The third wave of the Coronavirus is sweeping through the small-scale fishing communities of the West Coast and claiming many lives.

According to the province’s Covid-19 dashboard, Matzikama Municipality currently has 134 active cases and Doringbaai accounts for 42% of infections in the municipality. The West Coast town with a population of at least 1 300 had 57 people test positive in three days.

Coastal Links founding member and resident of Doringbaai Hambile Rholoma, who was affectionately known as Papa Chocolate succumbed to Covid-19 on Wednesday 14 July 2021.

“Papa Chocolate was a dear friend of mine. We were together when Coastal Links began we were among the first members. He gave of himself selflessly in everything he did. He personified the struggle of small-scale fishers in the Western Cape and dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of fishers. He was never afraid to speak out against injustice,” said Coastal Links member Peter Owies.

“The infection rate statistics in the West Coast are a cause for serious concern. We implore Coastal Links and the small-scale fishing communities in their entirety  to comply with all COVID-19 precautions,” said Media and Communication Officer from Masifundise Sibongiseni Gwebani.