13 December 2013
Hamba Kahle Madiba. We will continue your struggle
We at Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa are saddened at the passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, one of the great leaders of the struggle against apartheid.
We wish to convey our condolences to the Mandela family, the African National Congress and all South Africans who share his vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and equal South Africa.
Madiba was a product of struggling peoples throughout the land, many working through progressive formations such as the ANC, PAC, Azapo, the New Unity Movement, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the South African Communist Party and a myriad of civic, religious, youth and student organisations.
He was a leader in a struggle for justice and human dignity that millions participated in, both in South Africa and abroad. Multitudes were either killed, maimed, detained, exiled, tortured, dispossessed of their land, forcibly removed and humiliated throughout their lives. Apart from the physical and material losses, apartheid also visited huge psychological damage on South Africans – both black and white.
The unity and power of the people, acting together, brought about a negotiated settlement that secured political freedom – a significant step forward. However, the tasks of achieving equality and economic freedom remain.
As organisations working for the empowerment of small-scale fishers, Madiba’s life and passing have a special meaning to us. His life was dedicated to the eradication of poverty, in order to create a better life for all South Africans, and poor people all over the world.
In his own words, Madiba encouraged us to eradicate poverty and bring out our own greatness, as expressed in this, one of his famous quotes: “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
Small-scale fishers, along the breadth and length of our country, work hard and under difficult circumstances to eke out a living for themselves, their families and their communities. The first battle small- scale fishers wage on a daily basis is nature and rough climatic conditions. Strong winds and bad weather can leave the small-scale fishing community without tangible income for days, and sometimes for weeks on end.
Overfishing, corporate greed, pollution and global warming are all contributing to the depletion of fishing resources. Some fish species have migrated from their breeding grounds to other parts of the oceans, forcing the small-scale fisher to go ever deeper into the waters to catch their daily earnings.
The destruction of the environment also played a big role in making life difficult for small scale fishers, and the subsequent laws and policies developed without the input from local communities, meant that many small-scale fishers were driven out of areas where they have traditionally fished for centuries.
With the advent of democracy new avenues seemed to have opened for small-scale fishers, of which some were able to take advantage of, but the majority remain marginalised.
The small-scale fishers have campaigned vigorously over a decade for fishing rights. This resulted in the small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy being adopted by Cabinet in June 2012. In November this year the Amended Marine Living Resources Act was adopted in the National Assembly. The new Act gives recognition to small-scale fishers, and recognises their right to fish in the waters of South Africa, and harvest what the oceans have to offer, to the benefit of their daily existence.
The policy and the legislation represent great strides forward for the small-scale fishers. These developments are a tribute to the efforts of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko and many others from their generation. However, it can only have real meaning with effective and comprehensive implementation.
Here, we will rely on our democratic government and other role players to fulfil their responsibility and carry on the legacy of Madiba.
Rest in Peace Comrade Nelson Mandela. We will continue the struggle for equality and dignity.
Issued by Naseegh Jaffer, Director Masifundise, on behalf of Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa
For further details Contact: Tel: 021 685 4549, Cell: 082 577 0622