Just when we saw some light in the tunnel, we now learn that the South African government will be using unarmed uMkhonto we Sizwe veterans to police our coast in a bid to stamp out abalone poaching! To make matters even worse they are being trained by metrorail – the same organisation that runs our railways and cant keep passengers from being thrown off trains. Oh no, is this just a surreal really bad dream? Please let it be!

Many respected voices in the field have simply and sadly confirmed that this just amounts to another case of ANC cadre deployment using public funds. With the deployment of ANC cadres to fight poaching (remembering that just before the national elections in April, a senior ANC official was caught with poached abalone in his official ANC vehicle emblazoned with ANC logos and a picture of the current president), government has unequivocally confirmed that it has no interest in curbing poaching. It will cost the taxpayer and the abalone industry many millions to fund this ANC cadre deployment and will undoubtedly yield as much of a result as did the initial commercial harvesting ban.
The regularity with which government administration continues to ignore academic and industry advice, expert advice, best practice and the expensive mistakes of days past is further evidence that we have almost completely corrupted the civil service with blind political loyalty.
Instead of unarmed, metrorail trained MK Veterans what we need to spend public and industry funds on the infiltration and collapse of organised triad structures and the disruption in the trade of abalone which funds everything from tik production to the counterfeit goods like DVD’s, clothes and cigarettes. We also need dedicated environmental courts with properly trained “green” magistrates and prosecutors. We also need to ensure that our current fishery control officers are actually fully conversant with our marine fisheries laws and can properly support the detection and prosecution services attain successful prosecutions coupled with lengthy jail terms for the gang bosses.
We do not need MK Veterans wondering the coast hoping to bump into a triad boss poaching tons of abalone. The MK Veterans could instead wonder the coast and make sure recreational fishers have their permits and are catching their 4 lobsters per day – that’s if metrorail is training them to also identify the difference between a geelbek and an abalone.

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