Clarence Oliphant, one of the Vanderkloof Dam fishers from Keurtjieskloof, delivered a powerful speech to the Advisory Group meeting on Thursday, August 18, 2016.

In it he pleads for those sitting in the meeting, and especially the representatives from the South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA) and the South African Sport Anglers and Casting Confederation (SASAC) and representatives of other recreational fishers like the boat owners, to show more empathy for the causes and struggles of the small-scale fishing communities.

He specifically points out that the small scale fishers and the communities they come from have been suffering under apartheid, and that those known as recreational and sports fishers have been given the right to fish on the rivers and dams, while those discriminated against by the apartheid laws were denied to fish, which they have been doing for centuries to provide food on their tables.

The speech was right to the point, hard-hitting and went right to the core of the problem, that South Africa was transformed in 1994, but, that at Vanderkloof there is a serious lack of transformation, and that in their resistance, the recreational fishers want to keep the legacy of apartheid alive, and refuse the necessary transformation to come to Vanderkloof, which is sorely lacking in bringing about change that will make all the people of Vanderkloof feel that they have a shared future.


I am Clarence Oliphant, born in Vanderkloof.

My parents are Sophia and Barend Oliphant.

My mother was born here in Vanderkloof.

My grandparents from my mother’s side were born in Orania.

My parents helped build this community of VDK.

I belong here.

I love fishing,

As a young boy I went fishing with my grandfather in the river.

I am a fisherman.

I am 28 years old, and have lived here all my life click to read more.

I have been waiting for a long time for things to change here in VDK,

The way we fishers are treated when we try to provide for our families is shameful.

For too long we have been made to feel like second class citizens

The days of visitors enjoying the river and dam while we have to suffer and are criminalised for

putting food on the table must end.

We want change – VDK must transform

We the SSF of Vanderkloof wish to express our deep distress and disgust at SACRAA’s letter of

response on the issue of transformation.

Why do we say this?

SACRAA, fully understands that the legislation they are using to put forward their position is

unreformed legislation from the apartheid era and essentially unconstitutional.

The recreational fishery in South Africa was built on racist legislation – legislation that still

lingers on, even today.

During apartheid, legislation supported a path-way for white recreational anglers to fish and

excluded black small scale fishers.

For SACRAA not to acknowledge this very important point is greatly disturbing.  If we cannot

“recognise the injustices of the past” as stated in our constitution, then how do we engage with

an unequal society and hope to bring about change and transformation?

Today, we still experience a racist system in VDK.

Effectively if one was to use our present legislation, small scale fishers can only fish if they act as

recreational fishers.

I am Clarence Oliphant,

I am not a recreational fisher, I do not fish for sport.

My grandfather fished in this river to put food on our table and so do I.

I,  together with other fishers, fish to feed our families.

For SACRAA not to acknowledge this very important point is greatly disturbing.  If we cannot

“recognise the injustices of the past” as stated in our constitution, then how do we engage with

an unequal society and hope to bring about change and transformation?

I am Clarence Oliphant,

I am a fisher,

I am a human being, why can’t you treat me as one!

If SACRAA is not ready to engage with us regarding transformation in a honest and meaningful

way, we, the small-scale fishers of VDK, will mandate Masifundise to take this process forward alone and in the way they do best. They will engage with all of the relevant government departments, including the Minister of Sports and Recreation, civil societies and other stakeholders to ensure that transformation is brought into this sector.

Finally, we ask SACRAA to think through their strategy carefully.  If they choose a path that will

alienate the vast majority of the community what good can it achieve for them.  Is it really

possible that they would be able to fish on the dam peacefully and relaxed when the larger

community is hungry and angry?

We truly hope that SACRAA would realise that there can be no solution unless they embrace the

pain of the small-scale fishers, feel the burden they carry and walk with them the path of a

shared future.

Finally, maybe it’s time that we remind ourselves of the preamble to the constitution, this is in

essence what we are here striving for:

“We, the people of South Africa,

Recognise the injustices of our past;

Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;

Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and

Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –

Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice

and fundamental human rights;

Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will

of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;

Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and

Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in

the family of nations.

May God protect our people.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.

God seën Suid-Afrika.

God bless South Africa.

Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika.

Hosi katekisa Afrika”

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