The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

South Africa

Cape Forum Urges Urgent Investigation into Alleged Political Interference in Fishing Industry

Michael Hawthorne

SOUTH AFRICA – The civil rights organization Cape Forum has called for an immediate and thorough investigation into allegations of political interference in South Africa’s fishing industry. The organization contends that rumours of undue influence and claims that the industry has become a breeding ground for cadre deployment pose a significant threat to the livelihood and cultural fabric of the Cape’s small-scale fishing communities.

The urgency of Cape Forum’s response is prompted by recent decisions made by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) regarding the allocation process for fishing rights. The organization emphasizes the distressing situation faced by traditional small-scale and medium-sized commercial fishermen, citing media reports that shed light on the challenges these communities are currently grappling with.

While Cape Forum acknowledges the importance of sustainable fishing practices, it strongly condemns any actions that jeopardize the well-being of fishing communities for political gain. The decision to grant fishing permits to individuals allegedly unconnected to the fishing industry raises concerns about the motivations behind such allocations.

Tommy van Zyl, Coordinator at Cape Forum, expressed concern over the potential impact these allocations could have on local economies and cultural heritage. “An economic crisis is facing families who have often been fishermen for generations, while fishing permits are handed out to businesses who want to resell them at huge profits,” warns Van Zyl, who also suggests that the granting of fishing permits may be an attempt to garner political support for the upcoming 2024 elections.

Cape Forum is calling on the DFFE to reconsider the allocation of fishing rights, urging a more transparent and accountable process that takes into consideration the real needs and contributions of those directly dependent on the fishing industry for their livelihood. The organization demands an end to any practices prioritizing political interests over the well-being of fishing communities.

“At a time when the economy is shrinking and interest rates are rising, resulting in an increase in the price of food, South Africa’s small-scale and medium-sized commercial fishers are being deliberately cut out of the economy. This policy is unacceptable,” concludes Van Zyl. Cape Forum, committed to fairness, transparency, and the sustainable use of marine resources, pledges to stand with affected traditional small-scale and medium-sized commercial fishers and work towards a just resolution of these issues.


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