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Archive for December, 2011

Noseweek Story on Abalone Poaching

The January edition of Noseweek has a good story on the continued reliance by the fisheries department on the sale of confiscated abalone and the dismal state of management at the Fisheries Branch.

Check it out at www.noseweek.co.za

MaritimeSA Rates Minister of Fisheries

The latest issue of Maritime Review Southern Africa (www.maritimesa.co.za) reviews the Minister of Fisheries’ performance during 2011. Suffice it to say, it was woeful.

Read the latest edition of Maritime SA and the performance review on page 20 on http://maritimesa.co.za/CurrentIssue/tabid/79/Default.aspx

More Trouble for the Fisheries Minister

The Business Report (www.iol.co.za) today reports that Smit Amandla, the local subsidiary of the powerful Dutch-based multinational ship-handling group Smit, has served a notice of motion on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries seeking to interdict it from awarding a R1 billion tender to a consortium led by Sekunjalo.

This BLOG has reported extensively on this increasingly problematic and questionable tender. At the heart of the problem is a clear (to all but blinded government officials) conflict of interest where a fishing company is in charge of the fisheries patrol fleet.
In a bizarre response to the allegations of a conflict of interest is Sekunjalo’s (and one assumes government’s) bottom-of the-barrel-scraping defence that –
“When they are on patrol the vessels are commanded by government inspectors who are appointed by the department. The crew and the skipper have no idea where the vessel will patrol until they are out at sea and given the GPS co-ordinates by the inspector. And once they are out at sea no one is allowed to communicate,”

The stupidity and outright deceit of such a statement should be criminal!
Lie 1: The patrol vessels are “commanded” by fishery control officers. As the former chief director of compliance, I can assure you a fishery control officer is neither allowed to nor authorised under our maritime laws to command a vessel. The skipper and the officers are in charge of the vessel. This statement is akin to stating that a police officer on board an airplane is the commander of that aircraft!
Lie 2: The crew and skipper have no idea where the vessel will patrol until they are out at sea! This statement is so outrageous I could not believe it was uttered as a defence! This statement merely aggravates the stupidity of the decision to allocate the tender to Sekunjalo. Picture it, a blind-folded skipper and crew get on the vessel, not knowing where on earth they are going! Who decided on the fuel; the food; the budget for the trip? Did the fisheries control officers who are also “commanding the vessels” also fill up the tanks; buy the food; load the stores!
Lie 3: And once out at sea, no is allowed to communicate! What absolute crap! Why do the vessels have state of the art communication systems? Is this lot actually from Planet Earth?
So, if the FCO’s are in fact “commanding the vessel”, responsible for deployment, bunkers, stores and all else, what the hell are we paying Sekunjalo R800 million for? Will they just wash the vessels?

DA Seeks Access to Sekunjalo Tender Documents

This is a statement issued by the Democratic Alliance’s Deputy Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on 4 December 2011.
Reports today indicate that a politically-linked company has been awarded a nearly R1 billion tender by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s department.
The tender recipient, Sekunjalo Investments, will be responsible for managing the country’s fishing patrol fleet. The fleet is responsible for research, inspections of fishing trawlers and anti-poaching patrols.
I will be submitting an application, under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), to access all documentation relating to Sekunjalo Investments’ bid.
Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s department must provide the public with all information relevant to this tender process to explain why Sekunjalo was selected as the preferred bidder.
In awarding this tender, the Department is spending almost R1 billion of state funds. The South African people have a right to know that their money is being spent responsibly.
The selection of Sekunjalo Investments as the recipient of this tender is an interesting decision, given the following:
• Its links to cabinet members: Premier Fishing, a subsidiary of Sekunjalo Investments, reportedly paid a R100 000 private security bill belonging to Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s cabinet colleague, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane failed to declare this payment to Parliament;
• Its chairman’s political connections: Sekunjalo’s Chairman, Iqbal Survé, is a regular member of official business delegations accompanying President Jacob Zuma and other government leaders on overseas state visits; and
• Its role as player and referee: Industry stakeholders are reportedly shocked at the decision to award the major fishing company a tender to police our fishing industry. They have raised concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest, given that Sekunjalo will now be both a “player” in the fishing industry, and a “referee”.
The DA wants to know:
• Why Sekunjalo was selected as the preferred bidder;
• Why Minister Joemat-Pettersson last week reportedly announced that Sekunjalo had won the tender, without the full tender process having been completed;
• What the “control measures” are that the Department has said it will put in place to prevent any conflict of interest arising from Sekunjalo’s role as “player” and “referee”;
• What steps the Department took to address the concerns reportedly raised by the tender committee about any potential conflict of interest.
In addition to submitting a PAIA application, I will also be writing to the Chair of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Portfolio Committee to ask that Minister Joemat-Pettersson appears before the committee at the beginning of next year to answer these questions.
The South African public deserve to know that public money is being spent responsibly, and that it is their best interests, not those of politically connected businesspeople, which are government’s top priority.
Media Enquiries:

Deetlefs du Toit MP
Shadow Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
082 471 0465
Kelly Miller
DA Media Officer
072 226 9759

Something Fishy in R1bn Patrol Tender

Something fishy in R1bn patrol tender
BOBBY JORDAN | 04 December, 2011
See www.timeslive.co.za for the full story.
A POLITICALLY connected consortium which owns one of the country’s biggest fishing companies has secured a nearly R1-billion tender to police South Africa’s fishing industry at sea.
Top empowerment firm Sekunjalo Investments heads the consortium.
This has triggered concerns that the company is set to become both player and referee in the policing of the country’s R2-billion-a-year fishing industry.
Sekunjalo owns a majority stake in Premier Fishing, which is active in several fisheries including rock lobster, anchovies, pilchard, hake and squid.
A senior industry source said giving a fishing company influence over the country’s patrol fleet was a case of “the wolf guarding the hen house”.