In the strange Covid "new normal" times, it seems as if anything goes . . . and a "new normal" is surely awaiting the Mossel Bay harbour area.
Just after we reported yesterday about the ongoing #fishrot investigation and court cases in Namibia in which South African businessmen linked to Afro Fishing in Mossel Bay are implicated, we received notice that the heavily contested fish meal plant got the green light from the authorities . . .
This comes after strong public objections and ongoing opposition since Afro Fishing's fish meal plans were first announced in an unobtrusive municipal notice 18 months ago . . . and two of its main brains were linked to fishy deals with the Namibian Fishcor in the #fishrot scandal and ongoing investigation.
Deon van Zyl, managing director of Afro Fishing, at the premises of the current sardine cannery where a R380 million pelagic fish meal and -oil processing plant may soon be added pending an urgent appeal.
The first Provisional Atmospheric Emission Licence (PAEL) is valid for six months and affected parties only have 20 days to appeal. Seeing that it is NOT so easy to access the appeal documents, we supply a link to both the appeal form and the appeal regulations:
"On behalf of the Applicant, you are hereby notified that the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning (DEA&DP) has issued the Environmental Authorisation (EA) granting authorisation for the activity and the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has issued a Provisional Air Emissions License (PAEL).
"The DEA&DP signed and issued the decision on the 27th July 2020 and the GRDM signed and issued the PAEL on the 31st July 2020. A copy of the decisions, including the reasons for the decisions are included with this notification. They are also available on the Cape EAPrac website (www.cape-eaprac.co.za)."
An old aerial photo of Afro Fishing's sardine cannery at the Mossel Bay harbour
The first Provisional Atmospheric Emission Licence (PAEL) is valid for a period of six months from the date of commissioning of the Listed Activity. Commissioning means the commencement of a listed activity. That is when the boiler and RTO are coming into operation.
The commission date must be communicated to the Licencing Authority within 14 days from date that commissioning is known, in order to determine the starting of the six-month period (commencement date). If the Licence Holder is in full compliance of its first Provisional AEL, a second and final PAEL will be issued for a period of one year. The final PAEL is only applicable if the Licence Holder can prove full compliance with its 2nd PAEL, for a period of at least six (6) months, as contemplated in section 42(1) of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 200
APPEAL PROCEDURE in terms of the National Appeal Regulations 2014 (EA)
Should any party wish to appeal this decision, an Appeal Submission must be submitted to the Minister’s office within 20 days of the date of notification of the Environmental Authorisation.
The appellant must submit a copy of the appeal to the holder of the decision, any registered I&AP, any Organ of State with interest in the matter and the decision-maker i.e. the Competent Authority that issued the decision. The names and contact information of all registered Interested & Affected Parties (I&APs) have been included with this notification as per Condition 6.4.6 in the event that they are required for an appeal submission. The holder of the decision, the decision-maker that issued the decision, the registered I&AP and the Organ of State must submit their responding statements, if any, to the appeal authority and the appellant within 20 (twenty) calendar days from the date of receipt of the appeal submission.
Residents during the last public participation process meeting regarding Afro Fishing's heavily contested plans to add a R380 million pelagic fish meal and -oil processing plant to its existing sardine cannery.
This authorisation despite a public outcry and an ongoing court case is just more proof that the voice of citizens has very little impact in local, provincial and national decisions that impact them directly and adversely. . . .
In another ongoing issue at the harbour, it was confirmed that a charge of corruption, alternatively fraud, has been laid at the Mossel Bay Police office on 28 July 2020 against the signatories of the lease agreement between the Transnet National Ports Authority and Mossel Bay Waterfront (Pty) Ltd for the former Mossel Bay Yacht Club premises as well as the walk-on moorings in the Mossel Bay Harbour.
More than a million rand is apparently involved in unpaid rental income and interest to the Transnet National Ports Authority, a State-owned entity, when the lessor already started earning income from the premises.
The charges were apparently laid by a private individual following the discovery in major discrepancies in the dates on which the agreement and some annexures had allegedly been signed as well as the dates from which Mossel Bay Waterfront had taken beneficial occupation of the premises (February 2019).
While the contract was allegedly signed in April 2019, The Transnet National Ports Authority issued another conflicting statement, published in the Mossel Bay Advertiser on 8 November 2019, that the agreement had not been signed yet at that stage.
Mossel Bay Waterfront started charging boat owners rental for the moorings from March 2019 onwards and opened its doors for business well before the alleged date of signing the contract. The agreement of surety, which is a legal requirement when lease agreements are entered into with State entities such as the TNPA and which the lessor had to be submitted with the lease application document in December 2016, was apparently only signed in the beginning of 2020.
Also, read our previous article on the ongoing battle of the boats at the previously proud Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club . . .
Betty's Bay is one of the last natural coastal havens in South Africa, still untouched by ill-thought profitable industrial and property developments that not only cause gross over-population and the collapse of infrastructures, but also irreparable damage and destruction to the beautiful natural environment that drew the people there in the first place.
How much longer will this pristine piece of paradise - a world-renowned and acclaimed fynbos biosphere between mountain and sea - be able to withstand the impact of greedy developers and politicians who put profit and self-enrichment above the conservation of our most precious and priceless natural assets and tourism magnets?
The beautiful Betty's Bay is a tranquil holiday town nestling between the Kogelberg mountains and the Atlantic Sea in the Overberg - offering residents and visitors the best of both worlds with spectacular sea and mountain views.
The village, that once housed the Waaygat Whaling Station to harvest and process whale meat in the early 1900's, is most renowned for its pristine natural beauty, still untouched by relentless industrialization and overpopulation. Residents cherish this unspoilt piece of paradise where gravel roads and the absence of street lamps accentuate the rural ambience so coveted by city dwellers and tourists alike.
It is a unique biosphere where residents share their gardens with Cape Clawless Otters, Cape Greybuck, Water Mongoose, Grey Mongoose, Oystercatchers, Caracal, Serval (Tierboskat), African Wildcat, Genets (Muskeljaatkat), Civets and even still the occasional Leopard. The Caracal and Otters are resident on Stony Point. The occasional dassies and baboons have become a nuisance, but residents learned to live with their antics.
A leopard in the garden of Betty's Bay resident Van As Jordaan
Centrally located just 100 km from Cape Town along the scenic coastal R44 drive between Kleinmond and Pringle Bay, the town also hosts the famous Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens, as well as the second biggest African penguin colony in the Western Cape - situated in the Betty's Bay Marine Protected Area in Stony Point.
It is here, in the midst of Stony Point between breeding penguins, where an ongoing battle is still raging around a 200 feet (39 m) MTN cellphone tower that MTN erected on municipal property almost twenty years ago despite strong opposition from local residents.
According to the initial lease agreement between the Overstrand Municipality and MTN in March 2001, MTN was to lease a portion of Erf No 2411 at Stony Point for the erection of a mast and associated infrastructure for a period of 20 years. Further rental periods were to be negotiated 3 months prior to expiry of the agreement.
MTN was to pay Overstrand Municipality a once-off payment of R250 000.00 excluding VAT in advance as payment for the full period (20 years) of the agreement. The municipality as the local supply authority is the supplier of the electricity to operate the equipment for the duration of the lease contract.
This original contract expires at the end of March 2021 and property owners and full-time residents were looking forward to the long-awaited removal of the unsightly and invasive tower - not only because of the health threats and constant nuisance factor of the inverter and wind noise keeping them awake at night, but also because such a massive telecommunication structure does not belong in the centre of a proclaimed Marine Protected Area and Penguin sanctuary.
View from a bedroom of one of the residents
Two months ago, their hopes were shattered when a construction team arrived in May during the Covid-19 lock down to do "standard maintenance work" to the tower, involving the painting and de-rusting of the 39 m structure.
Unbearable invasion of privacy and constant noise pollution
Some houses are less than 100 metres from the tower and the added daily noise and invasion of privacy during lock down caused another public outcry. Workers on the tower have a 360-degree view into all neighbouring properties. Residents find the privacy invasion, constant noise and activity within a protected penguin colony unbearable and totally unacceptable, but seems to have no say in the matter. Some enquiries revealed that the controversial Chinese telecommunication giant, HUAWEI, contracted a Cape Town company to do the maintenance work on behalf of MTN.
5G and HUAWEI
Huawei's sudden involvement in Betty's Bay raised even more concern as this specific company is notorious for its questionable 5G technology which has already been banned from the USA, UK and several other countries due to the immense security risks of its 5G software technology.
Furthermore, Betty's Bay residents are strongly opposed to the controversial 5G technology due to the immense health risks from an overload of electro-magnetic pollution and radiation.
They want to know why the maintenance and painting of the tower need to be done now during lock down as it is not an essential service - and especially since the original contract expires within 7 months.
Addendum to initial agreement with MTN
Residents are also worried that an addendum to the original contract that was added on 1 June 2001 will enable MTN to extend its lease for a further period of 9 years and 11 months.
According to the new agreement the lease shall be for a period of twenty (20) years (the “initial period”) commencing on 1 April 2001 with a further period of nine (9) years and eleven (11) months (the “option period”) which option shall be exercised in writing by the Lessee (MTN) no less than three (3) months prior to the expiry of the initial period. Rental for the “option period” shall be re-negotiated prior to the expiry of the initial period but shall not unreasonably exceed market-related rentals at that time.
Thus far, no definite confirmation could be obtained from the Overstrand Municipality whether MTN has indicated that it wants to exercise its option to extend the lease period or has applied for the extension yet . . .
Earlier discussions to move the tower and its infrastructure to a more suitable premise have also apparently come to a standstill … and residents fear the time is running out if no alternative venue has yet even been identified.
To complicate matters, the Overstrand Municipality has apparently transferred the applicable portion of land at Stony Point to the Department of Public Works in 2019 and appointed Cape Nature as the custodian of the property . . . thereby exonerating themselves from all responsibility towards the renewal of the lease agreement with MTN.
The question is now WHO is ultimately responsible for the decision to extend the lease agreement with MTN when the contract for the “initial period” expires on 31 March 2021. . . and will that include the adding of the new controversial 5G wireless cellphone technology?
It is also not as if both the Overstrand Municipality and Cape Nature were unaware of the Stony Point residents' continuous concerns and appeals in dozens of letters against the degrading of the area and the health impacts of the tower . . . In a meeting as recently as 28 March 2017 of the Stoney Point PAAC, both OM Councillor Fanie Krige and Tierck Hoekstra of Cape Nature were implored to make sure MTN is timeously notified that the contract will NOT be renewed in 2021 so that alternative sites could be found. . . precisely to avoid what is happening NOW?
It seems NOTHING was done, adding to residents' frustration that they have been thrown under the bus by the authorities that are supposed to serve them and act in their best interest . . . ?
Would ANY of the responsible officials have allowed such a monstrous tower near their OWN homes?
Both MTN and HUAWEI are already marketing and installing 5G structures and technology across South Africa and Namibia despite strong and growing public opposition, and Betty’s Bay residents fear the same will happen here without their prior knowledge or consent.
Seeing that microwave military 5G is a totally different form of technology compared to the existing generations of cellphone technology 1,2,3 and 4G and poses much worse health and security risks, MTN will have to follow the standard application procedures regarding new technology, which includes an environmental / health impact study and a public participation process before it can add any additional technology to its existing structures.
Dr Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University discusses the real threat of 5g.
Residents within a radius of 500m from the MTN tower feel they are already bombarded with an overload of electro-magnetic radiation 24/7 which has been causing a variety of typical EMF health implications – including intermittent periods of unexplainable headaches, dizziness, disorientation, chest pains, heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat and anxiety.
Adding the heavily contested 5G microwave-frequency to the existing hotchpotch of EM pollution will dramatically increase the EM pollution and health risks, of which cancer, cardio-vascular problems and neuro-degenerative diseases are the most alarming.
Readings of EMF meters in the area also often show disturbing spikes in EMF levels that exceed the allowed safety regulations.
Passing the buck
Residents feel the Overstrand Municipality as the overhead local authority is still responsible for the premises as they initially signed the contract with MTN and still benefits greatly from the agreement, which “allows both Vodacom and the Overstrand Municipality to make use of the premises and/or the infrastructure thereof for the purpose of a base station and/or municipal radio equipment which will involve the installation, housing, operation and maintenance of equipment owned by the said Vodacom and the Overstrand Municipality, on conditions which are not in conflict with the conditions contained in this agreement”.
This means that the rural hamlet of Betty’s Bay is basically the telecommunication base / headquarters supplying the infrastructure and services for all telco’s like Vodacom, MTN and Cell C to cover the entire Overberg region. One wonders when last an independent company tested the EM radiation levels in the area?
Furthermore, the conditions in the 2001 contract stipulate specifically:
Condition 8: Should future research suggest health implications for electromagnetic radiation at the proposed frequencies, this application may be re-evaluated, and decommissioning or alteration of the equipment may be required.
Key factors affecting the decision:
Cognisant of the following:
Cellular telephone facilities constitute a world-wide substantial, growing and extending technology – the cumulative impact of which have not as yet been absolutely proven to be totally without risk;
Leasing of space to construct cellular telephone mast and base station facilities provide a significant income for institutions, particularly schools and churches, often within disadvantaged communities;
All cellular telephone facilities in South Africa are required to conform to the World Health Organisation, and National Health Department standards with regard to levels of electromagnetic radiation;
The conditions of this authorisation reflect a precautionary approach by the Department without unnecessarily infringing on the rights of individuals or institutions to voluntarily have such facilities erected upon their property.
From the above, it is clear that the world-wide concern about the cumulative health impact of cellular technology and EM radiation was already a major worrisome factor in 2001 – long before the explosion of wireless technology and 5g/Artificial Intelligence was even considered in the public domain. Since 2001, harmful electromagnetic pollution and radiation have more than trebled and triggered a global appeal and serious warnings from the medical and scientific fraternity.
It is also concerning to note that financial gain is put above health concerns and that the most vulnerable institutions like schools and churches in disadvantaged communities are targeted DESPITE the growing health concerns.
The “so-called precautionary safety measures” of the Department of Health means basically nothing if it is overruled by the public’s rights . . . meaning that an individual who chooses to profit from allowing telecommunication companies to place dangerous cellphone masts or structures on his/her property may do so despite the health risks to him/herself and those who are unavoidably also exposed to the harmful effects?
Ground-breaking court ruling against random cellphone masts
Betty’s Bay’s ongoing battle against ill-placed cellphone masts and excessive exposure to harmful electromagnetic radiation is echoed in innumerable towns and cities across the world . . . but it seems the Tech Tycoons have become untouchable, forcing activist groups in many international cities to set 5G masts and structures alight.
In South Africa, a recent ground-breaking ruling by the Constitutional Court put a halt to the random installation of cellphone masts and structures on municipal land that does not comply with the municipality’s zoning by-laws – effectively putting municipalities on the spot to take responsibility for the well-being of its citizens. Whether this ruling will apply to all 5G small cell sites and structures too and whether all municipalities will adhere to it, remains to be seen.
Telkom loses ConCourt battle on cellphone masts
26 June 2020
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) delivered a blow to Telkom yesterday, dismissing the company’s bid to be allowed to install telecommunications stations – cellphone masts – at locations of its choice without prior approval from local authorities.
Telkom approached the ConCourt seeking the interpretation of Section 22 of the Electronic Communications Act. It wanted the court to pronounce whether the exercise of rights it held in terms of the section is subject to compliance with municipal bylaws before exercising those rights.
The court’s decision is likely to have a far-reaching impact on telcos that have previously faced criticism over cellphone masts. Concerns from some quarters ranged from the masts being a distraction, to alleged emission of electromagnetic radiation.
The long-running battle over the cellphone masts between Telkom and the City of Cape of Town dates back to 2016 when Telkom installed a cellphone mast in Heathfield, without prior approval from the city.
According to the City of Cape Town, the zoning of the land does not permit the installation of a cellphone mast, and when the city informed Telkom that it was in breach of the Municipal Planning Bylaw, the company approached the Western Cape High Court to challenge the validity of the law and Cape Town’s telecommunications mast infrastructure policy.
At the time, Telkom planned to install 135 masts across Cape Town and went ahead and installed seven masts without obtaining the city’s approval.
The city responded by imposing an administrative penalty on Telkom and put its application for rezoning on hold pending payment of the penalty. The telco then approached the courts.
Subsequently, Telkom lost the matter in the Western Cape High Court, as well as in Bloemfontein at the Supreme Court of Appeals, before heading to the ConCourt.
On Thursday, the ConCourt unanimously dismissed Telkom, saying its “interpretation” of the law lacks merit.
“The Constitutional Court further held that its jurisprudence on the interpretation and application of section 22 of the Act illustrates that licensees must comply with municipal bylaws when they exercise the right conferred on them by that provision. Therefore, it held that the Supreme Court of Appeal cannot be faulted for applying that interpretation of section 22,” reads the judgement.
It continues: “The Constitutional Court held that leave to appeal must be refused as it was not in the interest of justice to grant it. The effect of the refusal was that the order issued by the High Court remains extant and Telkom should pay costs, including the costs of two counsel.”
In court, Telkom argued the municipal bylaw does not apply to it and that the company is free to install cellphone towers wherever it deems fit, irrespective of whether or not the land is zoned for that use.
Telkom argued the city had no legislative power to regulate telecommunications, and to the extent that the impugned bylaw, read with the policy, regulates telecommunications, it is invalid.
Further, Telkom argued that compliance with different bylaws is unworkable and that this constitutional conundrum is to assign a restrictive meaning to the phrase “municipal planning”.
The City of Cape Town argued that all land units within the city’s municipal boundaries have a base zoning that determines what the land can be used for, and how the land may be developed.
This zoning, among others, it contended, is indicated in the Development Management Scheme that is included in the municipal planning bylaw.
Growing health concern and public resistance against untested 5G technology
Meanwhile, public outcries and international and national petitions to ban 5G - and especially China's HUAWEI - due to security and health risks, are gaining momentum by the day.
In South Africa, the latest petition was launched this month:
A team of concerned South Africans citizens and activists are working together through a Facebook Group Safe Gen F*ve for South Africa, to raise awareness about the problems of rolling out untested and potentially dangerous 5G in South Africa. We are now mounting a formal legal campaign calling for the South African Government to adopt the Precautionary Principle and place a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G in South Africa, until it has been independently tested and proven safe.
The campaign is backed by credible international scientific research pointing to health and environmental dangers of Electro Magnetic Frequency radiation (EMF) in general. Our aim is to call for a moratorium until the lack of effective policy, risk assessment and safety standards has been addressed. Unsafe and inadequate international radiation guidelines set by the ICNIRP which SA supposedly adheres to, are a real problem. We are fundraising to help for the legal fees of this important campaign.
The People in South Africa are becoming increasingly alarmed as they learn of the serious implications of the 5G roll-out: to their own health, the environment and all biological life. No one wants a mast emitting high levels of radiation outside their home, their child’s school or their place of work. The benefits claimed by the telecoms industry come at a very high price. We think it is too high. 5G radiation will be sent from advanced antennas, in phased arrays, that transmit microwaves in narrow beams, a technology originally developed for military purposes. This will massively increase the exposure to radiation from those beams. Those beams will be nearly everywhere.
The telecoms industry intend to outfit nearly every lamp post or utility post around the country with wireless small cell antennas beaming hazardous radiation next to, or into, our homes, schools, work places and everywhere, 24/7 as well as intensifying 4G throughout the countryside.
Reassurances of safety made by the 5G telecom companies is based on the long obsolete view point that radio frequency (RF) radiation can only cause harm above thermal, tissue heating, levels of exposure. This concept has been invalidated by hundreds of peer-reviewed published scientific papers. Insurance underwriters such as Lloyds of London and Swiss Re have weighed up the risk; Swiss Re class it as a future ‘high-impact risk.’
In fact, the large telecoms corporations are themselves warning their shareholders (not the public) of the risks of 5G. In their information to shareholders, telecommunications companies warn about potential loss of share value due to future litigation related to health risks.
Consequence of 5G implementation inaction will allow irreparable harm to all life, most particularly the vulnerable among us including unborn, children, the elderly, anyone with underlying health conditions and people with metal implants. THERE IS NO OPTING OUT FROM THIS. It is UNTESTED.
There will be a fundamental difference in our lives and we will lose our privacy as surveillance and social control by industry and governments becomes ubiquitous with tracking and monitoring leading to behaviour modification.
While glossy 5G advertisements and propaganda are suddenly flooding all media and social media platforms, all health-related scientific research, peer-reviewed studies and warnings of the past century are swept under the carpet and defamed as "conspiracy theories" by the same propaganda machines that are heavily invested in this untested weaponized technology.
Where does this leave the public who have always relied on the "traditional mainstream media" for unbiased, objective and factual information in a "new normal" era characterized by grossly contradictory and one-sided information and an unprecedented onslaught of media manipulation and capturing by Tech Tycoons . . . ?
Maybe the public will have to stop relying on the captured media to inform them about health issues and decide for themselves WHO and WHAT they choose to belief where their health is concerned - profitable telecommunication companies with invested interest, or independent medical and scientific experts whose specialized research have been captured in thousands of journals since the 1870's . . .
Are the regulating agencies who determine the "safety regulations" of new technology adequately qualified, informed, impartial and up-to-date with all the risks of the latest technologies or are they advised by experts with invested interest?
The international guidelines of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the safety of cellphones, 5G and wireless technology are 30 years outdated, flawed and totally inapplicable today to protect the public against an avalanche of toxic electromagnetic pollution and radiation. Notwithstanding, the captured FCC in conjunction with Tech Tycoons and politicians are hellbent to cover the planet with a hotchpotch of potentially lethal radio and microwave frequencies from land, sea and sky.
In South Africa, MTN also announced in June that it followed RAIN and Vodacom to launch 5G hotspots in Johannesburg, Tswane, Cape Town and several small towns . . . without the public having a clue and without any mandatory safety/health/environmental impact studies or public participation processes. Cellphone towers and 5G structures are shooting up like mushrooms in neighbourhoods and even upon the roofs of schools, churches and buildings in densely populated areas . . .
DESPITE a Constitutional Court verdict that cellphone masts and structures may ONLY be deployed in designated areas according to municipalities' zoning by-laws . . . ?
So WHO is in the first place responsible for the public's health in a city or town? Are the municipalities so compromised and invested in 5G that they willfully and knowingly break their own laws and thereby putting their communities at risk?
If TELKOM lost its bid to install cellphone masts at locations of its choice without prior approval from local authorities, then the same law applies to ALL cellphone structures . . . and the responsibility to protect the public's safety lies with the municipalities.
Underneath is a summary of independent Medical/Health research on the biological effects of cellphones and EM radiation since the 1870's:
The 1,479-page BioInitiative Report is an extensive scientific review of 3,800 studies. The report concludes that bio-effects from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi and smart meters can occur within minutes of exposure. The BioInitiative report was authored by 29 leading scientists from 10 countries, with 10 MDs and 21 PhDs. The Co-Editor of the report is Professor David Carpenter, MD., the Director of the Institute for Health and Environment, University of Albany, a collaborating center with the World Health Organization. He is also one of the Petitioners in the CHD case.
First, 5G emits “ultra high frequencies”. The higher the frequency, the shorter the length of each wave. This means more waves hit our bodies in the same amount of time. Previous cellular generations emitted from 1 to 6 GHz frequencies. 5G cell towers may emit frequencies as high as 300 GHz.
Second, 5G technology requires “ultra high intensity”. Since the shorter length millimeter waves (MMV) used in 5G do not travel as far (and get obstructed easier), with our current number of cell towers the cell signal will not be reliable. To compensate 5G cell towers will have to emit the lower 3G & 4G waves as well, and many more “mini cell towers” will have to be installed. It is estimated that they will need a mini cell tower every 2 to 8 houses. All of this combined will greatly increase our RF Radiation exposure.
* Follow up: 5G has been activated DESPITE residents' desperate attempts to have the tower removed. This depicts what is happening NOW in a national Marine Protected Area/penguin sanctuary during lockdown:
Afro Fishing's contentious plans to add a R380 million pelagic fish meal and oil manufacturing plant to its sardine cannery in Mossel Bay may just have suffered a fatal blow after two of its main brains have been implicated in an alleged money laundering scandal in Namibia.
The South Africans, chartered accountant Johannes Augustinus Breed and economist Adriaan Jacobus Louw are the alleged powers behind Afro Fishing's fish meal plans. They are also directors of the controversial multi-million dollar Seaflower Pelagic Processing plant in Walvis Bay which is now at the heart of an alleged money laundering scandal in Namibia.
SA economist AJ Louw (left) and Johannes Augustinus Breed, one of the two directors of Afro Fishing in Mossel Bay.
Mosselbayontheline has been questioning the secrecy around Afro Fishing's new management and financiers/affiliates since February last year when their unobtrusive application to build a pelagic fishmeal and -oil plant in Mossel Bay's harbour first appeared in the local paper.
When we eventually linked Breed and Louw to fishing companies in Namibia and Angola which had engaged in fishy deals with the beleaguered Namibian state-owned Fishcor, Breed and Afro Fishing tried to muzzle us with a high court interdict - which they lost with cost.
In the latest development in the ongoing international #fishrot investigation, the Namibian cabinet has decided to cancel a controversial N$20 billion partnership between the state-owned fishing company Fishcor and African Selection Fishing.
The two teamed up in 2017 to form a fish-processing entity called Seaflower Pelagic Processing.
Seaflower – now at the heart of an alleged money laundering scandal – operates from Walvis Bay.
The decision comes barely a week after The Namibian reported the deal was structured in such a way that the government, through Fishcor, got a raw deal.
It ended up as the minority shareholder while shouldering most of the financial outlay as well as bearing most of the risk and responsibility for the venture – including loans, collateral and guaranteed state-funded fishing quotas.
Former justice minister Sacky Shanghala's lawyer, Marén de Klerk, and two South African businessmen emerged as key beneficiaries of the 30-year deal.
The partnership is also the subject of a court case in which two former ministers, Bernhard Esau and Shanghala, are accused of allegedly masterminding a scheme to get at least N$75 million through Celax Investments Number One. Celax is owned by De Klerk.
Court charges claim Seaflower Pelagic Processing was used as a conduit for money laundering.
The Namibian learned Cabinet approved exiting the deal after the minister of fisheries and marine resources Albert Kawana recommended it at a meeting last week.
A government document seen by The Namibian states that “Cabinet approves the termination of the agreement between Fishcor and African Selection Fishing and Seaflower Pelagic Processing”.
The document also states that Kawana, minister of public enterprises Leon Jooste, minister of justice Yvonne Dausab and attorney general Festus Mbandeka were given the responsibility of terminating the contract.
The Namibian understands Cabinet also approved a job-saving proposal tabled by Kawana to avoid the abrupt closure of the factory.
The proposal aims “to allocate 5 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel to Seaflower Pelagic Processing for a period of six months to preserve employment”.
Government officials were this week reluctant to comment on the issue.
“Unfortunately, I cannot at this stage comment on a matter that is still under consideration by Cabinet,” Dausab said.
She directed questions to Kawana and minister of information and communication technologies Peya Mushelenga.
“It is not in my culture to discuss Cabinet proceedings in public,” said Kawana.
Jooste said he was still waiting for instructions from Cabinet and had no information at this stage.
Mbandeka did not respond to calls or text messages.
A RAW DEAL
The Namibian reported that the 2017 agreement between Fishcor and African Selection shows the government had to deliver close to N$700 million in start-up capital – made up of N$530 million for building and setting up a fish-processing plant at Walvis Bay, as well as for the purchase of a refrigerated trawler for the venture.
In terms of the shareholders' agreement between Fishcor and Africa Selection Fishing, the government was committed to allocating 50 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel a year to the joint venture from 2017 to 2047.
The agreement shows African Selection was not responsible for much apart from managing the Seaflower venture at no charge to Seaflower.
Apart from De Klerk, other beneficiaries of the joint venture are South African businessmen Adrian Louw and Johannes Breed. The three, through African Selection Fishing Namibia, held a 60% interest in Seaflower Pelagic Processing. Fishcor is the minority partner with 40%.
Cabinet will also have to consider the involvement of De Klerk, who is wanted by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The lawyer owns 100% of Celax and is the company's sole director.
Celax was formally registered on 24 January 2017, six days before African Selection Fishing Namibia signed its shareholder agreement with Fishcor.
De Klerk resigned as a director of SeaFlower and African Selection Fishing on 15 January this year.
* Three directors of Seaflower Pelagic are now "safely" in South Africa and probably won't be extradited to Namibia? While Namibian attorney Marén De Klerk fled to SA earlier this year, AJ Louw and Johannes Breed are the powers behind the equally controversial Afro Fishing in Mossel Bay whose plans to add a multi-million rand pelagic fish meal and -oil plant to the existing sardine cannery are awaiting the green light .. . The proposed fish meal plant was heavily opposed by the public, but the final decision must still be made by the Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning (DEA&DP) under MEC Anton Bredell and the Garden Route District Municipality.
It is uncertain how these latest developments will affect Afro Fishing's fishmeal plans . . . ?
Apart from the above, South Africa's prominent involvement in the international #fishrot scandal has been ignored and swept under the carpet DESPITE the fact that various prominent people and companies have been mentioned repeatedly in the Wikileaks files:
While the world is still in lockdown due to the most controversial flu bug "pandemic" in the history of mankind, South Africa's involvement in the biggest international fishing scandal in decades is slowly but surely surfacing . . .
When Mosselbayontheline last year mentioned the connection between the directors/affiliates of Afro Fishing, Johannes Augustinus Breed and Adriaan Jacobus (AJ) Louw, and the Namibian Fishcor in the #fishrot scandal, Afro Fishing tried to muzzle the publication with an urgent high court interdict which they lost with costs. Since then, nothing was heard again about Afro Fishing's heavily contested application to establish a multi-million rand pelagic fish meal and -oil processing plant in Mossel Bay's harbour.
The SA mainstream media also refrained from mentioning a word about the various South Africans who featured prominently and repeatedly in the #fishrot Wikileaks files in which the biggest fishing scandal in Namibia was exposed ... despite Susan Puren's in-depth article in Noseweek in which high-ranking SA officials and even a previous minister of fisheries were mentioned.
Small wonder Islandic whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson mentioned he is more afraid of the SA fishing mafia than the #fishrot accomplices in Namibia and Angola . . . as he believes it was in Cape Town that he was poisoned during his last negotiations.
While the Namibian government and media left no stone unturned to seek justice after the #fishrot scandal broke in November last year and immediately jailed three ministers and Fishcor officials, the South African government and mainstream media basically ignored the entire scandal as though it has nothing to do with South Africa . . .
Even when Namibian lawyer Marén de Klerk fled to South Africa earlier this year when the Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wanted to question him regarding his involvement in the #fishrot scandal, nothing was done to locate or extradite him.
In the latest turn of events, De Klerk and the two South Africans (Louw and Breed) who represented African Selection with him on the board of directors of Seaflower Pelagic, are now under investigation for their fishy partnership and deals with Fishcor.
Lawyer De Klerk in N$20 billion Fishrot deal
The Namibian understands the government – through Fishcor – poured close to N$700 million in start-up capital and loan guarantees into the joint venture called Seaflower Pelagic Processing in 2017.
Documents show the government received a raw deal as a minority owner while shouldering the costs of a majority shareholder in a joint venture set up in 2017.
This partnership is now the subject of a court case in which two former ministers are accused of masterminding a scheme to get at least N$75 million.
Seaflower Pelagic had five directors when the deal was sealed.
Africa Selection was represented by De Klerk, Angolan-based South African accountant Johannes Augustinus Breed and South African economist Adriaan Jacobus Louw, while Fishcor was represented by James Hatuikulipi and Mike Nghipunya.
Now documents show the key players in the transaction are De Klerk and Louw – through African Selection Fishing Namibia.
Seaflower Pelagic Processing was used as a conduit for money laundering, court charges allege.
Exposed: Zuma 'bodyguard' was link man in international fishing conspiracy
Noseweek Issue #245, 1st March 2020 By Susan Puren
Much has since been written about the WikiLeaks Fishrot Files that exposed corrupt politicians and officials in Namibia’s fishing industry.
In return for lucrative fishing rights in their country they received close to $10m (R147m) in bribes from the Icelandic fishing conglomerate Samherji.
Two government ministers in Namibia resigned and are awaiting trial, together with another seven senior officials who were also caught with their hands in the cookie jar. In Iceland, Samherji’s CEO has stepped down while the whistleblower, Icelandic citizen Jóhannes Stefánsson, is in hiding, fearing for his life.
But Samherji also actively tried to get into South Africa’s fishing waters, wining and dining politicians and officials during secretive meetings as far back as 2014. It is all there to see in the WikiLeaks tranche of more than 30,000 leaked emails and confidential documents online. As many as 1,210 of these deal with an elaborate plan to capture a huge chunk of South Africa’s fishing industry, specifically horse mackerel, which earns in excess of R1.4 billion per annum. The tale unfolds mostly in emails written in 2016 between Stefánsson and Allie Baderoen.
At the time Stefánsson was still Samherji’s frontman in Namibia, where he had bribed politicians and officials for many years.
Baderoen, a Cape Town businessman, was steering negotiations on behalf of a South African company called Global Pact Trading 193 (Pty) Ltd which controversially received an experimental fishing permit for horse mackerel from South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in December 2015. Global Pact obtained the permit, ostensibly by promoting the idea that horse mackerel was a cheap source of protein that could feed the poor.
This, Global claimed, was not happening because the big players in the fishing industry do not bring their catch to our shores. Instead, tonnes of fish are block-frozen at sea, transshipped and exported to countries such as Angola, Zambia and the DRC without creating a single job on South African soil. After unsuccessfully lobbying the suits at DAFF for several years, a permit was finally issued under the watch of the department’s then minister Senzeni Zokwana. Granted under section 83 of the SA Marine Living Resources Act, which allows the minister to determine and authorise any scientific investigation or practical experiment, the permit allocated a massive 8,000 tonnes of the oily fish per annum to Global Pact, but without even mentioning details of the required experiment in the official permit conditions.
The quota was worth between R80m-R120m and, with the stroke of Zokwana’s proverbial pen, this new entrant to the industry sneaked in through the transformation back door to become the second-largest horse mackerel rights holder in South Africa, without having to go through the application processes imposed on all other applicants. The permit also uniquely entitled Global Pact to fish on the West and South coasts of South Africa at any time they chose.
This raised eyebrows throughout the fishing industry. The South Arican Deep Sea Trawling Industry Association (Sadstia) and 21 other entities launched an appeal, saying such an allocation to a newcomer was unheard of and in conflict with the fishing capacity management regime, which was developed and implemented by the very same department that had granted Global Pact’s so-called experimental permit.
Die eerste lig in die tonnel het uiteindelik deurgebreek vir 18 huiseienaars van die omstrede Seemeeupark-dorpsontwikkeling in Hartenbos wie se aftree-huise einde 2015 reeds die eerste onheilspellende krake begin toon en in 2016 inderhaas ontruim moes word weens erge grondverskuiwings.
'n Skikkingsooreenkoms is onlangs uiteindelik met die Switserse versekeringsreus Zürich bereik waarvolgens 75% van die oorspronklike eisbedrag aan 18 eisers uitbetaal is wat destyds die eerste skadevergoedingseise teen die Seemeeuvlug-kompleks se versekeraar ingestel het. Die skikking volg nadat regter Nathan Erasmus verlede jaar persoonlik die perseel kom besoek het om hom regstreeks van die feite te vergewis en 'n einde te bring aan dié voortslepende hofsage. Die eisers het die saak met koste gewen en hoewel al 18 eisers vroeër vandeesmaand uitbetaal is, is daar gemengde gevoelens oor hulle noodgedwonge moes skik vir 75% van die oorspronklike eisbedrag.
Wonderwerke gebeur! Karin Prinsloo, Pieter Nel en sy vrou, Annetjie, is dankbaar en verheug oor die uitspraak. Pieter en Annetjie, wat destyds vanaf Bloemfontein hierheen sou verhuis om hul aftreejare langs die see te kom geniet, is ook destyds haweloos gelaat. Hulle glo ingryping van Bo en "toe-val-die-lig"-toevallighede het meegewerk dat hulle danksy Samaritane "bekostigbare" tydelike blyplek in Hartenbos kon bekom en saam met ses ander huiseienaars die regskoste vir die Zürich-saak kon help betaal. "Ons glo dié saak sal meehelp dat die klasaksie-saak wat seker nou al R220 miljoen beloop, ook spoedig afgehandel word", het hy gesê.
Die Zürich-skikking sluit nie die gesamentlike klasaksie-skadevergoedingseis van meer as R200 miljoen in wat 'n groep van 62 huiseienaars van die Seemeeupark-ontwikkeling vroeër teen die betrokke owerhede - die Mosselbaai Munisipaliteit, Wes-Kaapse Regering en die Nasionale Huisbouersregistrasieraad (NHMRC) - aanhangig gemaak het nie. Die dagvaardings is reeds in November 2018 op die drie respondente beteken, en die Mosselbaai munisipaliteit was die eerste wat feitlik dadelik laat blyk het dat hy die eis gaan verdedig.
Huiseienaars moes dadelik hul huise ontruim nadat dit in 2016 onbewoonbaar geraak het. Die feit dat hulle geweier het om dié huise te sloop voor die hofstryd afgehandel is, het waarskynlik meegehelp in hul sege teen die Switserse versekeringsreus Zürich nadat regter Nathan Erasmus persoonlik verlede jaar die perseel kom besoek het.
Die Seemeeupark-grondverskuiwingsramp is sedert 2016 in die nuus nadat huise in dié gesogte dorpsontwikkeling bestaande uit Seemeeuvlug, Rylaan 2 en Tuscan Village in 2015 begin kraak het kort nadat die eerste eienaars hul intrek geneem het. Die ontwikkeling is destyds goedgekeur en gebou op 'n ou uitgewerkte steengroef op die familieplaas Vyf Brakke Fonteinen wat aan die destydse burgemeester, André Nel, behoort het. Die eienaars, wat tot R4 miljoen per huis eis, asook verlies aan inkomste, beweer in hofstukke die Mosselbaaise munisipaliteit was grof nalatig toe hy in 1999 die behuisingsontwikkeling goedgekeur het ondanks waarskuwings dat die gewraakte stuk grond op 'n ou steengroef is en nie geskik is vir ontwikkeling nie.
Hartverskeurende verhale van pensioenarisse wat in September 2016 letterlik op straat gelaat is nadat die munisipaliteit uitsettingsbevele op hulle bedien en 'n week tyd gegee het om hul huise te ontruim, het destyds landwyd opslae gemaak. Sowat 30 gesinne is regstreeks geraak, onder wie meesal bejaardes wie se pensioengeld in dié aftreehuise belê is. Verskeie van hulle het weens die stres ernstige siektetoestande ontwikkel en moes boonop noodgedwonge hul siekefondse kanselleer of afskaal.
'n Paar van die 62 huiseienaars van die Seemeeupark-ontwikkeling wat in 2016 haweloos gelaat is en steeds angstig wag op terugvoering nadat hulle in Desember 2018 'n dagvaarding vir 'n skadevergoedingseis van R200 miljoen op die drie betrokke owerhede beteken het. Die respondente in dié klasaksie-saak is die Mosselbaai munisipaliteit, die Wes-Kaapse regering en die Nasionale Huisbouersregistrasieraad (NHBRC).
Die munisipaliteit het destyds beweer die ontwikkeling is op private grond gebou en dus nie sy verantwoordelikheid nie, hoewel hy wel die hersonering van die grond in 1999 goedgekeur het.
"Dit was 'n senutergende (reg)stryd wat net sewe van ons huiseienaars onder uiters moeilike omstandighede sedert 2016 moes veg om die regskostes aan te hou betaal terwyl ons nie eens meer 'n dak oor ons kop gehad het nie.
"Baie wonderwerke het egter in dié tyd gebeur en ons is baie dankbaar vir die uitkoms. Ons glo en vertrou regter Nathan Erasmus se bevinding sal ook meehelp om die voortslepende gesamentlike klasaksie-saak teen die betrokke owerhede te bespoedig", het Pieter Nel, een van die huiseienaars, vandeesweek gesê.
Dankie Vader! Gróót verligting en dankbaarheid . . . Karin Prinsloo en Annetjie en Pieter Nel is drie van die 18 Seemeeuvlug-huiseienaars wat vandeesmaand hul uitgerekte hofstryd teen die versekeringsreus Zürich met koste gewen het. Hulle vertrou die uitslag van dié hofsaak sal ook die uitgerekte klasaksie-saak teen die betrokke drie owerhede bespoedig.
Ook Petro Botes, woordvoerder van die Seemeeuvlug-huiseienaarsvereniging wat die Zürich-saak help dryf het, is hoopvol dat dié hofuitspraak druk op die respondente in die klasaksie-saak sal plaas om verdere regskoste te vermy. Die saak sloer al sedert 2018 en die regskoste hoop op.
Botes het net lof vir hul respan onder leiding van adv. Dirk Coetsee en prokureur Johan Cilliers van Cilliers & Associates wat die eisers se saak hanteer het.
Response to a personal attack aimed at Mosselbayontheline in the Mossel Bay Advertiser of 1 February 2019 which was not allowed . . .
Mosselbayontheline sent the underneath responses to a libellous letter for publication to the Mossel Bay Advertiser, but were told that it cannot/may not be published . . . ?
Mossel Bay Advertiser
I was shocked and disappointed to see how the Mossel Bay Advertiser allows a resident to openly launch a lengthy, personal and slanderous attack on someone without even contacting the person for comment?
I have also tried in vain to comment online on the Letters' commentary field . . . the reply either has been removed deliberately or it does not function properly? I trust you will allow me to fully respond to Deon van Zyl's prominent and libellous letter in last week's MBA? Ironically, Van Zyl makes himself guilty of exactly the flagrant lies, crimen injuria and distortion of facts of which he publicly accuses me?
Mosselbayontheline follows with interest the slanderous, derogatory 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 of Afro Fishing's directors and also asked me to remove AJ Louw's name from his reply after I had to research and name the directors myself, which he then basically was FORCED to CONFIRM . . .
The fact that Johannes Breed and AJ Louw are prominently mentioned in various international newspapers as recently as 2019 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 and was in public interest - why kill the messenger?
The #fishrot investigation is still very much ongoing, and in the latest development lawyers are also under scrutiny for their involvement in ALL the fishy deals involving fishing quotas in Namibia . . . ? The fact that the international #fishrot scandal coincided time-wise with the deadline for Afro Fishing's public participation process is/was entirely beyond our control - why the paranoia?
The fact that even a high court judge dismissed Afro Fishing's attempt to gag Mosselbayontheline from informing the public of what is truly going on in the national and international fishing industry says it all . . .
"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."
Even more disturbing: We also read with interest the same slanderous, derogatory and false accusations in Deon van Zyl's response to public comments in the official Comments & Responses Table of Cape EAprac which on Wednesday was submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) as part of the Final Basic Assessment Report (FBAR) for Afro Fishing's proposed fishmeal plant. In his response to the comments of Interested & Affected Parties, he called this same journalist a "local activist" who "linked him (Van Zyl) to gang wars in Manenberg" . . . ? Where THAT came from, only Van Zyl will know . . .
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). These libellous and disparaging responses and personal attacks from a "panel of experts" to members of the public's valid concerns in an official document are not only unprofessional and unacceptable but also raise serious questions and concern regarding the legality of the entire public participation and basic assessment process.
One cannot help wondering why Afro Fishing's directors/shareholders and financiers could not be made public from the beginning and why we are so targeted for informing the public of what is truly happening in the fishing industry and along Africa's coastline. Ironically, the latest scandal involving SA's fishery industry was exposed yesterday . . . Kill ALL the messengers?
Above letter was apparently refused due to its length and links to websites as proof
Mosselbayontheline follows with interest the slanderous, derogatory and false accusations made by Afro Fishing's MD Deon van Zyl in last week's Advertiser. We would like to remind him that we have the original emails in which he refused to name any of Afro Fishing's directors/shareholders (in both the oral & written interview) and also asked me to remove AJ Louw's name from "his" reply after I had to research and name the directors/affiliates myself, which he then basically was FORCED to CONFIRM in the final email . . .
The fact that Johannes Breed and AJ Louw are prominently mentioned in various international newspapers since 2017 until as recently as yesterday 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 and was in public interest - why kill the messenger? THREE of Seaflower's five directors have since been implicated in the #fishrot scandal and the investigation is still very much ongoing. Contrary to Van Zyl's statement, the investigation includes ALL fishy deals involving fishing quotas in Namibia to date . . . ?
The fact that the international #fishrot scandal coincided time-wise with the deadline for Afro Fishing's public participation process is/was entirely beyond our control - why the paranoia?
The fact that even a high court judge dismissed Afro Fishing's attempt to gag Mosselbayontheline from informing the public of what is truly going on in the national and international fishing industry says it all . . .
One cannot help wondering why Afro Fishing's directors/shareholders and financiers have never been made public from the beginning and why Mosselbayontheline is so targeted for informing the public of what is truly happening in the fishing industry along Africa's coastline. Ironically, the latest scandal involving one of Seaflower Pelagic's directors was exposed yesterday . . .
Kill ALL the messengers?
It IS in public interest to know:
Afro Fishing's MD, Deon 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 and business people 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.