Order, hon members. Our guests in the gallery, should also come to order. The guests in the gallery are reminded not to participate in the proceedings.
Ons versoek u dus om nie hande te klap of deel te neem aan die verrigtinge wat tans plaasvind nie. [We therefore request of you not to applaud or contribute to the proceedings that are taking place.]
You may continue, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: I am encouraged by the overwhelming support from both business and labour, from fishing organisations and communities, and from the many interested parties who have committed themselves selflessly and unrelentingly to the delivery of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy approved by Cabinet, which I know will be approved by this House. I want to thank those who contributed positively to this process and who worked tirelessly to add value to the lives of small- scale coastal community fishers.
This is a momentous occasion in the lives of the poorest of the poor in coastal fishing communities, when we can change the course and direction of the lives of our people, individually and irrevocably, and when we can end the curse of apartheid and of our oppressive history in the fishing industry. We have the opportunity to end this now and change it into a positive reality so that all may benefit from this very moment on. I urge you to do so, regardless of your political standing.
I thank those in the department for all the support they gave to poor coastal communities when all the odds were stacked against them. I thank the Deputy President for always being willing to listen when the odds were stacked even higher, and when our names were dragged through the mud and our reputations were tarnished. I repeat: If you are a friend to the poor, you will never be a friend to the rich. Ke a leboga. Enkosi kakhulu. Siyabonga. [Thank you.] [Applause.]