Vander Kloof fishers are on their way to legality and being recognised as fishers at the Vander Kloof Dam and there is nothing that can hold them back, according to Raphael Benadie, chairperson of Keurkieskloof Vissers Gemeenskap.
This comes after the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Eskom conducted a Safety Protocols Workshop with the Vander Kloof Fishers and all the role-players involved with the Experimental Fishing Project at the Dam on Tuesday April 26.
“This is the first in a series of workshops that will be conducted with all the fishers at Vander Kloof Dam, on how to keep safe when harvesting fish from the kraals in the dam,” said Benadie.
The first people trained in the safety protocols are the top six Executive Committee members of the three fishing communities of Keurkieskloof, Petrusville and Luckhoff.
The training mainly centred on the opening and closing of the turbines, and how to harvest the fish from the kraals in the dam safely.
Benadie said that the workshop turned out not to be what they expected it to be in the sense that as fishers they got more out of the training than expected.
“They proposed that the safety protocols should be adapted in order to accommodate the fishers in the dam,” said Benadie.
He further explained that as fishers they raised objections to the fact that the management at the dam closed the holes in the fence the fishers used to access the kraals in the dam.
It was then decided that the holes will remain open and that the fishers will use the holes in the fence until they are given letters by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) that they are allowed to empty the kraals in the Dam.
“The letters will be issued by May 3, and from then onwards, we will be able to access the kraals in the dam through the gates that all around the dam, because the fishers will be given keys to open the gates.”
Benadie says that a letter will also be sent to the Vander Kloof police that the fishers have the right to fish in the dam and that the police should not be called to fishers emptying the kraals anymore.
“Eskom was also part of the training as they are the people who are responsible for the opening and closing of the turbines, because that is the way they generate electricity through the dam,” said Benadie.