Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana has reacted with dismay to a court interdict relating to the Fishing Rights Allocation Process.
Viking Inshore Fishing has successfully applied for an urgent interdict, effectively suspending all fishing in the hake inshore trawling industry.
The company argues that the re-allocation of fishing rights will see it lose 60% of its haul, placing i9t under immense financial strain and putting many jobs at risk.
Zokwana, meanwhile, is disgusted by the manner in which the interdict has been obtained.
“We have not received and are still waiting for the written judgement which was requested by our lawyers the same date the court order was issued,” he says. “The urgent interim interdict application ought to have been refused by the court.”
Furthermore, he says, his right as Minister to decide which appeals may be filed has been totally bypassed.
As a result of the sudden freeze, the entire industry now allegedly faces strain. “In total, 27 right holders have been stopped from undertaking commercial fishing of hake and sole until such time as the full review application is heard and decided,” continues the Minister. “This could be months away.”
He adds that this court action is hurting the transformation process, denying medium-sized, black-owned businesses their fishing rights.