On 4th October, Masifundise and the Luckhoff kraal fishers, joined a roundtable discussion with the Free State’s Letsemeng Municipality. This roundtable allowed the inland kraal fishers to engage local municipality on how they can contribute to the local economy and livelihoods of their community, through fishing.
As part of the roundtable, the kraal fishers also found out about their community’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) process and how they can participate.
“A strong group of fishers came together in Luckhoff and they want to begin engagements with local municipality. Fishers contribute to food security and the local economy. We are seeing a rise in prices and the cost of living, fish can play an important role in strengthening food security at the local level and create opportunities to strengthen what fishers are doing for livelihoods development.” said Carmen Mannarino, Programme manager at Masifundise.
During the discussion, the kraal fishers informed the municipality officials about a business proposal for an unused Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) building that could potentially be used create a fishery for Luckhoff. The fishery will not only create jobs but it will also, contribute to food security through the buying and selling of fish and could add value to the fish.
Roderick Khombelakho, kraal fisher in Luckhoff, also emphasized how a fishery could help improve the livelihoods of youth in the area, “fishing is something that also keeps the youth away from drugs. It will keep youth busy and in turn help improve our community”.
The local fishers also asked for support from the municipality in engaging with farmers. 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.
Going forward, the Letsemeng municipality officials are open to a working relationship with the kraal fishers in Luckhoff. They have committed to support fishers on engaging with DWS for the unused building and will see how they can assist with a business plan as well as, engaging with the farm owners for access to kraals.