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Archive for May, 2012

This statement was issued by Oceana Group Ltd this afternoon.  The Competition Commission had earlier announced that it had concluded a settlement with Oceana settling a number of price fixing and market allocation contraventions within the pelagic (pilchard and anchovy) fishing sector. In terms of the settlement, Oceana admitted that Oceana Brands, Foodcorp, Premier Fishing SA, Gaansbaai Marine, Terressan Pelagic Fishing, Paternoster Visserye, Pioneer Fishing and Saladanha Foods, as members of the South African Pelagic Fish Processors Association (SAPFPA), agreed to fix prices paid to vessel owners/operators, skippers and crew for the service of catching pelagic fish. 

[Cape Town, 09 May 2012] Following an investigation into the small pelagic fishery by the Competition Commission, Oceana Group Limited and its subsidiary Oceana Brands Limited have accepted responsibility for certain contraventions of the Competition Act.  Accordingly, Oceana has agreed to pay an administrative penalty amounting to R34.75 million representing 5% of its affected turnover derived from its pelagic fishing operations in South Africa in the 2010 financial year. This is in full and final settlement and is subject to confirmation by the Competition Tribunal.  
Oceana Group CEO, Francois Kuttel, said, “Oceana has co-operated fully with the Commission during its investigation and while we deeply regret the Commission’s findings, we acknowledge that this occurred, with the exception of the Sea Harvest matter.
“The bulk of the penalty relates to open negotiations which were in place for the purposes of compensating skippers, crew, and some private boat owners in the small pelagic fishery for over four decades. While it was technically a contravention of the Competition Act, we believed this activity was covered by the exemption relating to collective bargaining. 
“The remaining infringements were technical in nature and in certain cases, never implemented. Most importantly, no harm was done in any way to consumers through any of these infringements.”
Two of the contraventions had ceased two years prior to the Commission’s original complaint in July 2008. The others were identified during our compliance audit as contraventions and the conduct in question was immediately discontinued.
Oceana respectfully disagrees with the Commission’s conclusions regarding the effect of the Sea Harvest shareholders’ agreement, given that the company was not even aware that the agreement existed until 2010.
Oceana has implemented a comprehensive ongoing Competition Law compliance programme, consisting of training and education, compliance audits, the introduction of relevant corporate policies and procedures as well as the establishment of appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms. Oceana operates responsibly and ethically in strict accordance with the laws of the country and the King III principles of good corporate governance.
The City of Cape Town has launched its own marine fisheries enforcement unit. This move can be seen as an expression of the City’s frustrations with the Department of Fisheries and its complete inability to halt rampant poaching of abalone, lobster and other high value fish stocks. 
These pictures have been provided courtesy of Councillor JP Smith, MAYCO member for Safety in the City of Cape Town. 

A Government Confused

The Cape Times this morning reports a rather arrogant and clearly uninformed “spokesperson” for the Defence Department, a Siphiwe Dlamini, stating that the “navy did not require Smit Amandla’s expertise…” He goes on to state “who is Smit Amandla to teach the Navy about what to do? We are crewing those vessels…”
Err, no the Navy is not crewing those vessels, Mr Dlamnini. The Navy does not have a cooking clue how to operate the vessels. In fact Mr Dlamini, none of the patrol vessels or the research vessels (save for the African which is crewed by Smit staff) have even had their engines started since they were handed to the Navy on 30 March. The Navy does not even know how to start the vessels! 
(And lets not remind ourselves that our Navy is not remotely competent if we cannot distinguish between an AC and DC socket resulting in severe damage to one of our non-functioning billion rand Naval submarines). 
Then Mr Dlamini, did you not hear what Rear Admiral Mhlana said on Carte Blanche on 6 May 2012? Admiral Mhlana stated that the Navy needs Smit Amandla crew members to advise them for a further three to six months.
How is it possible to have such incompetent yet grossly arrogant civil servants? 

From: Business Live

The second panic attack was by Agriculture, Forestry and fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson who arrived at the Cape Town Press Club breakfast to find that her nemesis, Democratic Alliance MP Pieter van Dalen, was in the audience.

      Instead of wowing her audience, who were waiting with baited breathe for her performance, Joemat-Pettersson became hooked on Van Dalen’s presence and offered to leave as she believed that he would use the occasion to make some kind of political statement.

     Her media people argued that the Press Club was not the place for politicians and media only, but they did not do their research properly, because if they had enquired a bit more, by even just looking at the club’s website, they would have realized that all sorts of people who have some kind of general media interest are members.

     The Cape Town Press Club is open to anyone and then they played the race card when obviously losing the debate about whether Van Dalen should be there or not.

     Both events illustrate that there is a woeful lack of proper planning within government. It doesn’t matter how grand a project or how small an event is – the lack of doing the most perfunctory research and the inability to adapt to changing circumstances show a rigidity in political thought that is the real reason for the poor service delivery being experienced today.

TINA TANTRUM!

Read Donwald Pressley’s full story on the Business Report Website.

Declaring that her ministry was not “a Hollywood” set, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson instigated a trail of destruction through her department on Friday by suspending the acting deputy director-general in charge of the fisheries sub-department, allegedly on the grounds of promoting fronting.

Read on here.

BREAKING NEWS: FRAUDSTER YUSUF ACHMAT ARRESTED

After months of avoiding arrest, the South African Police Service, together with DAFF’s Special Investigations Unit, arrested Yusuf Achmat.

Achmat has defrauded dozens of commercial and artisinal fisherman in Cape Town, Hermanus, Gansbaai and the West Coast.

Feike had exposed this criminal fraudster during 2011 and worked extensively with SAPS and DAFF to secure his arrest. We now need to secure his conviction and jail sentence.

The Minister of Fisheries Lampooned

The Minister of Fisheries is yet again the subject of public ridicule due to her childlike behavior at the Press Club on 4 May 2012.

Industry Must Demand Zuma’s Intervention

In light of the Press Club debacle by our extremely ill-informed and grossly inept fisheries minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, and the subsequent fall-out, it is high time that the President Zuma be approached to urgently intervene and remove this Minister from her post. 
Her suspension of Sue Middleton on 4 May 2012 because Middleton sought the urgent assistance of the SA Deep Sea Trawl Industry Association to get the SAS Africana to sea to conduct critical fisheries research surveys, confirms that this Minister without doubt a direct threat to the economic and biological well-being of our fisheries sector. 
SADSTIA in fact had paid for the cost of the research cruise and utilised SMIT crew because – as Feike has stated repeatedly – the Navy does not have the skills or capacity to operate our patrol and research vessels. They are not tractors to be handed from one driver to the next!
The SADSTIA statement confirms that the Minister has never bothered meeting with South Africa’s flag-ship fishing industry body. The hake and mid-water trawl industry contributes some 90% of the fisheries GDP of this country, employing about 50% of all workers in the fishing industry. 
We have reached a point of no return with Tina Joemat Pettersson. She is not remotely interested in sustainable fisheries management; she is an affront to Constitutionalism as she is not interested in accountability and has no ability to defend her decisions or those of her department (hence her refusal to address the Press Club with Pieter van Dalen present); she has overseen some of the most significant failures in SA fishing history including the loss of our entire fisheries patrol and research fleet; and she does not command the respect of her staff (who openly refer to her as Looney Tina (or Tunes) and members of the SA fishing industry. 
Tina Joemat-Pettersson must be removed from the post of Minister of Fisheries. 

Now SADSTIA Lambasts Fisheries Minister

The South African Deep Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) the Hake Trawlers Association categorically dismisses the allegations made by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries at the Cape Town Press Club today (May 04) with respect to the circumstances surrounding assistance provided to the DAFF and SA Navy by SADSTIA to ensure that the SAS Africana could proceed to sea for the critical Hake Biomass and Pelagic Hydroacoustic surveys. 
It is common knowledge that the other research vessels and patrol vessels, previously operated by the DAFF and now handed over to the SA Navy, have not gone to sea since the cancellation of the relevant contract at the end of March 2012. 
The facts are as follows: 
1.   Our organisation was concerned that these critical surveys would not take place as scheduled, following the transfer of the vessels to the SA Navy. The Hake Biomass survey was to have commenced mid-March 2012 and had been postponed. It was thought that unless the survey commenced by 18 April 2012 that it would not be able to complete the survey as required. 
2. The cancellation of the annual survey could materially impact the Industry’s Marine Stewardship Council certification, thereby jeopardising the capability of the industry to export its products, which could potentially result in major job losses and a crippling of the Industry. 
3. SADSTIA approached DAFF to offer whatever assistance was required to ensure that the surveys could go ahead as planned. 
4. DAFF engaged with the SA Navy who confirmed that they required assistance from personnel experienced in the operation of the SAS Africana in order to proceed safely to sea and enable the transfer of skills to navy personnel. It is normal when dealing with the handover of specialised vessels such as the Africana to have a skills transfer programme lasting several months. 
5. A service level agreement was signed by DAFF and SADSTIA for the provision of certificated, specialist personnel for the two research voyages of the Africana to ensure skills transfer to the SA Navy personnel; The Deputy Director General signed on behalf of the Department. 
6. SADSTIA approached SMIT Amandla Marine to secure the services of key former Africana personnel with the specific technical experience on this vessel and the specialist knowledge required to familiarise SA Navy personnel with operations. As these crew were full-time Smit employees ultimately a Crew Manning agreement was concluded in order to secure the expert services of these crewmen. 
7. Qualified and experienced personnel were deployed to the SAS Africana on the 16th of April and were under the full command of the SA Navy during their time onboard. 
Given the facts outlined above, we therefore find it difficult to understand how the Minister could accuse SADSTIA of acting as a front when we were merely trying to assist DAFF and the SA Navy as well as our industry. 
As is evident from the invoices provided to DAFF by SADSTIA, as per the signed service level agreement, SADSTIA has not charged a mark-up for any support provided to DAFF despite a great deal of time and resources allocated thus far. The SMIT Amandla Marine invoices concerned were given to the DAFF by SADSTIA in an open and transparent way. There cannot be any question of fronting. 
It is a pity that the genuine assistance afforded to the DAFF and SA Navy, for the benefit of the Hake and Pelagic industry as a whole, should be tarnished in this way. The Association regrets that since taking office that the Minister has not met the Association representing 90% of her most valuable commercial fishery and would welcome the opportunity to engage with her. 

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson defended her refusal on Friday to speak at the Cape Town Press Club in the presence of a DA shadow minister.
“Minister Joemat-Pettersson said she was under the impression that being invited to a press club meant addressing members of the media, not politicians,” her adviser Rams Mabote said in a statement.
Joemat-Pettersson refused to speak at the club’s breakfast briefing on Friday, unless Democratic Alliance shadow minister Pieter Van Dalen, a member of the club, left.
Van Dalen said he agreed to do so because he did not want to deny the audience the opportunity of hearing her speak.
Mabote said: “The minister told the press club that respectfully, if they invite one political party, then they should invite all other political parties.”
Had she known it would be a political event, she would have attended in her capacity as member of the African National Congress’s national executive and national working committees.
Mabote said he could not understand why the club took exception to the minister’s reaction.
“The minister goes to Parliament… she addresses politicians every day, so why is she expected to at the Press Club? Why don’t they invite other political parties, then?” He said Joemat-Pettersson’s office did not know her shadow minister would be at the event, contending this was not the appropriate setting for political debate. Joemat-Pettersson did not ask Van Dalen to leave, but communicated this through the club’s chairman Donwald Pressly.
“The minister even offered to leave herself if the Press Club had issues with her misgivings.” Mabote said it appeared Van Dalen wished to capitalise on the briefing to continue a disagreement the two had during her budget vote speech on Thursday.
Earlier, Van Dalen said Joemat-Pettersson’s conduct was unacceptable. “If minister Joemat-Pettersson can’t take the heat, she needs get out of the kitchen,” he said. Pressly was similarly unimpressed: “One is surprised that an elected politician and servant of the entire electorate is unable to take the heat of probing questions from whatever quarter.”
National Press Club chairman Yusuf Abramjee said the minister’s conduct “smacks of arrogance and this nonsense must stop”. Van Dalen said he had been looking forward to hearing her, as she did not often speak with the media or public.
Van Dalen said the minister’s behaviour indicated “a disregard for basic principles on which our democracy is based, such as accountable and responsive governance”.
Joemat-Pettersson had allowed her personal sentiments to affect her ability to do her job, he said. On Thursday, he called on Joemat-Pettersson to resign during the debate on her department’s budget vote due to “her questionable performance over the last three years and the poor state of her department”.
Van Dalen said her conduct at the Press Club was “irrational”. “I am even more resolute in my belief that the minister is unfit to hold public office”.
Pressly said Joemat-Pettersson’s office had accused the club of dishonesty over its guest list to the breakfast meeting. “Van Dalen is a fully paid-up member of the Cape Town Press Club, and as such is entitled to attend any Cape Town Press Club event he chooses to attend,” he said in a statement. Pressly said the minister’s office had “no prerogative” to dictate to the club which of its members were allowed to attend its own meetings.
“Perhaps it is a case of the answers being potentially embarrassing, rather than the questions,” he said.
Abramjee said he would not have allowed Joemat-Pettersson to address the meeting if she was not prepared to speak in front of Van Dalen. He said it was “disrespectful” of her to use the public platform provided by the Cape Town Press club for “petty politicking”.
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