The South African Department of Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has allegedly awarded an irregular contract worth R60 million to sell confiscated abalone. According to the Sunday Times, the contract was awarded to a company called Willjarro and has been suspended because of the irregularities, but the fact that DAFF continues the practice of selling illegally poached abalone is in itself a problem.
National government’s involvement in benefitting from confiscated abalone contributes to the criminalisation of fishing communities along our coastlines, and the practice of selling illegally poached abalone must stop.
“Operation Phakisa, a key focus of national government and Project Khulisa, the strategic focus of the Western Cape have identified the need to unlock economic growth along our coastlines. Poaching we believe, is having a negative impact on this opportunity for jobs and growth in the Western Cape,” says Beverley Schäfer, MPP – Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture for the Democratic Alliance (DA) Western Cape.
On Friday 03 February, the first of three public hearings into the impact of abalone small scale fishing will commence in Saldanha Bay.
Beverley Schäfer held committee meetings with community stakeholders, SAPS, SARS and the Hawks last year, and these meetings revealed how South Africa is losing the war on abalone poaching.
The public hearings are there to:
- Establish the impact of poaching on coastal towns
- Make recommendations
- Find solutions.
“To this end, we would like to invite all stakeholders and interested parties to the public hearings,” says Schäfer.
Two more hearings are scheduled for 8 February in Gansbaai and 24 February in Cape Town.
Details for the first public hearing is as follows:
Date: Friday, 03 February 2017
Time: 09:00 – 13:00
Venue: Dial Rock Community Hall, Albatros Street, SALDANHA BAY