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.
Mosselbayontheline also exposed the irregularities in the environmental assessment and public participation process:
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.