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An open-hearted interview with the managing director of Afro Fishing, Deon van Zyl, regarding the company's plans to add a fish meal and oil manufacturing plant to its existing sardine cannery on Quay 1, left us with more questions than definite answers . . . and way too much vagueness, variables and "if's" to put concerned residents at ease.
Seasonal workers at work in Afro Fishing's impressive sardine canning outlet on Quay 1. The company currently employs 340 staff when they are running two shifts. The R350 M expansion is expected to create a mere 160 additional jobs.
Deliberate avoidance of questions regarding the company's shareholders and funders, as well as uncertainties regarding the recruitment and Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for pelagic species such as anchovy and red-eye herring; transport of the product (by road or ship) and the few additional seasonal jobs (around 160) that the R350 M project is supposed to create, rather bolster than alleviate persistent public concern that the environmental risks outweigh the benefits by far . . . and that the fish meal plant may just be a stepping stone towards a full-fledged open sea aquaculture enterprise with finfish (yellowtail) in Mossel Bay's waters - similar to the pilot project in Saldanha Bay which residents have been fighting with costly legal battles for the past 2 years.
The action group Save Langebaan Lagoon has been raising funds tirelessly since 2017 for their ongoing legal battle to protect the lagoon - a world-renowned Ramsar site - against the impact of aquaculture experiments in Saldanha Bay. https://www.change.org/p/daff-save-langebaan-lagoon-from-a-potential-aquaculture-disaster?use_react=false
Van Zyl refrained from answering our direct question who Afro Fishing's directors and shareholders are. He was only prepared to say there are "two SA directors and that they have extensive fishing industry experience plus they own freezing facilities, fish meal plants, fishing vessels and canneries in Angola and Namibia." * Link to interview at bottom.
Mosselbayontheline discovered that Shamera Daniels, a well-known figure in the fishing industry, is the only former director who remained on board after the company changed hands and the other five directors resigned last year.
Shamera Daniels is also the owner/founder of SDB Consulting in Cape Town since 2006. * More at the bottom
Johannes Augustinus Breed is the only new director that was appointed. Breed, a chartered accountant, is also the managing director of the Angolan-based company African Selection Trust (AST) with strong ties in Namibia. When we mentioned that the SA economist Adriaan J. Louw is Afro Fishing's Namibian and Angolan shareholder, Van Zyl objected that we publish it in our Q & A article as he never said it.
However, some research revealed that AST has a 60% share in the Namibian company Seaflower Pelagic Procession (Pty).Ltd. and AST is represented on Seaflower Pelagic's board of directors by both Breed and Louw, as well as an attorney Marén de Klerk.
Furthermore, Breed's direct involvement in AST's operations in both Angola and Namibia automatically raises the question whether AST is also the investor behind Afro Fishing's R350 M planned fish meal and oil industry in Mossel Bay.
Afro Fishing's managing director Deon van Zyl at the sardine canning plant on Quay 1.
An in-depth article in Maroela Media further revealed the involvement of Afro Fishing director Johannes Breed (37) with eight fishing companies in South Africa and his father's long-time involvement in aquaculture operations in Angola.
AST was recently indirectly accused of benefitting from the allocation of a 15-year fishing quota worth R120 M per year to the Namibian state-owned Fishcor at the cost of local companies who were well-qualified to partner Fishcor. This allegedly resulted in the closing down of Bidvest Namibia and 1 200 local people losing their jobs.
However, according to the article in Maroela Media, Van Zyl denied that Afro Fishing is an affiliate of AST and was only prepared to say that Afro Fishing's funding was privately obtained from a foreign investor.
This secrecy, and the fact that Breed's father, Jannie, was for many years involved in the shrimp aquaculture business in Angola as managing director of Ridge Solutions Aquaculture, raises more red flags as to what Afro Fishing's longterm plans in Mossel Bay truly entails and what companies are behind it.
Delay in Fishing Rights Allocation Process as new minister probes industry
Ironically, the intricate labyrinth of favoured cliques, cronyism and abuse of political connections that characterize the fishing industry, is currently under scrutiny in South Africa following the postponement of the fishing rights allocation process (Frap) by the recently appointed minister of environment, forestry & fisheries Barbara Creecy.
Creecy's decision is expected to delay the process by 18 months to 2 years in order for her to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the industry.
New rights were supposed to be awarded by the start of 2021, and were expected to rebalance fishing quota allocations to empower community-based and small black-owned enterprises. The rights were last awarded to the market’s long-standing heavyweights in 2005.
"The proposed delay to give the new minister time to evaluate the process and engage presumably with stakeholders in the R5bn sector will be welcomed by the ‘big three’ [Oceana, Sea Harvest and I&J] … taking some pressure off them and their earnings. However, the news will not be welcomed by the black-owned smaller listed Premier Fishing and unlisted players, which hoped to score big from the Frap 2020 exercise."
Public Participation Process - No Feedback?
Since the announcement of Afro Fishing's application to expand its business in an unobtrusive municipal notice in the local community paper in February this year, and the short notice to register as interested and affected parties (I&AP's) in a public participation process, no feedback has been given by the environmental consultants Cape EAPrac.
The public had to register as I&AP's by 25 March 2019 by sending an email or fax to Melissa Mackay. More than 415 people also signed an online petition to object against the fish meal plant and almost 400 supported the petition. This data was also sent to the consultants.
Mosselbayontheline asked Mackay the following questions regarding feedback:
1. Q: Following the short notice/deadline for registering as an I&AP in order to comment on the above application before the end of March 2019, we would like to know how many people registered for the public participation process and when some feedback can be expected.
SDB Consulting is a company founded by Shamera Daniels in 2006. SDB is 100% black female-owned and managed and is based in Cape Town.
Shamera Daniels earned a Diploma in Marketing Management from the Institute of Marketing
Management at the Damelin Business School and has a Certificate in Forensic Examination from the
University of the Western Cape.
She has earned her reputation as a successful Project Manager, Process Designer and Fishing Industry Specialist during her time managing the unit responsible for the allocation and verification of commercial fishing rights and the relevant application forms at the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism: Marine and Coastal Management and as The Project Manager of the Rights Verification Unit as a Manager at Deloitte.
She has extensive Policy formulation and review experience, having been part of the team that advised to
two Ministers on environmental and fishing policy. She was on the policy team that drafted the current
fishing and allocations policies of South Africa. Furthermore she was involved in the drafting of the Marine
Living Resources Act and the relevant Regulations.
Specialties: The company has diversified its services to better suite our clients and we offer a full spectrum of services
to enhance their businesses which includes the following:
1. Administrative support
2. Contract negotiation
3. Sourcing suitable business partners
4. Branding and Marketing
5. Graphic design
6. Compliance audits
7. BEE Accreditation
8. SARS Dispute Resolution
10. Debt Management
Councillor Jeanette Gouws of the ACDP party issued a press release stating why the party cannot approve the contentious new municipal budget which earlier caused an uproar among ratepayers.
ACDP Media Release
30 May 2019
Mossel Bay BUDGET 2019/2020
Speaker, please allow me to assure the mayor specifically, the budget steering committee and the Directorates, that in reviewing and assessing the 2019/2020 budget I have done so with firstly great respect for the incredible volume of work and the precision with which they have engineered an intricate document.
Secondly with extreme caution in needlessly critiquing the budget simply because the ACDP is an opposition party in council.
Thirdly very aware that we are spending public money and we should be circumspect when doing so.
I note with thanks the effort to address concerns raised during the public participation phase particularly the concession of a rate rebate given to farmers increased from 10 to 15% and the 50% discount given to PBO`s refuse collection costs. Also, note with thanks the capital projects financed with loans and indigents and disabled persons accommodated through tariffs and policy.
We note however that the concern of residents in complexes has NOT been addressed and that they will still be charged individually for refuse collection despite refuse collected at a central point.
This is to my knowledge the first year that Mossel Bay is tabling a budget with a deficit and although the budget is assessed to be a funded one, meeting the requirements of Sec 18 of the MFMA, it is an unaffordable one for the ratepayers of Mossel Bay.
Urgent attention MUST be given to trimming the fat and providing relief particularly to the middle-income earners who are pressured from every side. In ward 8 for eg an amount of R3 600 000 is being spent on items that are not a priority for service delivery.
Further pressure is exerted on residents in the form of unsustainable costs with regard to illegal electricity connections where communities that have been living in abject poverty for more than a decade place a load on infrastructure and finances. This situation has become intolerable, as the constant threat as identified by this municipality as one of the key risks, is protest action.
While the ACDP supports citizens rights to PEACEFUL demonstration the wanton destruction of infrastructure cannot be tolerated or accepted. Those arrested for such destruction should face the consequences of their actions.
Regarding the strategic objectives listed in the IDP: surely nothing can be more disheartening than the gini coefficient indicating extreme inequality in our town. Of the approximately 34 000 households almost a third are, or can be classified, as indigent.
Backyard dwellers and those in informal settlements have the most basic means of escaping poverty denied to them. In 2017 the ACDP made an urgent appeal for a radical and innovative approach to the provision of housing – motivating the request with the listing of benefits to society in general such as; a decrease in juvenile delinquency rates, a decrease in teenage pregnancies and an improvement in school performance for children.
This is particularly important when viewed with one of the major concerns listed in our IDP – school drop out rates at 35%.
Other associated benefits are an increase in public participation and an improvement of the financial affairs of the home, as homeowners with title deeds are able to secure loans to improve their circumstances either through businesses or home improvements. This results in a boost to the economy and less crime. Crime and poor economic growth also being threats identified in the IDP.
As in many other areas, Mossel Bay can lead the way in providing neat, insulated and equipped homes.
A further concern is that despite an acknowledgement that ALL CRITICAL posts have been filled is the additional burden on the budget of new appointments for millions of rands. This excludes costs of contracted services of R180 million.
Also noted is the unused amount of R10 million budgeted last year for salaries but still funded by residents.
Padding that is added every year to the budget is again present in this budget to the value of just over half a million.
Noted on the Capital Program as at 31 March 2019 is the amount of R25 million budgeted for the 2018/19 year that, although paid for by ratepayers, has not been spent nor had any commitments to expenditure that have been made.
This is a concern as revenue is sourced to fund the budget and thus rates, adjusted to the maximum allowed by the Rates Act which makes up 12% of revenue (exorbitantly increased by 25% and 15% ) and other tariff increases are adjusted to make ends meet. Water for eg only increased with 1% but it did so from a high base where it was used to subsidize rates.
Also noted is the apparent lack in addressing the concerns of residents in Riverside regarding obstructions in the river which could lead to flooding of their homes, the threats to estuaries nor an attempt to provide for the reinforcement of embankments or soil stabilisation for current residents of Seemeeu and Tuscany.
The ACDP will not approve this budget.
I thank you.
Cllr Jeanette Gouws
30 Mei 2019
MOSSELBAAI BEGROTING 2019/2020
Spreker, laat my asseblief toe om spesifiek die burgemeester, die begrotingsbestuurskomitee en die direktorate te verseker dat ek met die grootste respek - vir die ongelooflike hoeveelheid werk en die akuraatheid waarmee die ingewikkelde dokument ontwerp is - die hersiening en evaluasie van die begroting 2019/2020 nagegaan het.
Aangesien die ACDP `n opposisieparty in die raad is, is die begroting met uiterste versigtigheid evalueer sonder om onnodige kritiek daarop te lewer. Die raad moet egter daarvan bewus wees dat dit openbare fondse is wat met omsigtigheid hanteer en spandeer moet word.
Vervolgens word die poging om die besorgdheid wat tydens die openbare deelname proses geopper is, aan te spreek, waardeer. In die besonder die toegewing van 'n tariefkorting aan boere wat verhoog is van 10 tot 15% en die 50% afslag wat aan PBO se vullisverwyderings kostes gegee word.
Die finansiering van kapitaalprojekte uit lenings is `n positiewe besluit wat die las op die begroting kan verlig. Groot waardering ook vir die verlaging van behoeftiges en gestremdes se dienstegelde deur tariewe en beleidsdokumente aan te pas.
Ons wys egter daarop dat die kommer van inwoners in komplekse NIE aangespreek is nie en dat hulle steeds afsonderlik vir vullisverwydering gehef sal word ten spyte van vullis wat op 'n sentrale punt versamel word.
Dit is na ons wete die eerste jaar dat Mosselbaai 'n begroting met 'n tekort opstel en hoewel die begroting gefinansier geag word en voldoen aan die vereistes van Art 18 van die MFMA, is dit nietemin 'n onbekostigbare begroting vir die belastingbetalers van Mosselbaai.
Dringende aandag MOET gegee word om die vet te sny en veral verligting te gee aan die middelinkomstegroep wat van alle kante onder druk geplaas word. In wyk 8 word byvoorbeeld 'n bedrag van R3 600 000 bestee aan items wat nie 'n prioriteit vir dienslewering is nie, maar eerder vir verlaging in tariewe aangewend kan word.
Verdere druk word op inwoners geplaas in die vorm van onvolhoubare kostes ten opsigte van onwettige elektrisiteitsverbindings waar gemeenskappe wat langer as 'n dekade in armoede leef, 'n las op infrastruktuur en finansies plaas.
Hierdie situasie het ondraaglik geword, aangesien die voortdurende bedreiging - soos deur hierdie munisipaliteit geïdentifiseer is as een van die belangrikste risiko's - protesaksie is. Terwyl die ACDP die burgerregte tot VREDEVOLLE demonstrasie ondersteun, kan die onnodige vernietiging van infrastruktuur nie geduld of aanvaar word nie. Diegene wat gearresteer word vir so 'n vernietiging moet die gevolge van hul optrede in die gesig staar.
Met betrekking tot die strategiese doelwitte wat in die GOP gelys word, kan niks meer kommerwekkend wees as die gini-koëffisiënt wat die uiterste ongelykheid in ons dorp aandui nie. Van die ongeveer 34 000 huishoudings is byna 'n derde, of kan geklassifiseer word, as behoeftiges.
Is die agterplaasbewoners en die informele nedersettings nie ontneem van die mees basiese manier om armoede te ontvlug deur nie genoegsaame voorsiening vir behuising te maak in die begroting nie?
In 2017 het die ACDP 'n dringende beroep gedoen op 'n radikale en innoverende benadering tot die voorsiening van behuising en die versoek gemotiveer met die aantekening van voordele vir die samelewing in die algemeen soos, 'n afname in jeugmisdadigheidskoerse, 'n afname in tienerswangerskappe en 'n verbetering in skoolprestasie vir leerlinge.
Dit is veral belangrik as dit gesien word met een van die belangrikste bekommernisse wat in ons GOP voorkom, `n skoolverlatingspersentasie van 35%.
Ander verwante voordele is 'n toename in openbare deelname en 'n verbetering van die finansiële sake van die huis, aangesien huiseienaars met titelbewyse lenings kan bekom om hul omstandighede te verbeter deur middel van besighede of huisverbeterings. Dit lei tot 'n hupstoot vir die ekonomie en minder misdaad. Misdaad en swak ekonomiese groei is ook bedreigings wat in die GOP geïdentifiseer word. Soos in baie ander gebiede kan Mosselbaai die weg baan in die verskaffing van netjiese, geïsoleerde en toegeruste huise.
'N verdere besorgdheid is dat ondanks 'n erkenning dat ALLE KRITIESE poste gevul is, die bykomende las op die begroting van nuwe aanstellings miljoene rande bedra. Dit sluit die koste van gekontrakteerde dienste van R180 miljoen uit.
Kennis is ook geneem dat R10 miljoen wat vir personeelsalarisse begroot is, nie spandeer is nie. Alhoewel die inwoners deur betaling van tariewe dit gefinansier het, het hulle geen voordeel daaruit getrek nie.
Ektras wat jaarliks by die begroting gevoeg word, is weer teenwoordig in hierdie begroting ter waarde van net meer as 'n half miljoen rand.
Op 31 Maart 2019 soos op die Kapitaalprogram aangeteken, word die bedrag van R25 miljoen begroot vir die 2018/19 jaar wat, hoewel betaal deur belastingbetalers, nie bestee is nie, en ook geen verpligtinge gemaak is aan kontrakteurs ten opsigte van uitgawes gemaak nie.
Dit is 'n besorgdheid aangesien inkomste verkry word om die begroting te befonds deur tariewe aan te pas tot die maksimum toegelaat deur die Tariefwet wat 12% van inkomste uitmaak (buitensporig met 25% en 15% toegeneem) en ander tariefverhogings aan te pas om uitgawes te dek. Die tarief vir water bv. het slegs met 1% toegeneem, maar dit het van 'n hoë basis gebeur waar dit voorheen gebruik is om erfbelasting te subsidieer.
Daar is ook kennis geneem van die oënskynlike gebrek om die besorgdheid van inwoners in Riverside ten opsigte van obstruksies in die rivier aan te spreek, wat kan lei tot oorstromings van hul huise, die bedreigings vir riviermondings, of 'n poging om voorsiening te maak vir die versterking van walle of grondstabilisering vir huidige inwoners van Seemeeu en Tuscany nie.
Die ACDP sal goedkeuring van hierdie begroting nie ondersteun nie as gevolg van die voorafgaande.
Ek dank u.
Raadslid Jeanette Gouws