The Hook

26 November 2014

Interim Relief Permits – An uphill battle

Persistent flaws in the Interim Relief system are playing havoc with the lives of thousands of people in Small-scale fishing communities across the Western and Northern Cape.

The late issuing of permits, the inclusion of non-fishers in beneficiary lists and general mismanagement by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) deprives fishers of sustainable livelihoods and is causing conflict in communities.

There are persistent allegations of corruption in the allocation process.

In 2005 when the government adopted long-term fishing policies that made no provision for small-scale fishers. Masifundise took the matter to the Equality Court in 2006. By 2007 the court ruled that a new policy must be developed and an interim relief package for small-scale fishers be formulated and implemented. The Interim Relief Permit system was meant to provide temporary relief to fishers who did not benefit from Long Term Rights

Interim Relief arrangements, which began in 2007, were meant to be in place for two years. But the Small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy was only finally adopted this year and implementation is yet to proceed. Meanwhile the IR system continues – and so do the inefficiencies, mismanagement and general dysfunctionality.

“If the problems around IR happened once or twice, we could have written them off as teething problems,” said Christian Adams, national chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa. CLSA represents 4 000 fishers countrywide.

“But permits are delayed each year, beneficiary lists are tainted by mismanagement and corruption and department records of fishing patterns appear to be in tatters”, he said.

“DAFF seems incapable of managing this process and the result is immense suffering for fishing communities”, he concluded.

Masifundise Development Trust and Coastal Links are once more embarking on protest action to correct the situation and want the IR system to be brought to an end immediately.

“The proper implementation of the SSF policy will put an end to this arrangement and start the process of empowering communities”, said Mr Adams.

Movement for the rural poor

The Trust for Community Outreach and Education will launch a Movement for the rural poor. From the 4 until 9 December small-scale farmers, rural women, farm workers, fishers, forest dwellers, and the landless will meet to launch a movement that will take forward their interests, needs and demands.

Read More:

Afrika Kontakt Ocean Grabbing Video

Masifundise’s partner, Afrika Kontakt has produced an Ocean Grabbing video. Highlighting the negative impacts and causes of Ocean Grabbing- the video is a powerful visual tool that aims to educate, empower and create global awareness about this injustice caused by powerful economic elites.

South Africa Fisherwomen gather in Paternoster

The Masifundise and Coastal Links gender workshop ended on a high note last week. 35 women from the four coastal provinces in South Africa were brought together to discuss Ocean Grabbing. The discussions were centred on taking action against Ocean Grabbing. They also focused on educating and empowering the women. The last day of the workshop was on World Fisheries Day, 21 November, and the women wrote a statement sharing their sentiments on Ocean Grabbing.

Ocean Grabbing entails the privatisation of land and marine resources to the advantage of powerful elites and at the expense of poor communities.

South African fisher women’s statement on ocean grabbing

“We, the women of KwaZulu Natal need access to mussels to feed our families and make some money. We need business skills and access to markets. If there is a Marine Protected Area on our coastline, we want to benefit.

“We women want to regulate our own resources. We the women of KwaZulu Natal face a double oppression: oppression from ocean grabbing and oppression from patriarchy. We need this to change. We need platforms to be heard.

“We the women of Eastern Cape want control over our resources. Our traditional healers need access and control over resources. We want co-management with authorities. Profits from tourism should be made by us.

“We the women of the Western Cape and Northern Cape say NO to Marine Protected Areas without consultation processes. Ocean grabbing breaks down our families. Our men have to travel far to the coast keeping them apart from their children and their wives. We women reject mining on our coastal lands.

“We do not want weapon testing in our waters. Ocean grabbing projects us as criminals in our own ocean and along our own coastline. We need to be informed about the policies that govern our seas. We need to be equipped to deal with ocean grabbing.


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