THE Buffalo City Association of Saltwater Anglers (BCASA) mission to re-open the break wall and harbour is still ongoing after meeting at they met at the Orient Theatre this week to discuss a way forward.
BCASA’s deputy chair, Chris Greyvenstein, said Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) claimed they could not open up the break wall for “safety reasons”.
“We’ve been fishing in the area for years and we believe that we have the right to use the port like other users. We’re also very much aware of the rules and don’t intend to break them,” said Greyvenstein.
The BCASA also allege that they were being discriminated against by TNPA. They believe that they should not be treated any differently to other port users. Fisherman, Jaydhi Kotia is happy that the pier is open and they can fish in a safe environment with their kids.
“The pier closed as far back as 2004 and we had to find alternative spots which were not safe. I have been attacked on several occasions whilst fishing outside the area,” said Kotia. BCASA vowed that they would not stop until their voice was heard by the authorities.
“Our patience is up, we will picket and toyi-toyi to get our point across for them to see that we are serious,” said Greyvenstein.
EDIT: TNPA has since released a response to the allegations of the BCASA.
According to TNPA, the closing of all ports under its authority to fishermen was part of a preventative safety measure undertaken in 2004.
“Unfortunately, making our port as secure as possible has meant that we cannot allow unlimited or unrestricted access to potentially sensitive areas in the port precinct. This has impacted on a number of port users, not least of is which the fishing community, which previously enjoyed virtually unlimited access to port facilities.”
TNPA also stated that it was unlikely that the port would open up in the near future. “TNPA has evaluated the security risks carefully, and we have determined that we cannot, at this stage, allow fishing at any other areas in the port without compromising overall port users and customer safety and security.”