Masifundise and Coastal Links leaders are pressing for the implementation of agreements reached with Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) officials during a three hour discussion over Interim Relief matters last week.
More than 100 Coastal Links SA members from 15 coastal towns gathered at the DAFF offices in Cape Town on Thursday 27 November to hand over a memorandum over the ongoing mismanagement of the Interim Relief process.
In the memorandum, CLSA said;
“Deep and enduring problems with the Interim Relief system is playing havoc with the lives of thousands of people in Small-scale fishing communities across the Western and Northern Cape.
The late issuing of permits, the inclusion of non-fishers in beneficiary lists and general mismanagement by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) deprives fishers of sustainable livelihoods and is causing conflict in communities. There are also persistent allegations of corruption in the allocation process.”
The delegation demanded the immediate issuing of IR permits and the reinstatement of traditional fishers to beneficiary lists in Struisbaai, Arniston and Pearly Beach. Importantly, the fishers want an immediate end to the flawed Interim Relief system and the rapid implementation of the Small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy.
DAFF officials agreed to meet with a delegation of seven people. They were Christian Adams, the national chairperson of CLSA, Naseegh Jaffer, director of Masifundise Development Trust, Anthony Engel (Arniston), Naomi Cloete (Paternoster), Maria Hoffman (Pearly Beach), John Granfield (Struisbaai) and Sandy Mbale (Khayelitsha).
The delegation went back to the foyer when heavily armed private security and police arrived in a scene reminiscent of the apartheid years. “This kind of kragdadige approach has no place in a democratic system,” said Naseegh Jaffer.
Eventually, the discussions were restored.
In 2005 when the government adopted long-term fishing policies that made no provision for small-scale fishers. Masifundise took the matter to the Equality Court in 2006. By 2007 the court ruled that a new policy must be developed and an interim relief package for small-scale fishers be formulated and implemented. The Interim Relief Permit system was meant to provide temporary relief to fishers who did not benefit from Long Term Rights
Interim Relief arrangements, which began in 2007, were meant to be in place for a year. But the Small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy was only finally adopted in 2012 and the amended MLRA this year, which opened the way for implementation. But there is little progress in the implementation process. Meanwhile the IR system continues – and so do the inefficiencies, mismanagement and general dysfunctionality.
A number of areas have subsequently received permits but the problems in the Overberg have not been resolved yet.
“Coastal Links prefers that these matters be dealt with through dialogue but will be pushed into decisive mass action if agreements are not honoured, court orders are not abided by and legislation is not implemented rapidly,” said Christian Adams.