Earlier in September, Masifundise held empowerment workshops in the inland fishing communities of Venterstad and Luckhoff. The workshops focused on community organising and understanding the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) process.
These workshops were requested by inland community members who sought to deepen their understanding around community organising and learn more about local municipal processes in the area.
The workshop in Venterstad, introduced fishers to the IDP process and highlighted the importance of their involvement in municipal decision-making processes.
An Integrated Development Plan includes the entire municipality and its resident communities, with the aim to improve the quality of life for all the people living in an area. It should address existing conditions and problems using available resources for development.
Small-scale fishers must ensure that their IDP processes include them and reflect their needs to avoid being excluded from support for the developmental needs of the local fishing communities.
In the Luckhoff community, during the workshop, fishers expressed the issue of restricted access to kraals for fishing. The small-scale fishers from Luckhoff travel 36,1km to access the kraals at the Vanderkloof dam.
There is an access point in Luckhoff that allows them to access the nearby kraals and will reduce the time and money spent in travelling to the Vanderkloof dam. However, this access point is located on farm land that is privately owned.
Clarence Oliphant, Community Liaison Officer for Northern Cape Inland Fisheries said, “the inland small-scale fishers of Luckhoff have approached their local councillor to arrange a meeting with the farm owners, so they can work on an agreement for them to access kraals for fishing and so they can put food on the table.”
The Luckhoff fishers also want to initiate a working relationship with Free State government in order to strategise and find solutions to some of the societal issues plaguing many local communities in the area.
“These workshops help to prepare fishers for meetings and roundtables with local government and will allow them to speak with one voice to the issues they face.” continued Oliphant.