"ON THE LINE" - FOSAF CHAIRMAN'S 2018/19 ANNUAL REPORT
Thus as a last resort after years of attempts to negotiate a lawful, workable and sustainable basis for regulating South Africa's trout fishery were rejected by DEA, FOSAF has served papers to interdict the Minister of Environmental Affairs. We are indebted to our legal team who are acting pro amico. At this stage we have filed and served our replying affidavit and all that remains is for the parties to file heads of argument so the case can be set down for argument, hopefully before year end.
In a nutshell FOSAF is seeking to set aside the draft NEMBA AIS Lists and Notices published by the Minister in February 2018 (and the various correction notices published subsequently), because they do not comply with the requirements laid down in section 100 of NEMBA.
These Notices are defective because the Minister failed to properly advertise them, failed to allow the prescribed time and most importantly, failed to provide "sufficient information to enable members of the public to submit meaningful representations or objections." This failure to provide basic information in relation to the extent, nature of and reasons for the proposed changes, undermines the Constitutional right to informed consultation and participation in law making that underpins the right to dignity and which promotes good law making and effective and accountable government.
Another area that sees FOSAF opposing the State involves the Aquaculture Development Bill tabled in Parliament last year. FOSAF as a member of Trout SA and through it Aquaculture SA, are opposing this Bill which contrary to its title will not enable the development of the sector because it duplicates a range of controls and permits that over- complicate what should be a simple and practical framework for farming aquatic species. We have registered as I&APs with parliament. Aqua SA has commissioned an economic study on the impacts of the Bill and in addition is facilitating a legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of some parts of the Bill. It is the sector's view that Aquaculture is and must remain part of Agriculture. A few minor amendments to existing agricultural legislation will ensure there are adequate controls and management provisions to cover aquaculture. This is a much more workable and cost-effective alternative to what the Bill proposes.
I must offer a huge thank you to all those people and organisations who have kindly invested thousands of hours and donations to support the trout value chain. We will continue to keep you informed about our progress in this important campaign.
Peter Arderne, Andrew Vester (our webmaster) and the great team of countrywide reporters ensure that FOSAF continues to maintain a visible presence on the internet and social media. Peter remains a steadfast slave driver of this merry bunch of flyanglers and we are grateful to him and them for maintaining our profile. The Fly of the month feature continues to be well supported. May I remind you that we urgently need a group of people to take on Peter's role. I can't stress enough the important responsibility Peter with Vicky's support has selflessly performed for FOSAF.
I am grateful to the many flyfishers out there who have without much fanfare, knuckled down, got stuck in and have helped with a range of community based issues like the sewerage issues in the Vaal and Crocodile catchments, the litter clean ups and river health education and fishing programs for young people, various research initiatives, community based flyfishing ventures, and riparian zone clean up initiatives.
Chris William's who works on behalf of FOSAF and the YWG, together with a range of allies, keeps us updated on an almost weekly basis. One of the tragedies of our society is that many people do not realise that it is the citizenry that own South Africa's infrastructure. Unless we all buy-in to the efforts to ensure these communal assets are maintained and kept in working order, none of us will be able to realise the right enshrined in Section 24 a) of the Constitution which reads: "Everyone has the right- … to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being;" But for the SANDF's involvement repairing and safeguarding vital infrastructure the situation would be a lot worse.
Last year I spoke about Andrew Fowler's work on riparian zone vegetation removal. That work has continued and in addition the NFFC have revived the work started by the Bushman's River Fishing Club by working with the amaHlubi Community to provide excellent fishing for its members and the public. A steady income for the community will see this project achieving useful results.
These are just two examples of sterling work being done by flyfishers across the country. They deserve our support and congratulations. It is this kind of example that promotes the flyfishing ethos and spirit FOSAF seeks to engender in the youth and other newcomers to our sport.
FOSAF continues to be an active member of Trout SA. We participate in a useful think tank that draws a range of resource based entities all of who find themselves at the sharp end of national policies aimed at control and co-option rather than building a vibrant economy that all South Africans can become part of. Our participation allows for access to national commodity based and business formations like AGRI SA and BUSA. Building on the links built last year we are able to box way above our weight. In addition it has been heartening to find support for our policy based approach which eschews unethical deal making. This has meant that regardless of the issue or the forum we find ourselves in, our thinking is appreciated and has often been endorsed by many stakeholders we come into contact with. This had proved to be a valuable approach which I believe will serve us well in the future.
FOSAF continues to network and engage with many other angling bodies including the competitive fly anglers SAFFA. The positive energy that abides between our organisations and the mutual support and respect is much appreciated.
I indicated last year that I would be attending the SACRAA Bosberaad in May 2018. This was a useful opportunity to share views and perspectives. I believed FOSAF's presence and contribution was appreciated. Although we do not always see things eye to eye, the mutual respect and shared interests mean that we must continue to work together in the best interests of flyfishing.
We have all developed close relationships with these stalwarts of flyfishing over the years and we are indeed going to miss their efficiency and commitment. We would like to thank Stuart and Liz sincerely for having looked after the FOSAF administration so well for such an extended period. It is my privilege to express our very great appreciation and admiration on behalf of all of us at FOSAF as well as other members of the flyfishing community for all they have done over the years. We wish them well and everything of the best in this next chapter of their lives.
Once again I also wish to thank our President Andrew Levy and Vice-presidents Tom Sutcliffe and Bill Mincher for their wise counsel and inputs from time to time.
COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING
Our sincere and heartfelt thanks must go to Peter and Vicky Arderne, Chris Williams and their team for the generosity and hospitality. Our special thanks also go to the Dullstroom Inn and the Middlepunt Farm for hosting us.
Thanks are also due to:
AN OPEN LETTER TO DR GUY PRESTON
A personal perspective of a small-scale trout farmer.
Do you remember the global applause with which the South African constitution was met when first proclaimed? We looked upon the norms it spoke to as aspirational, worthy of every patriots' support.
Uplifted in hope indeed we celebrated that the worst of the nightmare brought by a half-century of National-Socialist dictatorship ~ where a government could subvert an entire national Fiscus to narrow ideological ends ~ was over. It purported to entrench principles by which we hoped our broken society might start to mend, to transform from one of tyranny into a brave and open democracy.
Democracy.... what a grand ideal!
Well, in the spirit of what had gone before, many of us felt the same when NEMBA was first formulated and then promulgated. That was two decades ago and I, trusting, ... a little confused perhaps, but never doubting the good faith or intent of government.
Somewhere along this tortuous road it began to dawn upon me that none of this was actually about trout at all, or indeed about the gap between legal, biological, or political definitions of invasive-ness. The trout were actually incidental. It had nothing to do with the health or sanctity of our rivers. It had very little to do with any part of ecology, the natural environment, or bio-diversity. It certainly, still now, has nothing to do with the most basic fundamentals of community-upliftment, of civic empowerment, or of stewardship of natural resources in the interest of a sounder, healthy world for future generations.
Remember the first round, Doc, when your hand-picked DEA- appointed get-trout- team was led by the cream of South African ichthyologists? Well somehow, painstakingly addressing every jurisprudic and environmental issue, we eventually reached accommodation with your handpicked biologists. That successful outcome between DEA appointed consultants and civic society didn't suit your puppeteers at all ... and so DEA simply buried the entire process of agreed outcomes (as if it had never happened) ... and started all over again.
We arrived at a point of consensual compromise for a second time. For a second time DEA buried the outcome and re-issued the original draft legislation, as if for a first time. There was simply no mention of the prolonged and exhaustive agreements, which had been painstakingly reached over about six years of intensive engagement with the scientists appointed by DEA.
Anyway, you dumped Skelton & Co (or perhaps, beginning to comprehend that your agenda was not justified by any real science, they dumped you?) and for a third iteration, SANBI were appointed steering consultants (Poor old Ernst ... little did he know what he was in for). By now some were beginning to intuit that to you it was just a game of strategy and that DEA itself was proving bereft of any good faith, that each tranche of consultant / negotiators were merely there for the facade their professional standing lent ... a mask behind which malevolence might grow, undetected.
So there we were. DEA had a three billion Rand per year budget and rather than address issues like the collapse of sewerage management across urban South Africa, you could better spend it in playing Stalingrad with civic society. The trout again were purely incidental, almost an accident of convenience. Yet again we (civic society) engaged in good faith ... even though once again DEA simply shifted the goalposts. The narrative this time was that the only real disagreement between DEA and us, was in mapping. But you're good, so good that you even got us to do the foundational mapping work for you, as DEA had neither the capacity nor the budget (where does that three billion Rand go?) I digress.
The endgame was always to bring all natural resource and economic activity under control of central government. There, we have seen how the inner cabal exerts absolute power just as we have seen how absolute power equates to absolute corruption.
So here we are post Zupta-gate, post Denel-gate, post Dairy-gate, Eskom-gate, Pension-gate, Telkom-gate, Vaal River Sewer-gate, Bosasa-gate and every other dysfunctional debacle and act of subverted governance which daily bleeds our gross national wealth away. All of it made possible by a government of civil servants whose default mode is complete disregard of every requirement of that much lauded constitution, it mocks even a pretence of any check-and-balance of due process. But you know that. It's one of the reasons apparatchiks occupy the positions they do; their willingness to serve narrow ideologies of political masters, whatever the price society must pay. And I don't just mean a deputy-director's million-plus rand salary per year never mind the perks.... do I? I mean the cost of dissolution, the destruction of national wealth by crippling and subverting all the little engines which drive it. A dep-director's comfy salary and secure pension are mere trifles by the standards of the kleptocracy it serves.
But still, a great play Doc. In pursuit of broader goals on a wider landscape, the politics of INVASION BIOLOGY could be exploited to create an environment in which the State might exercise absolute control over every natural resource and over every commercial activity associated with it. If only it could get a toe in. The ideology of invasion biology would be your strongest card. Well played Doc. A Pokemon card with phantasmagoric power, first to seduce, then to blind and finally, to plunder.
Between the three and the here we have come to understand how little allegiance DEA too, has to that first law of the land, the constitution. That much has become clear. Indeed. Under a brave helmsman-ship of technocrats in service of Kleptocracy, we have watched, year by year, as one by one organs of state disintegrate in the hands of those who have no allegiance to rule by law, except in lip service. And so DEA has turned from what it once was into just another agent for State Capture. Must say, ... impressively clever the way you played it from behind a facade of pseudo-science. It imbued a certain pseudo-credibility to the decades long game plan. It gave you a narrative to feed the public, while masking its true intent ~ the spread of State Capture. But I think the game is about up.
I wrote the piece below about six or seven years ago and not much has changed in the interim. There have been further irregular iterations of the same old same-old issuing from the opaque chambers of DEA. There was also the document of agreements hammered out at the Phakisa engagements, every one of which DEA has reneged on.
In the meantime, the industry continues to languish and erode under a DEA regimen of uncertainty and dubious legality. As to how it ends? History is its own judge.
THE LAW IS AN ASS (2002)
When civic and commercial life is destabilised by government declamation, when officials and their policies ooze a pungence of ideologically driven agenda bereft of proper process, when good-faith consultation with legitimate stakeholders is lacking, or undertaken only for the most superficial and insincere appearance of it, when ordinary law abiding citizens are rendered outlaw by whim of the stoke of a self-inflated administrative pen, when the fabric of commercial life begins to unravel not because of any inherent dysfunction in itself, but rather through the meddlesome social experimentation of party politics intoxicated with their own self-esteem .... then you must know that something is rotting at the core in the State of Denmark. Nkosi Sikelele Africa!!
The really scary thing is that interested and affected parties have been engaging with DEA since long before NEMBA was first gazetted (2002?).
That was about 10 years ago now. In the interim we have been through three distinct iterations of the NEMBA regulatory drafts and at each stage we alerted the DEA officials steering the process to the legal and practical flaws inherent to their preferred approach.
When we pointed out that NEMBA made no allowance for nuance-d interpretation of the AIS lists they told us we were stupid, and didn't understand these things. When we pointed out that trout are absolutely restricted to specific zones and after much screaming and shouting managed to convince the tenants in the SANBI ivory tower that a zonal approach was appropriate to their management, and that the only thing preventing it was bureaucratic myopia we were told not to interfere in things we don't properly comprehend. The list goes on and on.
Yet lo and behold, with NEMBA regs barely gazetted and not yet out of the paddock, already amendments are being cobbled together and rushed through in attempts to patch the leaks and administrative nightmares institutionalised in the regulations that are the hull of the good ship NEMBA.
So where are we?
And so the curtain drops .... and rises on the present. The stage is set. Where are we .... let's see?
Trout have been gazetted.
Yours in Patriotism
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