The massive “deurmekaarspul” at the Department of Forestry and Fisheries led to widespread uncertainty, unhappiness and despair amongst the sea- fishing folk in the Western Cape.
Fishermen are not able to provide for their families and their dignity and pride has been systematically stripped away leaving a hollow shell.
The Department still did not allocate the bulk of small scale fishing permits to applicants, while the crayfish season, their main means of income has already opened in November 2016.
Big fishing companies and their bosses are in the process of harvesting crayfish and depleting the source unashamedly. Permits were issued to individuals who does not even know how to lure crayfish, and who has other means of generating an income.
Clearly the Ministry and DAFF are doing what the ruling party is doing best. Cronyism, corruption, nepotism, traits in which they excelled the past 22 years. Small scale fishing or subsistence fishing permits form the bedrock of the economic survival of the fisher -folk in the Western Cape and any prolonged process in issuing the permits leads to untold misery.
The following extract from the pen of a fisherman highlights their despair.
“How do I wish the fisherwomen a Merry Christmas when she must stare into the eyes of her hungry children knowing that the pain of not being able to adequately provide for them will continue?
How do I wish young people in our fishing communities a Merry Christmas when they have already fallen into the poverty trap with all its social ills, where dreams and aspirations have been replaced with a sense of hopelessness and despair?
How do I wish a child a Merry Christmas, bring joy and happiness to their tiny little hearts for one day of the year, then leave them in a pool of despair for 364 days?
How do I wish our community representatives and buyers a Merry Christmas when they take so much more than their fair share from the labors of our fishers and fishing communities?
How do I wish the big fishing companies and it’s bosses a Merry Christmas when they continue to enjoy unfair rights allocations which leaves our fishers and fishing communities in abject poverty?
How do I wish the shareholders of listed fishing companies a Merry Christmas when they refuse to see the harm they inflict on our people and our resources simply because they are driven by greed and profits?
How do I wish our fisheries officials a Merry Christmas when they continue to pander to the elites and big business and when, after more than a decade, they have been unable to produce anything of substance to ease the burden of our fisher-folk?
How do I wish our leaders and politicians a Merry Christmas when they forego our country’s Constitutional obligations by not demonstrating and supporting the Political Will needed to bring about meaningful change?
After so many years of strife how do I wish my people a joyous festive season and a prosperous new year when my people exist in abject poverty and the future holds absolutely nothing on which they could prosper?
Until we realize that we are one nation,
Until we learn to respect, support and share with each other,
Until our leaders re-align their moral compasses,
Until then I cannot wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS OR A PROSPEROUS 2017″.
The clarion call from the EFF is that Government must fulfill their constitutional duty to listen to the plight of the people and act on it in such a manner that it emphasizes the importance of the poor people and that they immediately finalize the issuing of small scale fishing permits immediately, even if staff must work around the clock.