The hijacking of the abalone industry by organised crime bosses forms the basis of an investigative piece by journalist John Grobler in the Vryeweekblad this month.
Grobler cites the mismanagement of the fisheries industry during the Jacob Zuma era as being the reason for the abalone trade being driven underground and now controlled by Chinese triad gangs.
He (Zuma) moved fisheries into the agriculture ministry which was a disaster... at the same time the SANParks and navy joint patrols were cancelled and the policing of the resource was let to the police which was a major mistake.— John Grobler, Journalist/columnist -Vryeweekblad
In 2014 you had him cozying up to the Cape gangs, where there was clearly an alignment of interest, effectively enabling organised crime to take it over.— John Grobler, Journalist/columnist -Vryeweekblad
In the article, Grobler says that 'from Cape Agulhas to Cape Columbine' it is The Number (the prison gangs of the 26s, 27's and 28's) who run the abalone trade working alongside Chinese organised crime syndicates.
In places like Mozambique and Angola you see a similar pattern... think of it like termites hollowing out your furniture.— John Grobler, Journalist/columnist -Vryeweekblad
Listen to the full interview below: