Amagagasontshintsho are merely data capturers for the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy in Kwazulu Natal.

That was the message relayed to the community of Mthwalume in KwaZulu/Natal by Abongile Gongqwa, of the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), according to Mandla Gqamlana programme manager at Masifundise Development Trust (MDT).

Gqamlana recently attended a meeting in Durban with Gongqwa from DAFF, Naseegh Jaffer national director of MDT, Lindani Ngubane MDT fieldworker in KZN, representatives of Amagagasontshintsho, the small scale fisheries policy implementing agent for DAFF in KZN, and 30 community members from the Mthwalume fishing community.

The fishing community of Mthwalume are refusing to work with Amagagasontshintsho, the service provider that has been contracted by DAFF to implement the small scale fisheries policy in KZN.

Mthwalume fishers refuse to be registered and verified by Amagagasontshintsho who they claim have all worked for KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife before.

The Mthwalume community hold Ezemvelo responsible for the repression of fishers, including the death of a local fisher in 2014. They refuse to work with Amagagasontshintsho, on the basis that Amagagasontshintsho staff members were once part of Ezemvelo.

“Community members raised a number of concerns and were clear to state that they did not want Amagagasontshintsho to come into their community,” Gqamlana told The Hook.

The communities also accused Amagagasontshintsho that they did not follow the correct processes when they recently scheduled a registration and verification activity in the community.

Gqamlana says that the community accused Amagagasontshintsho of using the same community committees that Ezemvelo utilised during their tenure as the KZN marine custodian.

“There are now new committees and these should be utilised to access community members.”

Gqamlana says that Gongqwa explained the role of Amagagasontshintsho to the community, which is that Amagagasontshintsho will merely capture the fishers’ information, and that DAFF will verify and register the fishers.

“Abongile also tried to explain that the people making up Amagagasontshintsho were not part of the compliance unit within KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife,” said Gqamlana.

The people from Amagagasontshintsho, mostly worked as data-capturers for Ezemvelo on a part-time basis, is what Craig Smith, director for small scale fishing at DAFF previously explained to ‘The Hook’.

The meeting agreed that DAFF should, through the correct structures, visit the community of Mthwalume and explain the process of registering and verifying communities and the role of Amagagasontshintsho in this process.

“These meetings should happen before the registration and verification process is to take place in Mthwalume.”

“DAFF and Masifundise are currently organising these meetings and registration in Mthwalume should be held on the 22 of June 2016,” Gqamlana told The Hook.

See KZN verification and registration schedule here:Copy of New June KZN SCHEDULE with no teams_amended_accommodation1 (Autosaved)

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