Eba Kandovazu & Zorena Jantze
Seaflower Pelagic Processing’s this morning suffered a heavy legal blow after the High Court rejected its application to stop the fisheries minister from auctioning off 24 333.34 tons of its total allowable catch that the company is claiming rightfully belongs to it as stated in an agreement with Fishcor.
Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula today dismissed the application with costs. Seaflower Pelagic’s argument was centred on the premise that Fishcor would, on a yearly basis avail a 50 000 ton horse mackerel quota per year for 15 years, from 2018. The company was alleging that 24 333.33 tons are still outstanding for the 2020 fishing season.
“The 2020 fishing season has not been concluded and although Fishcor has applied for its full quota of 50 000 tonnes pursuant to its right it would seem that the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources does not intend to meet the obligations under the cooperation agreement by awarding the outstanding 24 334 tonnes of quota to SPP through Fishcor,” Seaflower’s Board Chairperson Adriaan Louw said in an affidavit.
Government through Fishcor owns 40 percent shares in the fishing company. The respondents in the matter are Fisheries minister Albert Kawana, Fishcor, Finance minister and public enterprise minister.
“Clearly, since 2018, SPP has not enjoyed the 50 000 MT quota that it wishes to obtain through this urgent application. The applicant has been aware of this and has not approached a competent court of law to deal with this issue. The applicant had an agreement with the second respondent. The applicant has not pursued the second respondent in a competent court of law or tribunal to resolve the long-standing issue of its inability to access the 50 000 MT which the second respondent promised it,” Kawana argued.
According to the minister, in 2019, SPP did not utilise the 50 000 MT horse mackerel quota.