On 16 September 2020, Celimpilo Mdluli and two other small-scale fishers from the Nibela cooperative where fishing when rangers from the St Lucia lake opened fire of them fatally injuring Mdluli.
After three years of investigation the Mdluli family and the fishing community of Nibela will finally take the first steps towards getting justice. On 6 March the three accused rangers will appear at the Mtubatuba magistrates court for their alleged role in the death of Celimpilo.
“We have waited a very long time for this moment. We hope that Celimpilo and his family will get justice for his death. The violence that is meted against fishing communities securing their livelihoods is very concerning and is becoming a growing trend all over the coast. Small-scale fishing communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to the militant style of policing by local authority agencies,” said Sibongiseni Gwebani from Masifundise.
“The accelerated violence towards fishing communities cannot be tolerated and must be condemned to its fullest extent. We implore the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) and other relevant provincial departments and entities to put preventative measures in place to ensure the protection of small-scale fishers, their customary rights and livelihoods”, added Gwebani.