To: All Media

Issued by: Masifundise Development Trust

Date: 3 July 2024

Subject: Masifundise welcomes the appointment of new DFFE Minister Dion George and Urges Focus on Small-Scale Fisheries

Masifundise Development Trust is a non-profit organisation advocating for social, economic, climate and environmental justice within small-scale fishing communities in South Africa, for over 20 years. 

We extend our congratulations to Dion George on his appointment as Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE). We welcome his appointment and, as with every other minister, we trust that he will carefully consider the significance of the small-scale fisheries (SSF) sector for local economic development, livelihoods and food security.

We recognise that there is substantial work to be done within the Ministry, particularly in the development of the fisheries sector, and we trust this will be prioritised moving forward.

It is crucial for the Minister to understand that environmental protection must encompass the rights of small-scale fishers (SSF) and limit the catches and impacts of both recreational and commercial fisheries. Moreover, environmental protection should go hand in hand with reducing extractive activities such as oil, gas, and mining. We hope the Minister will take a strong stance on this matter, despite the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) manifesto supporting the expansion of energy supply through oil and gas developments.

Our expectations from the new DFFE Minister include: 

  • Taking the time to meet with the SSF communities, Masifundise, and civil society groups within the sector to thoroughly understand the challenges faced by small-scale fishers in realising their rights fully. 
  • Recognising the need to shift the management approach of the SSF sector by reducing bureaucracy and improving access and permitting systems.
  • Supporting local development through fishing livelihoods and food security.


We look forward to engaging with the minister on the outlined above, and hope to have impactful improvements in the management and support of the SSF communities.

For further queries contact: 

Carmen Mannarino – Co-director/Programme Manager 

071 283 3179 

Jordan Volmink – Media and Communication officer 

079 145 5281

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