Safety of fishermen discussed

2019-04-30 06:01
Fishermen gathered at Strandfontein beach to discuss safety issues with the CPF.

Fishermen gathered at Strandfontein beach to discuss safety issues with the CPF.

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Fishermen from various areas and residents gathered at the Strandfontein Pavilion to discuss, among other things, the safety of the fishermen at sea on Saturday 13 April.

This follows a number of instances where fishermen were attacked or their cars were broken into while fishing. Resulting in them losing their valuables.

Jamiel Spannenberg, a Community Policing Forum (CPF) member from Delft and also a frequent fisher at Strandfontein beach organised, together with Sandy Schuter chairperson of Strandfontein CPF, the meeting after having witnessed many criminal acts against fellow fishermen and says he feels helpless when it occurs.

He says that a meeting like this was long overdue because the beach had become a playground for criminals. Fishermen felt that there is a poor light system, lack of security officials patrolling and a need to improve the accessibility of the coastline.

They also felt that the toilets were not clean. All these issues were put on the table in the meeting.

They met to brainstorm ideas of how they can be safe at the beach while fishing.

Police were able to listen to their grievances and will see where and how they can help. The police and law enforcement officers did not promise anything as they work according to by-laws.

Also attending was Mogamat Wazier who is part of the Rock and Surf group. He testified that safety was a big issue for fishermen. He too has witnessed many cases of criminals stealing people’s items while they were busy fishing.

“We really are not safe, I have seen guys walking up and down the beach breaking into people’s cars. We have been making noise about the safety in the sea and no one seems to listen,” Wazier laments.

He described the situation as a nightmare and says it needed urgent attention as people are getting hurt frequently.

Schuter says that her suggestion to fishermen was to form a fishermen forum. This would help them draft their grievances and send them to the relevant parties.

She adds that the fishermen echoed the same sentiment regarding lack of safety.

They say the few law enforcement officials that do patrol are more concerned about permits than fishermen’s safety.

“If only the same emphasis on permits was exercised on their safety because they have to apply and pay for permits. Surely they can request more safety,” Schuter says.

Another meeting which will determine a way forward is scheduled to take place in May, to allow fishermen to engage with authorities and to hopefully make some agreements to further protect fishermen at the sea.

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