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MosselbayonTheline | First With The News

It's much worse than fishy . . . One cannot help wondering WHAT is going on at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries - the governmental authority that is supposed to safeguard and protect our coastlines and marine life - if their officials have become the "untouchable" masterminds behind the poaching.
Just a week ago we reported on the high speed Police chase along the R44 when abalone worth R5 million was found in a white Toyota Verso after the driver ran away .  . he was never caught . . . and that is no surprise in the light of today's shocking revelation that the DAFF officials who allegedly abused their power to run one of the biggest abalone poaching syndicates in the Western Cape are back in their jobs.

"Dis so ironies . . . Terwyl akwa-boerdery nou die jongste gier raak om glo in die dreigende "vistekort" te voorsien, kom stropers byna daagliks weg met mijoene rande se perlemoen en diepsee-visspesies vir veral die Oosterse sluikhandelmark? Die SAPD het gister ná 'n jaagtog op die R44 beslag gelê op dié reuse-vonds perlemoen ter waarde van R5 miljoen, maar die verdagte het weggekom . . . die bestuurder van die wit Toyota Verso was vermoedelik op pad na die Kaapstad-hawe en het te voet gevlug. Miskien het die wêreld nie kunsmatige visplase nodig nie, maar bloot strenger kus- en hawebestuur om dié stropery uit te roei wat ook die dwelmbedryf voed?" Foto: Polisie verskaf

Officials charged with corruption over abalone poaching are back at work


Police and Hawks vehicles at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries building in Gansbaai.

Image: Supplied
Government officials alleged to have used their positions to run one of the biggest abalone poaching syndicates in the Western Cape are back in their jobs. This comes less than a week after eight of the nine Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries officials arrested in an undercover operation in February were each released on R20‚000 bail by the Cape Town Regional Court.

ources close to the investigation into the officials told TimesLIVE on Wednesday the officials had returned to work.Beverley Schäfer‚ chairwoman of the Western Cape legislature economic opportunities committee‚ was shocked that the officials were allowed back in their posts.“Just this morning I received news that ... Daff officials who were arrested in the Overstrand region in March on charges of racketeering‚ corruption and defeating the ends of justice‚ are back in uniform and on duty after having been granted bail just last week‚” she said.


The officials were released on bail despite recorded telephone conversations between some of them allegedly showing intent to acquire firearms to kill another suspect and Daff officials.

The state’s bail evidence included 122 pages of transcribed phone calls in which the officials allegedly discussed everything from their involvement in corruption to stealing abalone from other poachers.

The state argues that the individuals turned the Daff office in Gansbaai‚ which is responsible for stopping gangs of armed abalone poachers from raiding the coastline‚ into a criminal entity.

Daff deputy director-general for fisheries Siphokazi Ndundane told TimesLIVE on Wednesday the individuals were supposed to be suspended shortly after their arrest in February.

She claimed corruption in the department was to blame for them being allowed back at work.

“They can’t be back at work. There was supposed to be a sign-off that those officials are not allowed to be back at work‚” she said‚ adding that after they were arrested she personally signed letters of suspension.

“There is no oversight here. I’m telling you this was orchestrated‚” she said.

Ndudane is working from her home after she was suspended‚ with several other officials‚ by Daff director-general Mike Mlengana on Thursday for her alleged involvement in corruption.

On Tuesday‚ however‚ Daff minister Senzeni Zokwana “stripped” Mlengana of his authority‚ apparently in response to this‚ and reversed the officials’ suspensions.

The series of suspensions form part of a larger war within the department over the country’s R1-trillion fishing industry which has pitted Zokwana and Ndudane against Mlengana.

They have both also brought in allies‚ with Mlengana being backed by the National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers' Union‚ and the uMkhonto We Sizwe Veterans Association throwing its weight behind the minister.

Both sides have alleged corruption by the other and they have both accused each other of colluding with Chinese fishing stakeholders‚ the criminal underworld and corrupt law enforcement officials.

Ndudane said although her suspension had been lifted‚ she could not enter her office because the locks had been changed.


Police and Hawks vehicles at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries building in Gansbaai.

An abalone-poaching syndicate smashed by police this week had its own office and tax-funded vehicles, which were used to prey on the Western Cape coast for almost a decade.
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