Small-scale fishers through-out South Africa whose names do not appear on the provisional verified fishers’ lists published for their communities must lodge appeals within the prescribed period of 30 days after the publication of the provisional list.
Naseegh Jaffer, national director of Masifundise Development Trust (MDT) believes that if fishers do not do this, they will lose out, and not be able to fight for inclusion should the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries ultimately publish final lists of verified fishers across the country.
With the signing of the regulations to implement the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP) by President Jacob Zuma in February 2016, DAFF moved swiftly to implement the policy.
By August all communities that filled in ‘expression of interest’ forms were registered and their verification panels made recommendations to DAFF on the verified fishers for the policy.
By the end of August, the first two communities in the Northern Cape had their provisional verified fishers lists published.
At the National Workshop and NEC Meeting of Coastal Links South Africa (CLSA) in September, it was pointed out and it became pertinently clear that some things were not right regarding the implementation of the SSFP.
For starters, the regulations as published in February falls short on issues that are raised within the SSFP and the Amended MLRA of 2014.
For instance, under the policy, fishing communities are to be allocated baskets of fishing rights, but what is supposed to be placed in those baskets are slowly disappearing as DAFF dishes out rights under the current FRAP (Fishing Rights Allocation Process).
Fishers are demanding that rights under FRAP and the SSFP basket allocations should happen at the same time.
The minister has also published a government gazette stating that SSFP rights will only be issued for a three-year period, which may be extended for another two years, giving the impression that after that period no more rights will be allocated under the SSFP.
The rights under the SSFP have been ordered by the Equality Court, it was developed over many years that included small-scale fishers, the government and other role-players, and has been inscribed in law through the Amended MLRA of 2014, and cannot be just taken away by the minister.
The first published list of provisional verified fishers in the Northern Cape have been described as flawed by the communities of Port Nolloth and Hondeklipbaai, and both communities have lodged appeals under the banner of CLSA and each and every excluded fisher from the two communities.
Fishers are adamant that they need to take action around these issues and given DAFF a certain time in which to respond to their demands.
However, Naseegh Jaffer points out that it is important for the fishers and fishing communities to remain within the process.
“It is important to appeal against things that we can appeal against, since we are part of the process. We cannot raise objections after the appeal process is passed if we did not raise our appeals during the appeals process,” said Jaffer.
He points out that it is important to follow the process, and that fishers must make their protests known regarding the unjust approach by DAFF in allocating rights and following processes that are unjust.
The most important appeal process that will kick off in the coming months will be for fishers to individually appeal should they find that their names are not included in the list of verified fishers for their communities.
What will happen is that DAFF, through their Fisheries Development Workers (FDW) in some communities and through other official offices will publish the list of verified fishers for each community.
It will also provide each individual fisher who registered and came to be verified to be part of the SSFP with a letter, to state if they have been verified or not, and to provide the reasons for failing to be verified as bona-fide fishers.
Applicants who failed the verification test will be provided with an appeal form (which you can get here) and a list of supporting documents to be submitted with the appeals.
Fishers must fill in the appeals form and supply the supporting documents that apply to them. Fishers must please note that they must only supply supporting documents that apply to them, and not all the supporting documents listed.
Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of the publication of the list for their communities, and they will have until 4pm on the last day to submit their appeals.
Appeals can either be hand delivered to the nearest DAFF offices, faxed or emailed to:
The Appeal Form can be downloaded at: http://www.small-scalefisheries.co.za/useful-resources/