Cosatu to approach court in abalone fishing row

The Congress of South African Trade Unions said on Tuesday it would approach the Cape High Court on Wednesday for an interdict to stop the government from implementing an abalone fishing ban that would impact on poor fishing communities.

Cosatu in the Western Cape issued the statement after Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said through a spokesperson he would consider representations made by trade union organisations about the proposed ban, following a late afternoon meeting at his office in Cape Town.

Cosatu said Van Schalkwyk should have had “an answer by today” [Tuesday].

“The minister just met the parties tonight [Tuesday] in a public relations exercise and had no intention of reviewing his decision—this kind of disregard is symptomatic of a minister who has no regard for poor communities and is just another reason why he should go.”

Cosatu would go to court on Wednesday to get an interdict to stop Van Schalkwyk from implementing the ban.

The Cape high court would consider the matter at 2pm, Cosatu said.

Speaking after the meeting on Tuesday, Van Schalkwyk ‘s spokesperson Riaan Aucamp said it had been a constructive discussion which concluded a number of issues regarding the abalone industry as well as subsistence fishing.

Van Schalkwyk had assured the representatives of the Cosatu, Masifundise Development Organisation, and Food and Allied Workers’ Union that he would apply his mind to the issues and communicate his decision in due course.

Aucamp said there was general acknowledgement at the meeting that the abalone fishing industry was in a crisis. - Sapa


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