IOL / 20 JULY 2018- 15:34 / MARVIN CHARLES
Cape Town - The call for transformation in the fishing industry is turning into a war of words between the National Department of Agriculture, Forestery and Fisheries, provincial politicians and small-scale fishers.
Provincial DA Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture spokesperson Beverley Schäfer, said the utterances by Minister Senzeni Zokwana about more black control of the fishing industry served to conceal corruption within the department.
The call for transformation in the fishing industry is turning into a war of words between government, provincial politicians and small-scale fishers. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA
According to her the minister stated that “the fishing sector is dominated by white and foreign companies” and that the department wanted to “see more Africans in general and blacks in particular participating as small-scale fishers at all levels”.
Schäfer said these statements indicate that the minister is completely out of touch with the realities of Western Cape fisheries in particular.
“The minister is deliberately trying to racialise the sector in order to divert attention away from the many corruption allegations laid against him and many of his department officials,” Schäfer said.
“The small-scale fishing sector is, by and large, already transformed. However, speaking specifically to one group, namely black fishermen, completely sidelines the many coloured communities, living along our coastlines which have been fishing our oceans for generations.
“Many of these communities are still waiting in vain, for fishing quotas from the minister and his department,” Schäfer said.
Spokesperson of the SA Small Scale Fisheries Collective Pedro Garcia said: “As far as we are concerned, we have always called for transformation and we take this into account.
“However, we must note, you cannot transform the entire industry. But the real problem we are dealing with is legislation in dealing with small-scale fisheries.”
Garcia said there was a sense of distrust among small-scale fishers when dealing with the department.
Spokesperson for the minister Khaye Nkwanyana said: “A lot of issues have been in the public domain with regard to the fisheries sector. Most of these issues have not been about the advancement of the fisheries sector, but about a contested space between maintaining the status quo in terms of ownership and control of the industry against the need for transformation.
The fishing sector is one of the lucrative sectors, yet it is under-reported in terms of its opportunities for our economy at large.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER