Fishing fraternity demands safety

2019-05-28 06:00
Fishermen and anglers giving their account of their experiences on the coastline.PHOTOs: siphesihle notwabaza

Fishermen and anglers giving their account of their experiences on the coastline.PHOTOs: siphesihle notwabaza

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Anglers and fishermen spoke out strongly against numerous challenges they while on duty on along the False Bay Coastline during a meeting held at Lentegeur subcouncil offices on Saturday 18 May.

The meeting was a continuation of one that was held in April (‘Safety of fishermen discussed’, People’s Post, 30 April)

The meeting was chaired by ward 43 councillor Elton Jansen who was joined by members from various organisations.

Present were Captain David Malong from Strandfontein police, Thandikhaya Matebese, assistant director for stakeholder engagement of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and director for safety and security from City of Cape Town Robbie Robberts.

Jansen told the fishing members who filled the subcouncil auditorium in Lentegeur that he invited the officials so that fishermen and anglers could interact with them to address issues.

He encouraged the fishing industry members to work together and to also continue what they are doing but stay away from acting illegally. Even if they were faced with challenges, they must always opt for legal routes, he appealed to them.

Fishermen and anglers raised the issues they are faced with when they are at the sea. They claim that when they go to the Strandfontein Police Station to open cases they are mostly referred to Muizenberg Police Station, something they said is an inconvenience.

They also raised an issue of a braai area that had been fenced. They reckon in order for them to gain access they would have to break-in but say that would be illegal. They claimed the City did not put enough effort into addressing criminal activities on the coastline.

They also complained about a lack of dustbins, which is something they say compels people to litter.

One of the anglers, Andre Arendse said, “We pay for licenses, therefore, we can complain,” he said.

He said the City needs to put proper measures in place to deal with crime.

“We realise they cannot be all at the sea but they can do better,” he explained.

They made various suggestions, including a warning sign that reads “Do Not Fish Alone and Do Not Litter, It Is An Offence”. Jansen took down all the suggestions and promised to forward them to the relevant personnel.

Matebese said they appreciated being invited to the meeting but explained that his department did not necessarily have the expertise to deal with some of the concerns.

“What they (department) mostly do is manage the marine,” said Matebese.

He promised to submit a report about the meeting, but could not predict the result.

“If people are referred to other police stations and they feel they should be helped in that police station, take the name of the officer who refuses to help you and also use the complaints box,” advised Malong.

He said when they are called to a scene, as officials, they must heed the call and assess the situation.

If the concerned area is not theirs, they must be able to offer support to the complainant by directing them to the relevant station or officer.

He also said according to his experience working at sea, many of the criminal activities occurred at night – something the fishermen did not agree with.

His message to the fishing fraternity was to encourage them to never get tired of reporting crime.

Robberts did not say much except that his department was ready to deal with criminals who are making the lives of fishermen a misery. “When you report an incident, you need to get a reference number which will be used for a follow up. I will look into law enforcement and if you do not abide, I will make you abide,” promised Robberts.

Jansen said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting.

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