Government’s about turnabout yesterday on the fishing permit debacle shows yet again how opportunistic it is in trying to win votes.
Yesterday, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that the 195 line fishermen, who lost their permits on New Years Day, would now be allowed to apply for temporary permits to return to the sea, pending the outcome of an appeal, which is expected in three months time.
The outcry over the loss of fishing permits, which threatened the livelihoods of 6000 to 7000 people, obviously indicated to government that it had made a grave mistake ahead of to the general elections.
Agang SA rejects the cavalier way in which this year’s permit allocation was made without thought to the consequences for thousands of individuals and their families, many of whom have invested heavily in boats and relied on fishing for generations. Unlike the last 2005 allocation, there was no public debate about the allocation process and fishermen were not told why they had not had their permits renewed, raising questions about the selection process and how 100 newcomers to the industry have been selected.
The ANC government has exiled itself in the corridors of power, passing laws that hurt ordinary people, damage the economy and stifle our hard-won freedoms.
The government’s arrogance runs from municipal to national level. This latest example echoes the actions of the ANC-run Johannesburg municipality and its terrible “Operation Clean Sweep” — a brutal move to clear the streets of lawful traders – last year.
When the case was taken all the way to the Constitutional Court, even those impartial high court judges — including Acting Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke — expressed their horror at the City of Johannesburg’s cold-hearted and unlawful action against the metro’s hard-working street traders.
Agang SA calls for a government that cares about ordinary people. It is possible to have a government that listens, a government that leads and a government that is efficient and transparent. We call on every South African to make a stand against the high-handed, incompetent and often corrupt actions of our current leadership. We need to be bold and active as citizens and exercise our right to vote.
Monica Graaff, Agang SA spokesperson on the Environment