House Chair, I would wish to say to those that are celebrating that perhaps we should celebrate elsewhere, not here. House Chairperson; fishermen and fisherwomen; the Deputy President, His Excellency Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe; the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Comrade Tina Joemat-Pettersson; Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here; colleagues; officials from our able Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, led by its brand-new Director-General, Prof Edith Vries; hard-working parliamentary officials from the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mrs Albertina Kakaza, Mrs Ntombi Luzipho, Ms Nokuzola Mgxashe, Ms Ntombi Qwabe, Mr Nhlanhla Ginindza, Mr Foster Mohale and Ms Yolanda Sili; captains in the fishing industry who might perhaps be here; comrades and fellow South Africans, I must submit from the word go that the ANC supports this Bill. [Applause.]
Our committee, through a robust public hearing process that involved our coastal communities, fishermen and women, the commercial industry, and academics and legal practitioners, unanimously declared that the country's wealth shall be shared among those who work with it.
Being an integrated and coherent socioeconomic policy framework, our Reconstruction Development Programme sought to mobilise all our people and our country's resources towards the final eradication of the colonial apartheid system and the building of a democratic, nonracial and nonsexist future. Within the policy framework represented by the RDP, the ANC continues to develop detailed positions and legislative programmes, this being one among many, to rid the 361 and 65 years respectively of colonial and apartheid legacies of written and unwritten rules, regulations and laws.
Consistent with the RDP framework, the primary objective of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy adopted by Cabinet in September 2012 is the upliftment of impoverished coastal communities through improved access to marine resources and the sustainable management of those resources through appropriate strategies.
Mandiphinde ndithi, sithe gqolo sigxininisa kuyo inkqubo-sikhokelo ye-RDP. Oyena ndoqo walo mgaqo-nkqubo kukuzama ukuhlangabezana nesigqibo esathathwa yiKhabhinethi kunyaka ophelileyo, kwinyanga kaSeptemba wama we-2012, ngeenjongo zokuzama ukukhuthaza nokususa abantu bakuthi abaphaya kwiindawo ezingaselunxwemeni ukuze baphucule iimpilo zabo ngokuthi baxhamle kwiintlanzi nokulawula loo mithombo leyo ngendlela efana nale sikuyo njengokuba sithetha. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Let me reiterate that we continue to focus on the RDP framework. The primary objective of this framework is to try to implement a decision taken by Cabinet last year, in September 2012, to ensure that coastal communities are uplifted, that they benefit from marine resources and that these resources are managed in a sustainable manner, as is the case currently.]
During May 2012 public hearings on fisheries transformation were held. Among other observations and resolutions that came out are the following. There should be a fishing charter that would see greater representation of black people - when I say black, I include Africans, coloureds and Indians - in the mainstream economy of the fishing industry, and a sea accident fund similar to the Road Accident Fund should be established to ensure that workers who die or get injured at sea are compensated accordingly.
In short, the amendments seek to implement the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy that Cabinet adopted in September 2012. These relate to the subsistence fishers, now amended as small-scale fishers, who will continue to be exploited until the implementation of this Act; hence its urgency, as our people cannot continue to be exploited in the manner they are being exploited.
Taking a cue from what Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela said, let me say that President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya said:
When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.
How one would wish this could be the same in today's times, where we all pray and the great-great-grandsons and daughters get their Bibles back, and we have our land and fishing rights back without having to go through what we are going through today. [Applause.] As we commemorate 100 years of land dispossession, our coastal communities are equally joining these commemorations, but they are also saying never, never and never again shall the fishing rights be taken away by colonisers. [Applause.]
What this Natives Land Act, Act 27 of 1913, did was to restrict black people from buying, leasing and selling land, except in the scheduled areas, which were referred to as reserves, whilst white people were prohibited from owning land in those areas. The result of these land dispossessions led to millions of black people's being uprooted from their ancestral land, including coastal lands, with cruelty and without compensation.
This allocation of fishing rights to co-operatives and small-scale fishermen through this legislation we are adopting sets in motion a process where black people will participate directly in the mainstream fishing economic activity in our country. In so doing we will be demolishing 100 years of land dispossession and its socioeconomic impacts, hectare by hectare and ton by ton. In amending this legislation, our ANC-led government is indeed on course in bringing about a better life for all.
As this industry continues to be seasonal, a multispecies approach gives credence to the need to provide our black people with more opportunities to catch more fish for consumption and, equally important, to trade. The legislation seeks to allocate fishing rights to eight sectors. They are the Demersal Shark; KwaZulu-Natal Prawn Trawl Traditional Line Fish; Hake Handline; Squid; Tuna Pole and Line; White Mussel; and Oyster Fisheries sectors.
In the interests of our developmental objective of bringing a better life for all our people, collaboration among departments has been yielding positive results. The training of our coastal communities NGOs like Coastal Links and Masifundise, along with the Department of Trade and Industry, and provision of vessels by the DTI have assisted our people to ready themselves for this fishing rights allocation process. Through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme the small-scale fisheries and co-operative programmes have an extended benefit, as CASP is now extending its mandate to fisheries.
Rehabilitation of our fishing harbours is another example that demonstrates the department's commitment to growing and transforming the fisheries sector of our economy. It cannot be business as usual for our fishermen and women to continue dying in sea waters like flies. With this continuation of sea water carnage, relevant departments of government must, with urgency, begin to put in place a sea water accident fund like you have the Road Accident Fund. With the way our fishermen and women die at sea, it is as if nothing has happened at all in our country. One death is one too many. However, ours continues to be a caring ANC-led government.
In conclusion, as we commemorate 100 years of dispossession of land and coastal lands, nobody can disagree with the ANC that we have indeed done a great deal in the process of undoing those 100 years in 20 years. [Applause.] Hectare by hectare and ton by ton we are improving our people's lives. We started this process in 2005, of changing from a year-on-year quota system to medium-term fishing rights allocations. We are now taking this process to new heights by getting our coastal fishing communities to mainstream fishing economic activities through their co-operatives and small-scale fisheries.
Once again, the ANC supports this Bill. Thank you for your attention. [Applause.]