Integration of fisheries into Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

10 September 2012
Chairperson: Mr M Johnson (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

That morning the Minister sent an apology to the Committee that she would be unable to brief the Committee that day on the short, medium and long-term plans for the management of the Fisheries Division. Some members were aggrieved that the Minister was not taking the Committee seriously as she had not honoured a previous invitation. They protested that they would boycott the meeting if the meeting went ahead. The Chairperson ruled that the meeting should proceed and urged members not to boycott the meeting. A COPE member left the meeting.
 
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) presented on the integration of Fisheries into DAFF from the Department of Environmental Affairs. Its current status was that it thus far comprised of Core Chief Directors that made up Branch Fisheries Management: Aquaculture and Economic Development; Fisheries Research & Development; Marine Resources Management and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance. The mission and services of each Chief Directorate and their components was noted.

DAFF explained that Proclamation No 44 of 2009 had
transferred the administration, powers and functions of the Marine Living Resources Act to the Minister from the Minister of Environmental Affairs. Proclamation No 1 of 2010 had transferred the administration, powers and functions for other pieces of legislation.

Members asked how and when the small scale fisheries policy would be implemented; if the training given to fish farmers under DAFF’s technical support services was adequate and yielding the required results; if the licensing and permitting undertaken by DAFF was centralised; what DAFF was doing to tackle the seemingly regular loss of lives of fishermen; to what extent local communities were integrated into the policies and programmes of DAFF.

Meeting report

Ministerial no-show
The Chairperson stated that the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,who had been due to appear before the Committee today, had called him this morning to apologise that she would not be able to make it to the meeting because she was in Stellenbosch. The Deputy Minister had also sent an apology for his absence. The primary purpose of the meeting was to get a briefing from the Minister but she would not be able to come.

Ms A Steyn (DA) asked for clarity concerning the Minister’s apology. Would the Minister be coming later or would she not be coming at all?

The Chairperson responded that the Minister had informed him that she would not be able to join the Committee for the meeting.

Mr B Bhanga (Cope) commented that the Minister was not taking the Committee seriously and as such her apology should be rejected. There had been an earlier summons for the Minister to appear before the Committee to present a briefing on the state of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries but she had refused to honour the summons. The presentation which DAFF sought to present to the Committee today should be rejected unless the Minister was around to make her briefing.

Mr Bhanga stated that he would not take part in the meeting if the Minister was not present to make her briefing.

Mr L Van Dalen (DA) supported the position of Mr Bhanga. The Minister was treating the Committee with disdain and he wondered if the Minister felt she was better than the members of the Committee. He suggested that the meeting should be postponed and the Committee could meet on another day when the Minster was inclined to speak to the Committee. The Committee had an oversight role stipulated by the Constitution and there was a need to call the Minister to give an account concerning her ministry.

The Chairperson asked for comments from members about the proposal for a postponement of the meeting.

Ms M Pilusa-Mosoane (ANC) observed that DAFF was present at the meeting even though the Minister was absent. She opined that the Committee should continue the meeting.

The Chairperson said he believed that the Minister was stating the truth about the reason for her absence. He felt she had no reason to fabricate excuses for her absence. DAFF could make the presentation and the Committee could deliberate with the Minister at an appropriate time.

Mr Bhanga stated that the government of Mr Jacob Zuma had itself declared at some point in time that Parliament must be respected by Ministers. The Committee had made a resolution that the Minister had to come to the meeting and yet she was not there. The Committee would be toothless if the Minister was not called to order for refusing to honour the invitations of the Committee.

Ms Steyn said that it was unacceptable for the Minister not to come to the meeting. She would confirm an ongoing rumour that was circulating that the Minister was busy attending another Portfolio Meeting. Her colleague had informed her that the Minister had requested to see members in their Committee and this was totally unacceptable if it was true.

Ms Steyn stated that she would similarly not stay in the meeting if the Minister was not present.

Mr C Msimang (IFP) said that he was in agreement with the submission that the Minister did not take the Committee seriously and was further in agreement with the view that the Ministers ought to be dealt with. However, the Committee should continue with the meeting and the Minister could be dealt with later.

Ms N Phaliso (ANC) said that she was surprised that members had diverted focus to the Minister and not to the information which was sorely needed from DAFF. It was suggested that the meeting should continue and that the Minister’s absence could be dealt with later.

The Chairperson said that the meeting would continue and implored those who had said that they would not stay if the Minster was not present, to change their minds.

Mr Bhanga left the meeting.

The Chairperson directed DAFF to make its presentation.

Mr Sipho Ntombela, DAFF Acting Director General, introduced his delegation. He said DAFF would be briefing the Committee on the integration of fisheries into the Department. This was in line with the presidential directive in May 2009 that Fisheries would be transferred from the Department of Environment and Tourism to the Department of Agriculture which had now become the present Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). The second briefing would look at the proclamations for the transfer of the administration and the powers and functions to the Minister from the Minister of DEA.

Integration of fisheries into Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
Dr Mono Mashaba , DAFF Chief Director: Operations Support, made the presentation. He said that the ministerial mandate was the internal integration of the branch referred to as fisheries management. The Branch: Fisheries Management had not been fully integrated into DAFF, which had led to DAFF being fragmented when executing its mandate. The mandate regarding fisheries matters previously resided with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and this function had been transferred to DAFF from 01 April 2010. The internal integration process that was being undertaken aimed to unify functions and processes. This posed definite challenges given the different cultures which characterised the functioning of the former two departments and which had now been merged into a single department.

The key objectives of the integration process was to ensure that the vision, mission and culture of DAFF permeated the entire organisation, ensure that all the services offered by DAFF were accessible to all its clients in all provinces, optimise the utilisation of the human, financial and physical resources of the department through integrated business processes and frameworks [that is, avoiding silos]; provide a one-stop centre for DAFF services or decentralise where appropriate; ensure minimised costs related to property rentals; avoid the duplication of functions and ensure successful implementation of all priority programmes of the Department through the utilisation of regional capacities.

In respect of the fisheries incorporation into DAFF, during April 2010 the fisheries function was transferred to DAFF, and it became Programme 6. Within Programme 6, the aquaculture function was upgraded to become a Chief Directorate (new post) and the post of Director: Aquaculture was split into two posts, that is, Director: Aquaculture Technical Services and Director: Aquaculture Management. A new Directorate post for Small Scale Fisheries Management was created in the Chief Directorate: Marine Resource Management. A new post of Director: Aquaculture Research was created in the Chief Directorate: Fisheries Research and Development.

The Corporate/support functions previously located in Marine Coastal Management were transferred to different branches as follows:

Corporate Services:
□   CD: Fisheries Operations Support
□   Directorate: Integrated Human Resource Management
□   Directorate: IT
Chief Financial Office:
□   CD: Financial Management (Fisheries)
□   Directorate: Supply Chain Management & Facilities
□   Directorate: Revenue Management
□   Directorate: Financial Management

The current status thus far comprised of Core Chief Directors that made up Branch Fisheries Management: Aquaculture and Economic Development; Fisheries Research & Development; Marine Resources Management and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance.

The following questions were asked about each sub-programme:
▪ Which services could be easily restructured across where they were most needed?
▪ Which units could best render an efficient and effective service if located at the Head Office (Pretoria)?
▪ Given the four coastal provinces and Pretoria HO, staff members ought to be given the option to indicate where they preferred to be based.
▪ Which services could still be rendered from the Western Cape given the existing critical infrastructure, to enable such services to continue to be rendered cost effectively?

Chief Directorate: Aquaculture and Economic Development (CD:AED)
The mission was to ensure aquaculture growth and fisheries economic development for sustainable livelihoods by providing public support and an integrated platform for management of aquaculture. Aquaculture was an infant sector requiring a careful development approach. The National Aquaculture Strategic Framework was developed to bring a new dispensation in aquaculture and effective intergovernmental and stakeholder engagements and platforms.

The focus of its management services was sustainable management: which encompassed licensing and permitting of aquaculture and related operations; advisory services on legislation and regulations; facilitation of Environment Impact Assessments; shellfish and finfish monitoring of aquaculture and related operations; bio-security and environmental assessments, and inspection of aquaculture operations; development, implementation and review of legislative instruments (regulations, permit conditions, norms and standards, guidelines), policies and strategies.

The focus of its technical support services was technical support (training, advisory) to fish farmers; information and data collection, management and dissemination; economic and statistical services; setting of aquaculture R&D agenda; coordination and management of research activities, processes and outcomes in respect of aquaculture R&D agenda; perform R&D work and disseminate results; and development and management of aquaculture development facilities.

Chief Directorate: Fisheries Research & Development (CD:FRD)
The mission was to ensure the promotion of the sustainable development of fisheries resources and ecosystems by conducting and supporting appropriate research. The current services of the CD: FRD were chiefly internal services, in which the CD:FRD provided scientific advice to the Chief Directorate: Marine Resources Management (CD:MRM) for decision-making. The CD:FRD also made scientific inputs to Regional Fisheries Management organisations in which South Africa participated, and performed a ‘watchdog’ function by ensuring that science used for decision-making in those forums were of a sufficient quality. The CD:FRD evaluated applications, and issued permits for research under Section 83 of the MLRA.  The permitting function was largely done electronically as all relevant stakeholders had access to such technology.  Permitting required multiple inputs from scientific experts and was also required to co-operate closely with DEA: Oceans & Coasts, particularly with regard to joint permits.

In relation to the current level of regionalisation, the CD: FRD currently had staff based in outlying offices as follows: Sandy Point; Saldanha Bay; Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth. The CD: FRD saw great potential for wider regionalisation of research functions, both in coastal and inland provinces. The challenges to further regionalisation were that the current level of regionalisation was what could be achieved with the resources (human capital and financial resources) currently available to the CD: FRD, as current resources were already re-prioritised and stretched to past the maximum. Further regionalisation could therefore only be achieved by expansion and would therefore depend on the availability of new resources. Regionalisation would be expensive in terms of building new laboratories, research facilities, and stocking these with appropriate research equipment in other centres. Concerning the proposed solution in the short to medium term, it was pragmatic to utilise existing capacity, facilities and infrastructure in other centres through collaborative agreements with existing research organisations within and around those areas (such as universities, national research facilities). In the longer term, in-house DAFF regionalisation could occur as resources were made available.

Chief Directorate: Marine Resources Management (CD:MRM)
The mission was to ensure the sustainable utilisation and equitable and orderly access to the marine living resources through improved management and regulation. The current services rendered by the CD:MRM was the management of fisheries; allocation of fishing rights; permit conditions, policies (regulations); permits / exemptions; allocation of
Total allowable catch (TAC)/ Total Allowable Effort (TAE); rights registers; transfer of rights and international engagements; gather, process economic information; fishing effort and vessel changes; multidisciplinary inputs of knowledge were needed, both concerning the resource base of the fisheries and the social, economic and cultural contexts of fisheries and fisheries development (stakeholder management); recreational fisheries – cross-cutting in a number of sectors; fish processing establishments – cross-cutting; implementation of certification systems (that is, EU Regulations, China Certification).

Concerning the proposed structure and services of the CD:MRM, the decentralised services of the CD: MRM were submission of applications and the collection thereof (Customer Services); processing & issuing of all permits (Back Office and delegated authorities); all payments (permits, levies); general fisheries management (operations). All these services were to be rendered in major nodal points as follows: Northern Cape: Port Nolloth; West Coast: Saldanha; Cape Town; South Coast: Hermanus; Mossel Bay; KZN: Durban. The services to be rendered at the Cape Town offices were Fisheries Management (that is, implementation of policies delegated at Middle Management); implementation of certification systems (such as EU, China,); and fisheries economists who collected and analysed data to inform decision making.

Chief Directorate: Monitoring Control And Surveillance (CD: MCM)
The mission was to ensure the promotion and protection of sustainable use of marine living resources by intensifying enforcement and compliance.

The strategy for full integration was:
▪ Engagement with all Senior Managers – Done
▪ Engagement with all staff through their Sub-programmes – Done
▪ Feedback received from all Sub-programme and there was overwhelming support from the majority of staff members for the process.
▪ Acknowledgement that DAFF as a whole needed full integration at both national (HO) and regional/provincial offices and that was a positive factor.
▪ Full consultation with the unions about the impact of full integration to staff.
▪ Investigate availability of Office Space in Pretoria to accommodate Units ready to move – Underway
▪ Undertake an Audit of all rented space across the country and engage Department of Public Works about the implication of the cancellation of existing lease agreements.

In conclusion, it could be said that the acknowledgement that internal integration involved coordination and collaboration had never received enough attention as the focus was more to capacitate the new structure of the department. DAFF would fast-track the process to establish regional offices for all the services that it must render regionally including fisheries functions as soon as an audit of all rented offices by DAFF across the country was finalised. Support services would also be rationalised according to the needs of each regional office as fisheries and forestry remained DAFF’s national competency. Address the issues of office space at the Head Office as all top management (DDG & Chief Directors) and Corporate Support units were relocated to Pretoria in the short-term.

Proclamation for transfer of administration, powers and functions
Mr Mashaba said Proclamation No 44 of 2009, signed on 1 July 2009, transferred the administration and the powers and functions entrusted by the Marine Living Resources Act (No 18 of 1998) to the Minister from the Minister of Environmental Affairs. The powers and functions entrusted by sections 12, 13, 18, 25, 26, 28, 77 (with respect to mariculture and other matters pertaining to any of the provisions of the Act mentioned in this paragraph), 78, 79, 80 , 81 and 83 of the Act had also been transferred. Regulations 60 to 73 of the Regulations of the Marine Living Resources Act had undergone similar process.

On 10 February 2010, Proclamation No 1 of 2010 transferred the administration, powers and functions entrusted by the Sea Fisheries Act (No 12 of 1988) and MLRA; the powers and functions entrusted by section 29 (SFA); the powers and functions entrusted by sections 1, 47, 48 and 50 insofar as they relate to the powers and functions transferred by section 29 (SFA); the powers and functions entrusted by sections 5 to 7, 10 to 15, 17, 18 to 27 and 29 to 41, 44 to 50 (MLRA); the powers and functions entrusted by sections 1 to 4, 8, 9 13, 16, 28, 42 and 51 to 83 insofar as they relate to the powers and functions transferred under sections above (MLRA); regulations made in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998, published in Government Notice R. 1111 on 2 September 1998; regulations for the Protection of Wild Abalone made in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998, published in Government Notice R62 on 1 February 2008.

In relation to the proposed proclamation to conclude the transfer, the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Minister of Environmental Affairs had met to finalise the transfer of functions under the facilitation of the Director general in the Presidency, as the previous two proclamations did not entail all fishery and fishery-related legislation. After the discussion, a working team was established to work out a proposal on functions and powers in the Fishery legislation to be transferred from DEA to DAFF as from the 1 June 2012. DAFF wanted a simple transfer of Section 43 of the Marine Living Resources Act from the Minister of Environmental Affairs to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, but it was not accepted by DEA colleagues. DEA wanted environmental functions separated from fisheries functions. The Presidency advised that the matter be referred to the Chief State Law Advisors to scrutinise the Proclamation and its constitutional status.

Discussion
Mr Van Dalen asked about what monitoring was taking place currently. It appeared there was no way of monitoring the sea and South Africa was therefore vulnerable to poachers. DAFF was not delivering on its mandate of monitoring, controlling, and protecting the South African waters. He referred to the issue of Smith Amandla. It had been alleged that corruption had been involved in the extension of the contract involving the vessel.

Mr Ntombela said that the matter would be looked into and that a report would be given to the Committee. The contract with Smith Amandla expired on 31 March and there was a need for a new process. DAFF would need to consider issuing a tender. The vessel was currently with the South African Navy.

Ms Phaliso referred to the small scale fisheries policy and said that the Committee would require information on when and how the policy would be implemented.

Dr Mashaba said the implementation of the small scale fisheries policy was currently underway and a report would soon be made concerning the progress made so far by DAFF.

Ms R Nyalungu (ANC) asked if the training given to fish farmers under DAFF’s technical support services was adequate enough and yielding the required results. This was because oversight visits made by the Committee had revealed that most of the farmers were struggling in their businesses

Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo, DAFF Acting Chief Director of Aquaculture, said DAFF had recently completed a programme with the Rhodes University and the Water Research Commission and one of the deliverables was to develop a training manual for extension officers. The training manual had been piloted in Limpopo and several extension officers had been trained. The extension officers would then extend the knowledge they had acquired to the training of farmers. However, they needed to conduct an inquiry into whether this process had had an impact on the farmers or not. Nevertheless, several people that had undergone the training, had alluded to the fact that the training had been beneficial.

Mr L Gaehler (UDM) asked if the licensing and permitting undertaken by DAFF was centralised.

Dr Mashaba replied that presently, DAFF did not have the capacity or resources to create offices all over the country. As such what DAFF could do would be to create regional offices. These regional offices would scale the work down to satellite offices. However, in the meantime DAFF was trying its best to provide centralised services with mobile permitting vehicles.

Ms Steyn said that she was concerned about the level of involvement of the local fishing communities in the programmes of DAFF and asked to what extent were local communities integrated into the policies and programmes of DAFF.

The Chairperson commented on the recent death of three fishermen and asked what DAFF was doing to tackle the seemingly regular loss of the lives of fishermen. He asked if these fishermen were ever insured by the companies which employed them.

Mr Ntombela replied that the issue was a sad one and DAFF had stepped up plans to get more involved in the prevention of the loss of lives of the fishermen.

Dr Mashaba said that there had been engagements with the Department of Labour to assist DAFF in respect of the plight of workers in the fishing industry. There was a need for the Committee to call the Department of Labour to make a joint presentation with DAFF on how the death of fishermen could be tackled.

Mr Ntombela said that the joint cooperation between the Department of Labour and DAFF also extended to how the plight of farm workers could be alleviated. The Department of Labour and DAFF would appreciate it if the Committee could allow the two departments to make a joint briefing on the steps that had been taken so far in addressing the predicament and plight of fishermen and farm workers.

Ms Phaliso interjected and suggested that there was a need for DAFF to make a report on how the families of the three deceased fishermen were assisted in the burial of the fishermen. This was because most of the families of the fishermen were poor and barely had enough to survive on.

The Chairperson agreed with suggestion made by Ms Phaliso and directed that there was a need for DAFF to set up a unit within DAFF which would take care of the demise of fishermen, especially since the fishermen were hardly ever insured.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and adjourned the meeting.

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