Forensic report findings reported in the press this week have described the policy regarding small scale fisheries as ambiguous and contradicting the National Development Plan.
These findings were revealed by a forensic report carried out by Emang Basadi Legal and Forensic Services and commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to review the work of the fisheries branch.
The report stated: “Allegations of departmental interference are common and in some cases likely to be true. Currently it is perceived that only some individuals are benefitting.”
More damning evidence against a process that has been fraught with problems from day one.
Meanwhile, also featured in the press this week are the discussions taking place between the ministers of fisheries, environment and transport to establish a single and co-ordinated structure to manage the fisheries research and patrol vessels.
DAFF minister, Senzeni Zokwana said, “In some instances we have been found wanting in the processes. We will look at a possible well co-ordinated process by which all three departments can have one structure that manages them.”
The press has also assisted in promoting the South African Navy Festival taking place in Simon’s Town this weekend. With 12 national and international navy vessels to be seen, as well as dog shows and live music, there is guarantee to be something for everyone.
“The reason we hold this festival is to present our work and ships to the public,” said Lieutenant Leverne Benjamin.
Making headlines this week is the news that Mozambique has signed a R2.7 million deal with a French shipyard for six patrol and interceptor ships for its navy, as well as a fleet of fishing boats.
Defense analyst, Helmoed Romer Heitman says this is good news for South Africa as “the more they’ve got the better, the less we have to do.” He added that South Africa and Mozambique run joint operations with each other and SADC partners and described the navy boats to be added to the Mozambique fleet as a good complement for South Africa’s vessels.
In other news,the NSRI was called to assist a fisherman who was pulled overboard after getting his foot tangled in the rope while fishing off St Helena Bay. Dominic Brink was trapped underwater until his colleagues managed to cut the rope and free him. He was treated by NSRI volunteers for a fracture to his femur and symptoms of near drowning. He is presently recovering in hospital.
The end of this story could very easily not have been a happy one, but for Brink’s quick thinking (and acting) colleagues and the quick response of the local NSRI team in the area.
South Africa’s patrol and research vessels are back in the news this week with the signing of a contract between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Damen Shipyards Cape Town for “emergency and urgent vessel repairs and maintenance.”
When questioned about the condition of the vessels, Gary Atkins, service and repairs manager at Damen, said that the ships were not damaged as such, but were merely suffering from a general lack of maintenance which has led to them “going out of class.”
The vessels need to meet the sea-worthy requirements of the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the ship’s insurers. The repairs will take place at Simon’s Town naval dockyard, using Damen staff and equipment only at an estimated cost of R5 million.
Now that Damen is on board, let us hope that these vessels can be repaired quickly and finally get back to the job that they are supposed to be doing: patrol and research.