Small-Scale Fishers in the Western Cape who registered to be verified as small-scale fishers by the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) earlier this year, and do not make the provisional list to be published on Friday October 21, must make sure that they appeal their exclusion from the lists within 30 days after the publication of the lists.

DAFF announced on its facebook page and on its website page that it will announce the lists of successful small-scale fisher applicants in the Western Cape this Friday, October 21, 2016.

These long awaited lists will be available at public places in communities all over the Western Cape, where small-scale fishers registered during April and May can view it.

According to the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP) the lists should have been published 90 days after people have registered, and its delay caused a lot of disappointment and uncertainty amongs small-scale fishers in the province.

The Western Cape Province will only be the second province that will have its provisional lists announced since the registration and verification of fishers kicked off in March after president Zuma signed the Amended Marine Living Resources Act into law in February.

Abongile Ngqongwa, Deputy Director for Small-Scale Fisheries in DAFF said that a list will be made available as to where fishers can go and view the lists within their communities, and indicated that individual fishers will also be informed via SMS.

“People will get SMS’s indicating that lists are going to be published and the contact details of a DAFF official who can help them,” said Ngqongwa.

“The SMS will also indicate which DAFF offices they can collect their letters of decision and appeal forms. A letter of decision for those who are provisionally unsuccessful specifies which criteria were not met.”

Letters of decision is the letter that indicates to a fisher that s/he has not been verified by DAFF to qualify to be a small-scale fisher, by way of not having met some of the criteria specified in the SSFP.

Should you as a fisher get such a letter of decision, it means that you will have up to 30 days from October 21 to lodge an appeal against your exclusion from the list of bona-fide fishers.

The 30 days of appeals will come to an end on November 21 at 4pm, DAFF might decide on a day later, but at the moment fishers must work on the date of November 21.

Appeal forms are already on our small-scale fisheries website and they will also be issued with the record of decision letters as well.”

Ngqongwa also indicated that fishers who wish to appeal will be helped and that DAFF officials will be assigned areas to help fishers with appeals during the appeal process.

Ngqongwa also said that the Appeal forms are currently only in English, Afrikaans and Zulu, but that they are currently also loading in IsiXhosa versions, and that it would be on their website by Wednesday October 19 (today).

When lodging appeals, fishers will also need to supply supporting documents that will prove that they are fishers and disprove the points that DAFF indicated that disqualified them.

It is important to supply supporting documents, as it can only make your appeal stronger.

It is important to notice that the appeal forms might seem difficult for some fishers and those who are able to help should look at helping others.

Coastal Links South Africa members in Gansbaai have decided that they will set aside one day where fishers can come together and work on the appeals, getting people to fill in the forms and have their supporting documents certified.

Remember, appeals is the route to go to get our rights, we must follow the process and when the process is exhausted and DAFF is still unreasonable, we will have a leg to stand on when we take action.

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