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Zokwana laments court interdict by disgruntled fishing company

Zokwana has lamented the fact that more than 5,000 people will have no income for this month due to the court action.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN – Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana believes a disgruntled fishing company’s court application is standing in the way of transformation.

An interim order by the Western Cape High Court has effectively placed a freeze on the R300 million a year hake inshore trawling.

Zokwana briefed the media in Parliament yesterday following the court’s decision to grant a review application of the fishing quota allocations.

Minister Zokwana has lamented the fact that more than 5,000 people will have no income for this month due to the court action.

He says the order also sets the department back in its transformation goals.

“In terms of the Fisheries industry, there has to be a change of attitude and mind to those who have rights, to understand that if we’re to have a sustainable industry that should be transformed accordingly.”

Viking Inshore Fishing, however, argues a 60% reduction on its previous quota could result in the shutting down of its hake operations in Mossel Bay.

Zokwana said he’s “perturbed” by what appears to be an unlawful order: “Of greatest concern to us is that the order, a subsequent set down date for a review of the application, denies my legal rights and obligation as the minister to decide any appeals that may be filed in terms of the provision of the Marine Living Resources Act.”

Viking’s Tim Reddell said he had no other option but to approach the court: “The appeal process it going to take about six months and at that point, should we be successful and be given some of our fish back, so to say, there will not be that fish for us to catch.”

It says 179 people could lose their jobs.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)