80 representatives representing about 50 fishing communities, including inland fisheries, in South Africa, attended the Masifundise/Coastal Links Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Cape Town end of May.

The AGM, held at Fountains Hotel on May 27 saw a new National Executive Committee (NEC) for CLSA being elected and new Provincial Committee members being given the task to help lead the grassroots organisation move forward.

Preceded by a three-day national workshop, which enabled CLSA members to discuss issues of importance, the community representatives raised strong views regarding issues fisher communities are facing in their respective communities.

Coastal Links South Africa represents more than 4 000 small-scale fishers in four coastal provinces across South Africa. Masifundise, a public benefit organisation, serves as the secretariat of CLSA. Operationally, the organisations work as one entity.

The Small-Scale Fisheries Policy formed part of the agenda, including the welcoming of inland fishers to CLSA and the possible red listing of West Coast Rock Lobster by the World Wide Fund for Nature Conservation SASSI programme.

Simangaliso Mageba, from KZN was elected as the National Chair of CLSA, while the chairperson for the Masifundise/Coastal Links board remain Mr, George Monelo Bongo.

After Deliberation of the national workshop the AGM agreed to 8 resolutions:

  1. To ensure that a sound understanding of the legal and financial aspects of legal entities under the Small Scale Fisheries policy is built so that community members are well informed about their rights, responsibilities, obligations and opportunities as members of legal entities.
  2. To ensure that the understanding of and creation of opportunities throughout the value chain, especially for women and youth is built on.
  3. To ensure the provision of training for the youth and other community members in the development and maintenance of infrastructure owned by the legal entities (e.g. boats and processing facilities)
  4. To ensure that the necessary capacity is built for members of legal entities to negotiate effectively with business partners, including service providers (for petrol, bait or equipment)
  5. To ensure that members of legal entities, and in particular women from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces who engage in high-risk diving activities are enabled to improve safety standards throughout the value chain.
  6. To embark on a process that educates members of SSF legal entities on managing personal finances.
  7. This AGM acknowledged that the Paternoster Vaalplaas community’s struggle around reclaiming their dispossessed land has been championed and that CLSA shall do anything in its power to assist this community in taking the process ahead.
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