The DA welcomes the announcement that recreational fishing remains permitted on all beaches, rivers and dams, including those in hotspot areas, subject to the national curfew and all health protocols being observed. Local tourism is likely to further flounder as holiday-makers are prohibited from beach-going for the remainder of the festive season. By making provision for fisherfolk with valid permits to access beaches, a draw-card in attracting holiday-makers, this may go some distance in encouraging much needed support to local tourism.
Subsistence and recreational fishing are by their nature isolatory activities and in the wake of the closure of beaches to beach revellers in hotspot areas, coastal and in-land fishing attractions could help offset a decline in demand in the tourism sector.
To avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma needs to issue a clear directive to the relevant provincial authorities to ensure that law enforcement is made aware that fisherfolk in possession of a valid fishing permit are permitted on beaches. There are numerous reports of law enforcement prohibiting fisherfolk from accessing beaches despite furnishing their fishing permits resulting in unnecessary confusion and conflict.
To ensure that the tourism industry is not adversely affected by the enforcement of arbitrary rules by local authorities, which is the cause of mass confusion and uncertainty to holiday-makers thus affecting hospitality bookings, a clear communique by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in relation to access to all beaches, including hotspot areas, by fishing permit holders needs to be cascaded down to all municipalities.
The DA does not support the further unnecessary decimation of local tourism and livelihoods – regulations need to be communicated clearly and decisively to local authorities.