Today, I tabled the Abalone Report in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament for review at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). I want this pertinent issue to be investigated along each and every coastline in our country to assess the impact of this illegal activity on our communities, and to hold the respective national ministries to account for failing to decisively address it.
The poaching of abalone off the Western Cape’s coastline is a transnational crime so detrimental and far-reaching that it is slowly ripping apart the social fabric of our Province’s fishing communities. The report serves as an incentive for all other provinces to hold our national ministries to account in the wake of an evident and blatant failure to serve our people.It was revealed that in the Western Cape alone, the National Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Ministry of Public Works, as well as the Ministry of Police have failed in their mandate to serve our Province.
There is no protection of our coastline from illegal fishing nor of our people from the gangs who capitalise on it, there is a failing system of fishing quota allocation for small-scale fishermen to access our oceans economy, and the maintenance of our harbours and small-scale fishing infrastructure has been completely abandoned.
It is these failures, at National Government level, which have led to the scourge of abalone poaching in our communities. I want this report to ascend to the NCOP for debate and discussion where other Provinces can also hold the national executive to account. Furthermore, it must be established how confiscated abalone can be sold by DAFF to fund their Department.
As the DA in the Western Cape we know that fishing has been the only form of income for generations of small-scale fishing communities. We will not allow failures by the national government to take the right to fish away from our people.
We remain committed to creating economic opportunity for all South Africans, in each and every sector, to restore dignity and prosperity to our people. This includes making sure that our national ministries are doing their jobs.