DA wants Emzemvelo reinstated

2016-09-08 06:00

THE DA has filed a petition to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, to immediately reinstate Ezemvelo as the custodian of the KZN coastline.

Countless South Africans depend on the ocean either as subsistence fisherman or for jobs, which will not exist if overfishing and poaching are allowed to deplete ocean species.

In a sitting of the Environmental Affairs Portfolio Committee this week, the Democratic Alliance handed over a petition containing over 70 signatures from concerned citizens and stakeholders who have taken issue with the Department’s decision to cancel Ezemvelo’s coastline protection contract.

This move will effectively see poaching and overfishing take reign in the absence of competent and vigorous patrolling services.

Before the cancellation of the contract, Ezemvelo was responsible for patrolling the 560km KZN coastline with approximately 80 marine conservation staff.

Fisheries are now compelled to deploy and train an equivalent number of new staff, which will see some struggling fisheries close doors due to these unexpected costs, resulting in more job losses.

Ezemvelo was informed in March that its contract to monitor and patrol the provincial coastline has been cancelled with no reasons provided.

These duties are supposedly being taken over by war veterans and other personnel from the Western Cape when the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries assumed responsibility on 1 August.

Recently the KZN Provincial Coastal Committee, a marine advisory body for government, has urged the Department of Environmental Affairs MEC to push the DAFF into reversing this decision.

Ezemvelo and its predecessors have been looking after the KZN coast for decades and to remove this competency will be a disaster.

“We demand that Ezemvelo continue to protect and act as guardians of the coastline and that their contract be reinstated.

The DA will continue to fight for our oceans to be protected in the interests of many of South Africans who depend on the ocean economy and for the countless jobs that are at risk as a result,” said Thomas Hadebe, MP DA Shadow Minister of Environmental Affairs.

- Supplied.

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