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[EXPLAINER] Minister Creecy on why W Cape small-scale fishing rights scrapped

23 February 2021 12:19 PM
Tags:
Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy
small-scale fishing rights

The Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister is heading to the High Court to have the current fishing rights scrapped,

Small-scale fishing contributed more than R3billion to our GDP in 2019.

Environment, Forestry And Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy is heading to the High Court to have the current fishing rights scrapped, so they can start with a clean slate following reports of the allocations process being unfair and inadequate.

Minister Creecy talks to Refilwe Moloto about her decision.

The fishing rights process was conducted in 2017 and 2018 involving small-scale fishermen and women in the Western Cape, says Creecy.

On being appointed as minister in 2019, Creecy says she met with a range of fishing communities in the Cape.

They raised with me complaints about how this process was conducted. These were heated and very vociferous meetings.

Minister Barbara Creecy - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Creecy then requested DEFF implement an independent audit into the fishing rights allocations process.

She received the audit results in September 2020

The outcome was deeply concerning. It said the whole process was wholly inadequate and could not be relied on as a basis for making any decisions.

Minister Barbara Creecy - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

The wording on the application documents was problematic as was data capturing of the information gathered. There was incorrect adjudication of applications, as well as inconsistent applications, explains Creesy.

The entire process had been found to be inappropriate, yet had resulted in those listed as successful and those listed as unsuccessful and this was very concerning she says.

Creecy says legal advice received was that she could not just redo the appeals process and leave the list of successful applicants as it would be open to a court challenge.

I have concluded that I have no alternative but to ask the courts to set the whole process aside and to get all 9000 people who did apply in the original process to reapply and rerun the process.

Minister Barbara Creecy - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

She explains she needs to go to the courts as it was her predecessor who made the original decisions which she inherits.

Creecy expects the court time frame could take anything from a few months to a year to resolve.

During this waiting period the status quo remains in place, she says.

Those who are on the interim relief list, and those who are through this process which has been defined as inadequate, will continue to be able to fish.

Minister Barbara Creecy - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Those excluded by the prior process will not be allowed to fish until the matter has been reviewed by the courts.

Some people do use recreational fishing permits which any South Africa can get for a small fee from the post office and can feed yourself and your family - but it is not adequate if you want to earn a living.

Minister Barbara Creecy - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Listen to the interview with Minister Creecy in the audio below:




23 February 2021 12:19 PM
Tags:
Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy
small-scale fishing rights

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