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MosselbayonTheline | First With The News

Just a rubber stamp - actually TWO - stand between a pristine coastal town with five Blue Flag status beaches and a risky R380 million pelagic fish meal and -oil processing plant with the potential to irrevocably turn Mossel Bay into just another polluted harbour town in dismal South Africa where not even the rivers can be maintained or the lights kept on . . . 

202011

It's been just under a year since Afro Fishing's unobtrusive and uninformative legal notice regarding a public participation process for a fish meal plant appeared on 22 February 2019 on a back page in the Mossel Bay Advertiser. Very few people saw the notice and/or realised the importance and implications of its content . . . and within the next few months, the final decision will be made by the Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning (DEA&DP) under MEC Anton Bredell and the Garden Route District Municipality.

 

Afro Fishing

Interested and affected parties who submitted their objections, comments and input during the public participation process that ended on 12 December 2019 were notified by email on Wednesday that the Final Basic Assessment Report (FBAR) for Afro Fishing's proposal was finally completed and submitted to the DEA&DP for decision making. Only once a decision is taken by DEA&DP, will the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) consider an application for an Atmospheric Emissions License (AEL).  

 mun kennisgewings2

Attached to the email from senior consultant Melissa Mackay of Cape Environmental Assessment Practitioners (Cape EAPrac) was a link to the submitted FBAR which will also be available on the Cape EAPrac website (www.capeeaprac.co.za) for information purposes only, as well as a copy of the Comments & Responses Table which includes comments submitted to Cape Eaprac to date, along with the specialist team's responses.http://mosselbayontheline.co.za/images/MOS569_Comments_and_Responses_27Jan20.pdf

It is this Comments & Responses Table with shocking and libellous retorts from Afro Fishing's MD Deon van Zyl and "panel of experts" that caused the latest public outcry over this highly contested fishmeal plant and questions regarding the legality of the entire public participation and basic assessment process.

Afro meeting2

Melisa Mackay and Deon van Zyl (middle) with some members of Afro Fishing's panel of experts during Afro Fishing's last public information meeting in Mossel Bay's town hall.

The abusive and derogatory nature, personal attacks and flagrant lies in some responses to the public's concerns and valid questions are reminiscent of the bully-tactics Afro Fishing used in December last year in an attempt to gag Mosselbayontheline and to prevent us from reporting on the international #fishrot scandal in African waters that shocked the entire fishing industry. As none of our articles was defamatory or factually untrue, Judge Siraj Desai of the Western Cape High Court dismissed Afro Fishing's urgent high court interdict application with costs.

http://www.mosselbayontheline.co.za/index.php/cape-high-court-judge-desai

However, in several of the responses to Interested & Affected Parties' concerns in the official Comments & Responses Table that now forms part of the Final Basic Assessment Report (FBAR), Deon van Zyl tries to discredit this journalist by referring to her as a local activist and falsely accusing her of linking him to gang wars in Manenberg . . . ?

We publicly challenge Van Zyl to reveal any such article? 

Van Zyl accuses same journalist of providing "twisted reports that feed the narrative she wants" when most of the articles about the #fishrot scandal, Fishcor and the link with Afro Fishing's one director and alleged shareholder/affiliate/financer were written and published by national and international publications since 2017.

Van Zyl also mentions that he "confirmed" the names of Afro Fishing's directors Shamera Daniels and Johannes Augustinus Breed in an email in July 2019 . . . thereby actually admitting that he refused to give their names in both our oral and written interviews and basically were forced to confirm it after I researched them myself and named them, as well as AJ Louw, in the Q & A emails when he refused to answer the question.   

 

However, Mosselbayontheline is by far not the only Interested & Affected Party whose written submissions in the public participation process were met with such hostile, slanderous and disparaging retorts from both Van Zyl and Afro Fishing's consultant engineer, Chris Albertyn, who is also the founding member of Lethabo Air Quality Specialists (LAQS).

 

Here are some examples of the public's written comments and the responses by Afro Fishing's specialist team: (In some cases we protect the identity of the commentators due to the libellous and unacceptable nature of the response.) See them all here: http://mosselbayontheline.co.za/images/MOS569_Comments_and_Responses_27Jan20.pdf

1. Interested & Affected Party:

As reported in the Mossel Bay Advertiser of 7 June 2019, the practitioner concerned (Mr Albertyn) visited fishmeal plants in Portugal and Spain as a guest of the applicant, thereby exposing himself to possible undue influencing by the applicant’s Chief Executive Officer who lead the so-called “Fact-Finding“ excursion to Portugal and Spain.
 
Apart from referring to an unnamed factory in Portugal, it is of particular concern that he did not declare his overseas trip to Portugal and Spain, presumably paid for by Afro Fishing and/or the manufacturers/operators of the RTO (Dürr AG or Haarslev Industries A/S). The visit was ostensibly to expose him to RTO technology, similar to what is planned for the proposed new facilities at the Afro Fishing plant at Mossel Bay.
 
However, there cannot be any reason why he could not research the technology concerned on his own. It is also surprising that as a qualified engineer he did not mention RTO technology as the technology used elsewhere when he did his initial Air Quality Impact Assessment for the project (Final Report No REP 0002 / November 2018). The technology concerned has allegedly been available for approximately 15 years.
 
Furthermore, a visit of a day to each of the two plants (Annexure K8: Fact-Finding Feedback Report), was insufficient to make any proper assessment of any value of emissions or odours from the plant or to properly consult the communities affected by the plant. Page 152

 RESPONSES

Lethabo Air Quality Specialists (LAQS)  (Chris Albertyn):  
 
LAQS hopes that Mr X is not suggesting that Mr Albertyn was bribed by Afro Fishing and/or technology providers to produce a report in Afro Fishing's favour because such an accusation is libellous. If Mr X has proof that such an arrangement existed he should lodge a complaint against Mr Albertyn with the Engineer Council of South Africa, the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom and the Institute for Professional Environmental Practice in the USA.
 
Their contact details are easily obtainable from the internet, a source of information that Mr X seems to hold in high regard. These bodies will investigate Mr X's claims and, if found guilty, reprimand Mr Albertyn or, if they deem any offence serious enough, scrap his registrations. However, should they find Mr Albertyn innocent, what will Mr X be prepared to forfeit in return? But then, as a retired person who was employed by a polluting industry (and defended it while employed as communication official), Mr X stands nothing to lose by making such loose allegations, does he? To whom should Mr Albertyn have declared his visit to two fishmeal factories in Europe?
Mr Albertyn made no secret of his visit to Spain and Portugal. He even had aerial photographs of the two sites available at the public meeting and showed these to all who were interested. Mr X, obviously, was not. Of course, Afro Fishing paid for the visit to Spain and Portugal, but only for the direct expenses, e.g. visa costs, transport, accommodation, etc.
 
LAQS did not levy any fees for Mr Albertyn's time spent during the visit. Does Mr X seriously expect Mr Albertyn to travel overseas at his own costs to investigate something without a means of recovering the costs? Mr Albertyn is, of course, more than willing to return to both factories and spend an extended period of time at each to, as Mr X puts it, "make any proper assessment of any value of emissions or odours from the plant".
 
LAQS will, of course, expect Mr X to carry the costs and will gladly provide him with a quotation for the costs involved. With all due respect, if Mr Albertyn only researched the technology on-line, which, incidentally, he did, and did not visit such a plant to verify issues identified during the internet search, Mr X would have accused him of not doing due diligence by confirming matters directly through a site visit. (Mr Albertyn does not necessarily believe everything he reads on the internet!)
 
This is how we reported on our Facebook page on 25 June 2019 about same issues: 

Mosselbayontheline

Gekaapte media? Wyl besorgde inwoners nog wag op terugvoering van die openbaredeelnameproses oor die beoogde vismeelfabriek in Mosselbaai se hawe, het Afro Fishing sommer die plaaslike koerantjie se nuusredakteur en die konsultant wat die ONafhanklike omgewingsimpakstudie moet doen, op 'n oorsese reis na Spanje en Portugal geneem om na die jongste EERSTEWêRELDLAND-tegnologie in vismeelaanlegte te gaan kyk. Iets ruik NIE lekker nie . . . Die vismeelspan in Tarifa, Spanje. Deon van Zyl, grootbaas van Afro Fishing, omgewingskonsultant Melissa Mackay van Cape EAPrac, Nicky le Roux, nuusredakteur van die Mossel Bay Advertiser en Chris Albertyn, konsultant-ingenieur.

ONpartydig en Objektief ?

Foto: Mossel Bay Advertiser.
Lees meer hier: http://www.mosselbayontheline.co.za/…/wat-gaan-agter-die-sk…

https://www.mosselbayadvertiser.com/News/Article/General/best-practices-latest-technology-investigated-201906070830

 

2. Interested & Affected Party:

Key concerns with any new fishmeal development in Mossel Bay harbour are unpleasant odours and additional heavy traffic to and from the harbour area that will be in the road right next to my unit causing additional disturbances, particularly during the night. Currently, the harbour area has a moderate impact on the vicinity, traffic is manageable and unpleasant odours are limited.

Response:
 
Cape EAPrac: Please refer to the specialist Air Quality, Socio-Economic and Traffic Impact Assessments that are included with the Draft BAR. According to these specialists, the impacts are likely to Negligible to Moderate.
 
Afro Fishing (Deon van Zyl):  Odours will be managed using the odour abatement methods detailed in the project design and process flow detail. This includes a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) plant. The RTO plant operates at maximum temperatures of 850˚C and will incinerate the particles that cause bad odours.
 
Previously the site was active for the fishing company I&J. Our intention is to continue with fishing and processing activities. The site is also earmarked by TNPA for commercial fishing and processing which allows for such activities. As a direct neighbour, you would have bought your unit knowing that the neighbouring section of the harbour was zoned for fishing and industrial purposes.
 
 3. Interested & Affected Party:

Heritage Mossel Bay is of the opinion that the overall public participation process followed has been inadequate and that the basic assessment as carried out ultimately amounts to no more than minimum compliance with legislative requirements.

 
While notices / invitations to participate in the public participation process meet the minimum legislative requirements more effort should have been put into this aspect to ensure that public participation is as wide and thorough as possible on a project which may have grave consequences for the tourism industry of Mossel Bay, and therefore the creation and protection of jobs.
 
 
Reponses
 
Cape EAPrac: There has been public participation since February 2019 and has included notices, written notices, newspaper adverts, newspaper articles and email correspondence. The investigations into the proposal and its potential impacts have not been taken lightly and have examined the issue very closely. We disagree with your statement that the process has only considered minimum compliance.
 
LAQS: It appears as if Ms Wiggill does not trust the authorities to enforce the necessary measures to control the impact of the proposed factory. She is directed to the comments made by Dr Johann Schoeman, the Garden Route District Municipality's officially appointed Air Quality Officer.
 
Afro Fishing: The process followed was, in fact, longer than usual. Afro Fishing did do a pre-application in March 2019 already where 'Interested and Affected Parties' could already register. The process could just have been to make the project public during the formal public participation month in December 2019. Many newspaper articles regarding the project and application were published throughout the year. Many impact studies were performed which were probably not necessary but important for AF and the public to ensure we comprehensively understand the impacts. A task team was sent to Europe to be introduced to the odour abatement technology. It is our view that we certainly did not 'do the minimum' required. This is, however, a process and the application is by no means complete. There is still a long way to go.
 
4. Interested & Affected Party:
 
The cut-off date of 12 December 2019 for the submission of comment is too short and is unacceptable. I, therefore, insist that the comment period should be postponed until the "fish rot" investigation in Namibia has been fully investigated and dealt with at which time objections should still be submitted as the application and the outcome will have a material influence on the fishmeal facility in Mossel Bay.  

Reponse: 

Afro Fishing (Deon van Zyl):
 
The “fish rot” scandal in Namibia is totally unrelated to this project and investment. Just because a local activist (Mosselbayontheline - Elsa Wessels) incorrectly links Afro Fishing to this scandal does not mean it is true.
 
She has even linked me to gang wars in Manenberg - see her articles. This same activist continues to publish articles stating that I refuse to inform who the Afro Fishing directors are when I confirmed the directors in an email in July 2019. This same activist also provides a twisted report that feeds the narrative she wants.
She fails to inform that the Namibian scandal pertains to government officials and ministers who were bribed by an Icelandic fishing company for fishing quotas and that these same officials are now in jail. They have also had to resign from the boards they represented, etc. 
 
She fails to inform that the scandal is not linked to Afro Fishing or the Namibian fishing company that shares a common director with Afro Fishing. She also fails to inform that the Namibian Fishing company that shares a director with Afro Fishing has a gazetted arrangement whereby they are compelled to employ 700 land-based employees.
 
The employment of land-based employees is why they were allocated their quotas and not any link to the corrupt Icelandic fishing company arrangement as Elsa Wessels is purporting.
 
The department officials anyhow have 112 days to record a decision regarding this application, so there is plenty of time for DEADP to determine for themselves whether Afro Fishing is linked to Iceland and corrupt Namibian officials.
  • Mossebayontheline takes note of the slanderous and false accusations made by Deon van Zyl and would like to remind him that we have the original emails in which he refused to name any directors and also asked me to remove AJ Louw's name from his reply when I myself researched the directors . . . with quite a few witnesses!
  • The fact that Johannes Breed and AJ Louw are mentioned in various international newspapers since 2018 regarding their 60% shares in the Seaflower Pelagic Plant in Walvis Bay while the beleaguered Fishcor in the #fishrot scandal owns the remaining 40% is in public interest - why kill the messenger?
  • Van Zyl is misleading the public by stating that the Namibian scandal only refers to government officials and ministers who were bribed by an Islandic fishing company for fishing quotas from 2014 to 2016, while the #fishrot investigation is still ongoing and includes ALL companies involved in fishing deals with Fishcor till 2019.
  • Namibian lawyer Marén de Klerk, who represents African Selection Trust with Johannes Breed and AJ Louw on Seaflower Pelagic's Board, is now also being investigated by Namibia's Anti-Corruption Commission regarding payments of N$90 million in dubious transactions from the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor).
  • Seaflower Pelagic Processing's directors  are the axed Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi who has since been incarcerated, Fishcor chief executive Mike Nghipunya who has since been suspended, Angolan-based South African accountant Johannes Augustinus Breed, South African economist Adriaan Jacobus (AJ) Louw and lawyer Marén Brynard de Klerk, who has allegedly fled to South Africa.
  • This means that three of the five directors of Seaflower Pelagic, with AJ Louw as board chairperson, have already been linked to the #fishrot scandal. 

ACC hunts in SA for Fishrot lawyer linked to N$90m 

The N$90 million paid by Fishcor appears to have benefited the same clique that included former ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala and former Investec Asset Management Namibia managing director James Hatuikulipi, who allegedly pocketed close to N$103 million from Fishrot bribes. Noa said the latest suspect can run but not hide.

https://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?id=87727&page=read&fbclid=IwAR2U1Za8-2ozvjl69JxlnKTz0U_cIuH0hKyV_iF9cRbby4tJ_eCFvj-0VH8

 

Also, read our response to Mr Deon van Zyl's personal and slanderous attack in a local community paper on 31 January 2020:

https://web.facebook.com/mosselbayontheline/posts/2627728744125043

 

NAMIBIAN investigators are looking into N$900 million in fishing quotas allocated to the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) from 2014 to 2019, of which at least N$100 million was kickbacks for “key people”.

The Namibian understands that the kickbacks – which could rise to N$300 million – do not include bribes of around N$150 million paid through a fishing quota donated by Namibia to Angola, devised to line the pockets of well-placed politicians and businessmen.

The Angolan case is now unfolding in the courts.

https://www.namibian.com.na/196331/archive-read/Fishcors-N$100m-kickbacks

 

The handing of a fishing quota to the benefit of a foreign company contradicts a government commitment to “Namibianise” the fishing industry, critics in Namibia say.

 Namibia’s fisheries minister, Bernard Esau, has handed the state-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) a fishing quota potentially worth N$1.8-billion in a controversial deal that will benefit an international company, official documents show.
 

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-05-14-amabhungane-namibian-fishing-industry-cries-foul-as-quota-handed-to-international-interests/

 https://email.mweb.co.za/service/home/~/?auth=co&loc=en_US&id=153391&part=2

 The Final Basic Assessment Report (FBAR) for Afro Fishing's heavily contested proposed R380 fishmeal and fish oil reduction facility in Mossel Bay's harbour has been completed. The estimated 400 people who registered as interested and affected parties (I&A) in the public participation process were yesterday notified by email that the report is ready for submission to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP)      for decision making. Only once a decision is taken by DEA&DP, will the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) consider an application or an Atmospheric Emissions License (AEL).  

Melissa Makay, senior consultant of Cape Environmental Assessment Practitioners (Cape EAPrac) that was appointed by the Applicant, Afro Fishing (Pty) Ltd, to ensure compliance with the regulations contained in the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA, No 107 of 1998 as amended) and the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (NEMA:AQ, Act 39 of 2004) for a Basic Assessment (BA) Process.

The activity requires an Environmental Authorisation (EA) and Atmospheric Emissions License (AEL) in order to commence. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) and the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) are the respective competent authority to consider this application.

Lethabo Air Quality Specialists (LAQS) with founder member chemical engineer Chris Albertyn has experience in timber industries, clay brick manufacturers, galvanisers, tanneries, abattoirs, asphalt producers, automotive sector, bio-fuels, metallurgical smelters, hazardous waste incineration, petrochemical, to name a few.

LAQS is located in Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape and has been in operation since 2005.

 

Fishrot Johannes Augustinus Breed cropped 2Shamera Daniels

Afro Fishing's two directors, Johannes Augustinus Breed (37) and Shamera Daniels. Photos: Internet

Shamera Daniels, co-director of Afro Fishing with Johannes Augustinus Breed, has an impressive history in South Africa's fishing industry. Recently, the South African Pelagic and Fishing Industry and Association (SAPFIA), honoured her as their role model for Woman's Month 2019 - Women in the Pelagic industry:

 In addition to running her own business, Shamera finds herself on the Boards of several renowned industrial bodies, including being Vice Chairperson of South African Pelagic and Fishing Industry and Association (“SAPFIA”), a member of SAMSA’s National Fishing Forum, Chairperson of the West Coast Rock Lobster Association, Co-Vice Chairperson of FishSA, and majority stakeholder and Managing Director of Soundprops 1167 Investment (Pty) Ltd and Suidor Fishing (Pty) Ltd. More recently, Shamera’s career has experienced exponential growth when she became the Majority Shareholder in Soundprops 1167 Investment (Pty) Ltd, a company wherein she has been an active director since 2009.

 

 

 https://www.fishingindustrynewssa.com/2020/01/20/update-the-fact-of-the-matter/

https://www.fishingindustrynewssa.com/2020/01/17/afro-fishing-takes-on-the-media/

https://www.mosselbayontheline.co.za/index.php/fishy

 

 Latest on the fishing scene in SA: 

SA’S TANGLED LEGAL WEB

Barnabas Xulu, Zuma/Hlophe lawyer, ordered to repay state R20 million in legal fees

By Marianne Thamm• 31 January 2020
 
Barnabas Xulu during the Judicial Service Commission tribunal which is investigating a complaint of judicial misconduct against him on October 3, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Fo

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-01-31-barnabas-xulu-zuma-hlophe-lawyer-ordered-to-repay-state-r20-million-in-legal-fees/

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