After six months of being barred from entering the Rolfontein and Oviston Nature Reserve, fishers in Norvalspont and Petrusville have finally been granted access to fish in their fishing grounds.
The closure of these nature reserves resulted in a major loss of income and threatened the livelihoods of inland fishers.
The Oviston and Rolfontein Nature Reserve water bodies represent sacred traditional fishing grounds that have existed for many years. They have historical relevance and importance to the fishers living adjacent the nature reserves. The lack of access to these fishing grounds presented a number of challenges for inland fishers. Inland fishers were unable to carry out their livelihoods and thus put food on the table. COVID-19 dealt Inland fishers a double burden, in which they received no assistance from the government in the form of food parcels, yet they continued to be prohibited from fishing. The role of inland fishers was rendered invisible, yet they perform the very important function of providing food security.
We therefore celebrate the lobbying efforts of the fishers in advocating for their right to work. This represents a major victory for inland fishers!