Small-Scale fishers in KwazuluNatal have said they do not want a service provider for the small-scale fisheries policy that is linked to Ezemvelo Wildlife, after Ezemvelo was removed as the service provider by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries last year.
Lindani Ngubane, Masifundise Development Trust fieldworker in KZN said that the fishers say that the same staff members of Ezemvelo are the people who came to introduce themselves as the directors of Amagagasi, the new service provider who replaced Ezemvelo.
“The fishers know these individual, the directors of Amagagasi, as people who worked for Ezemvelo,” said Ngubane.
“We will be having a planning meeting over this weekend to discuss what to do about the new service provider that has been appointed,” said Ngubane.
Sharing the sentiments with Ngubane is Jacob Mbokazi who said as fishers they do not trust anything that has to do with Ezemvelo.
“We expect the department to do what is right for fishers in KZN,” said Mbokazi. “We will not accept anything or anyone associated with Ezemvelo.”
Craig Smith, director of small scale fisheries at the Department of agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) told The Hook that the influence of Ezemvelo will in no way be felt in the implementation of the policy.
“The individuals involved with Amagagasi have never been Ezemvelo employees. They worked for more than 10 years as sub-contractors for Ezemvelo,” said Smith.
He explained that they worked as monitors, collecting data from the fishers for the last ten or more years, and when the opportunity came about after Ezemvelo was kicked out of the process, they formed their own company and applied to be the service provider.
“The fishers know them as the data monitors and for issuing permits to the communities, and because of their experience and work amongst the fishers, they got the contract.”
Smith said that the directors of Amagagasi were never involved in law enforcement and as rangers policing the fishers in relation to their catches, and therefore the fishers do not have problems with them.
Recently Ezemvelo’s services with DAFF were completely terminated, and they no longer play any role in monitoring and policing the fishing resources in KZN.
Smith said that the vehicles that Ezemvelo have been using in carrying out their duties in actual fact belong to DAFF, and when Amagagasi started working on the implementation of the SSFP, they used the Ezemvelo vehicle.
“We still need to rebrand the Ezemvelo vehicles, and transfer our assets,” he concluded.