Cape Town – A member of Hout Bay's fishing community said a meeting between fishermen and the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries was in fact held on Sunday, although it was with a select number of fishermen and took place in the minister's office.
This was after News24 reported that the minister, Senzeni Zokwana, had met with a group of disgruntled small fishermen on Sunday to thrash out some of their issues. On Monday, some fishermen complained that he had not pitched in Hangberg as expected.
However, Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust spokesperson Ikram Halim said that the meeting took place, but in Zokwana's office in Parliament, and not in Hangberg as thought.
He added that only fishermen who had been party to a memorandum sent to Zokwana on September 11 were invited in to the meeting.
"When we submitted the document, the minister invited those people only," he explained.
In that memorandum, the fishermen complained that Zokwana was neglecting them, and was pandering to the whims of big companies.
Another meeting planned
They complained that critical documents were often lost by department officials, and the fishermen had to borrow money to remedy problems caused by the department, among other complaints.
The department issued a statement on Monday, saying it had met with the representatives of the fishing communities and had clarified issues that need urgent attention.
There would be another meeting on Monday to discuss the total allowable catch of the West Coast rock lobster; the proposal to suspend allocations on rock lobster and abalone for the current fishing rights allocation process; and address the allocation of fish for small-scale fisheries ahead of the 2020 fishing rights allocation process.
Zokwana's spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said complaints by small-scale fishermen that they were being robbed by big companies would also be discussed.
Protesters blockaded roads in the fishing town last week over the matter. In one instance, protesters set fire to a restaurant's furniture on a road to draw attention to their plight.