Integration of the Administrative Functions of the Fisheries Management Branch; Fisheries progress report including 2015 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) & FRAP 2013 forensic report

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

04 August 2015
Chairperson: Ms M Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) briefed the Committee on efforts to integrate the Administrative Functions of Fisheries Management into the Department with the intention of eliminating a duplication of functions, as well as improving organizational efficiency and performance.

Although the amalgamation of the branches of Forestry and Fisheries with Agriculture had taken place in 2009, there were still glaring differences in how the three main line functions of DAFF conducted its business. The structure of the Department was not linked to its strategy generally, and it did not have a fully defined service delivery model for managing regional and provincial offices.

The Department had embarked on an organisational structure reconfiguration project to address coherence in all line functions, including in respect of reporting and budget lines. The Department requested the support of the Portfolio Committee.

The Department briefed the Portfolio Committee on progress in the disputes over the allocation of fishing rights in 2013. The Minister had appointed an independent three-person Appeals Advisory Panel and the 2013 appeals (excluding linefish which was the subject of a court case), as well as the supplementary appeals, were in the process of analysis and evaluation.

The Department had gazetted the ten Sector-specific Policies and the Policy on Fish Processing Establishments for public comment and had published the Grant of Right fees and Application fees for public comment. The Policies, Fees and Application Form had gazetted with a public comment period. Public consultation meetings had been conducted in 54 centres around the country. Practical mechanisms had also been put in place to assist the process, such as an anonymous, independent tip-off line and a FRAP Call Centre and Help Desk that would function throughout the FRAP 2015/16 process.

The Department called on the Portfolio Committee to note the progress made in the matter of fishing rights allocations.

The discussions by Committee Members and responses by the Department have not been captured.

Meeting report

Please note that discussions in the meeting and responses by the Department to Members’ questions have not been captured.

 

Presentation on the Integration of the Administrative Functions of the Branch: Fisheries Management

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) briefed the Committee on efforts to integrate the Administrative Functions of Fisheries Management into the Department with the intention of eliminating a duplication of functions, as well as improving organizational efficiency and performance. The Department was seeking in-principle support from the Portfolio Committee for the process.

Briefly the amalgamation of 2009 was presented to the Committee. DAFF was born out of a process, where the Branch Forestry from the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), the Branch Fisheries Management, previously known as the Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) unit of the then Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) and the former National Department of Agriculture (NDA) merged to form the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

Six years later there were still glaring differences in how the three main line functions of DAFF conducted its business in terms of: strategic planning, policy development, administration of legislation, provision of services, approaches to intergovernmental, stakeholder and international relations. Poor communication and dialogue, and a lack of a harmonized organizational culture were the critical challenges that had led to poor levels of integration and alignment within the organization.

The problem was that the structure of DAFF was not linked to its strategy as it had been inherited from previous organizations and priorities, most of which were outdated. Although DAFF was a national department, it did not have a fully defined service delivery model for regional and provincial offices which could lead to non-compliance issues, asset management problems, poor customer care, etc.

The Department briefed the Committee on progress towards integration of the fisheries management branch. The budgets for Human Resource Management, International Relations, Finance and Legal Services were not in line with the organizational structure and the reporting lines, e.g. the budget was with Fisheries and not with the relevant branches. The budget for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) function had since been aligned to the integrated organizational structure. Senior Management Service (SMS) members of  the Branch had been extensively consulted during a two-day process. The Committee was informed that organized labour had been consulted and invited to be part of the Project Monitoring Task Team.

The organisational structure reconfiguration project had commenced in May 2015 and was due to be completed in November 2015. It included all steps leading to comprehensive change management, including organizational design and risk mitigation, in order to address coherence in all line functions in DAFF.

The Department requested that the Portfolio Committee took note of the project and, offered in-principle support for the process.

Discussion

Discussion between Committee Members and the Department was not captured.

Presentation on the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) 2013 & 2015

The Department briefed the Portfolio Committee on progress in the disputes over the allocation of fishing rights in 2013.

Committee Members were reminded that the allocation of fishing rights in eight commercial fishing sectors, namely KwaZulu-Natal Prawn Trawl, Demersal Shark, Squid, Tuna Pole-line, Hake Handline, Traditional Linefish, White Mussels and Oysters in December 2013 had led to allegations and perceptions of irregularities, manipulation, unlawful or arbitrary decision making and un-procedural conduct. A court case had also been instituted by the South African Traditional Linefishers’ Association.

The previous Minister had instituted an audit which, on completion had been sent to Senior Counsel,   Budlender and Bawa, for an opinion, while Emang Basadi Legal and Forensic Services had conducted a review and assessment of the capacity in the Department to finalise the fishing rights allocation  processes. The results of that process had been for the Minister to appoint an independent three-person Appeals Advisory Panel and the 2013 appeals (excluding line fish) and the supplementary appeals were in the process of analysis and evaluation.

Fishing rights in ten sectors were due to expire at various times during 2015. Those rights had been extended to 28 February 2016 when rights would be re-allocated. That gave the Department time to organize itself by setting up a delivery structure of three separate and independent levels: An Executive Committee, a FRAP Project Team, and seven Technical Teams, all with the support of a dedicated legal team.

The Department had gazetted the ten Sector-specific Policies and the Policy on Fish Processing Establishments for public comment and had published the Grant of Right fees and Application fees for public comment. The Policies, Fees and Application Form were gazetted on 12 June 2015, with a public comment period until 14 August 2015. Public Consultation meetings had been conducted in 54 centres around the country.

Practical mechanisms had also been put in place to assist the process, such as an anonymous, independent tip-off line had been set up A FRAP Call Centre and Help Desk would function throughout the FRAP 2015/16 process.

The Department called on the Portfolio Committee to note the progress made in the matter of fishing rights allocations.

Discussion

Discussion between Committee Members and the Department was not captured.

The meeting was adjourned.

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