor. I have directed that such an Appeals process be finalized by 31 August 2018. The West Coast Rock Lobster season commences on 1 December and we should be ready for Allocations. The three (3) other Coastal provinces ( Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape) will be allocated rights to small scale fisheries in this quarter beginning from September 2018.
Consistent with the Marine Living Resources Act as amended, I am committed to fast track the entry of those who were disadvantaged to the Fishing sector. I want to see diversification and new enterprises emerging from the previously disadvantaged players. The Marine resources harvesting cannot be an exclusive reserve of the big few companies, government as the custodian of the marine life and ocean has a moral obligation to change the status quo.
For more details :
Spokesperson for the Ministry
Cell: 083 952 9723