In December 2022, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) concluded the first phase of the new process for verifying bona fide small-scale fishers (SSF) in the Western Cape, under the Small-scale Fisheries Policy.
The application process opened in September 2022, and was open to those who had participated in the original verification process in 2016 as well as the 80 fishers who were part of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) court intervention.
After the announcement to reallocate SSF rights in the Western Cape, Masifundise felt it was necessary to assist and support communities with this process.
From the 9-12 October 2022, Masifundise held a roadshow to assist small-scale fishers in the West Coast and South Coast communities with completing their verification forms. Applicants were given 30 days to complete and submit their verification forms along with all the relevant supporting documents.
The DFFE also conducted a catch-all week from 17 to 21 October during which they identified and visited six central venues throughout the four regions of the Western Cape to give all those who missed out on collecting their forms another opportunity to do so.
As of the end of November 2022, the DFFE learned that communities required more time to complete their forms. The receipting process was only completed in mid-December, when applicants handed in their completed verification forms.
Those who are successful under the new process will know the outcome by February 2023.
For those who are unsuccessful, there will be an opportunity to appeal. An appeal form, accompanied with a letter explaining why the application was rejected and what information is missing will be sent to the applicant. An appeal period of 30 days will follow.