DA wants answers from Smuts Ngonyama

The ANC’s head of the Presidency must explain why he set up meetings between government officials and a fishing company in which his family holds interests, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

”Smuts Ngonyama is not the Minister of Environmental Affairs. He must therefore explain why he set up meetings between marine and coastal management bureaucrats and private company Bato Star to secure fishing rights for the latter,” DA member of Parliament Marius Swart said in a statement.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that Ngonyama’s intervention broke a deadlock between the two parties over compliance with rules to prevent overfishing.

Ngonyama holds a 6,75% interest in Bato Star which he ”had not yet paid for”.

Ngonyama’s sister Nozipho Mgaga holds a 45% stake in Bato Star through a company called Amandl Olwandle.

A Bato Star director — Babalwa Ngonyama — is related to Smuts by marriage, the Mail & Guardian reported.

”The fact that Bato Star has been charged with over-fishing makes an explanation of this deal from Ngonyama particularly urgent,” said Swart.

He also called on Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk to instruct the fishing rights verification unit to see whether Bato Star complied with the requirements of the new fishing policies.

The newspaper quoted Ngonyama as saying he telephonically arranged a meeting between the parties to discuss the licensing of the Bato Star trawler Sandile. ‒ Sapa

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