The DAFF tender is still firmly entrenched in the headlines of the last week. It now looks like the navy could be asked to step in and secure our waters, while the battle between DAFF, Smit Amandla Marine and Sekunjalo continues. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman, Selby Bokaba, is giving nothing away, saying: ‘I am unable to talk about the navy. I have made it clear we are exploring various options. Indeed there are more than two options available.’
According to Melanie Gosling, Environment writer for the Cape Times, South Africa stands to lose R1 billion and thousands of jobs within the fishing sector if the issues surrounding the tender to run the government’s fisheries vessels prevents this year’s research cruises from happening. These vessels provide the data determining how many fish can be caught each year.
Decisions need to be made – and quickly.
Shaheen Moolla is in the press again this week responding to the opinion piece by Tina Joemat-Pettersson in the Cape Times last week. The Minister’s feelings are certainly not spared as, once again, she is criticised for her proposed plan to move fisheries to Pretoria as well as her justification thereof.
While it is disconcerting to watch such a dismal saga unfold in the daily news – it is equally disconcerting to know that once again the maritime industry is shrouded in negative publicity when what it really needs is a massive PR boost to showcase it as the massive economic driver it actually is. I’m not so sure that the dictum: all publicity is good publicity applies.