The fishermen of Lambert’s Bay in the Western Cape are looking forward to smooth sailing and better catches after they were given 16 boats by the Department of Trade Industry (dti).
The new boats are not only a boost for their businesses but could potentially be life saving, considering the state of the boats they relied on in the past.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies handed over the boats to a local fishing cooperative recently.
Nico Waldech, a member of the cooperative, said it was a remarkable day in the lives of fishermen and others along the West Coast.
“This is not only empowerment but a healing process for all of us. This says we as fishermen can continue with our livelihood and that government is putting measures in place to correct the past and put people first,” Waldech added.
Before government’s intervention, the community of Lambert's Bay was using unsafe fishing boats and equipment.
“We welcome this initiative from government and will make the best of this opportunity handed to us to improve the working conditions of our fishermen and women,” said Executive Mayor of Cederberg Local Municipality Jonas White.
And it is not only the Lambert’s Bay fishing community that can look forward to a helping hand from government.
Minister Davies told the community that government would step up efforts to support cooperatives.
So far dti has spent R11 million on cooperatives through its Cooperative Incentive Scheme. The scheme makes cooperatives more competitive by lowering their cost of doing business through an incentive that supports Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.
“Government has identified cooperatives as a drive for job creation and it has shown that more than 650 jobs will be created from the fishing cluster initiative. With more activities around the fishing community, 2000 jobs can emanate from this drive,” said Minister Davies.
He encouraged cooperatives to form clusters and make themselves more effective in their sectors.
“Fishing is not an easy job but it can improve the lives of many people and give more opportunities that can lead to other projects taking place in the area,” added Minister Davies.