Fishers in the Northern Cape and Western Cape have been allowed to travel within and across the province to catch snoek, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy announced on Friday.
"At all times, fishing teams must adhere to the prescribed hygiene provisions such as sanitising of hands, sanitising the inside of vehicles and equipment and restrictions on the number of passengers in vehicles must be observed at all times," Creecy said during an Economic Cluster media briefing on the revised 21-day lockdown regulations.
However, in compliance with the existing regulations, Creecy said that accommodation will not be opened in fishing villages, meaning fisherman must only concentrate on fishing in areas where they can move in and out within a single day.
"We understand that this may not be convenient but we are trying to ensure that the snoek run, which is very important for household security in the Western and Northern Cape, people are able to benefit from it, while at the same time observing the regulations.
"Fishers must at all time carry their exemption notices and permits, issued to small scale and interim fishers, and fishers may not interact with local communities and may only operate within the harbours which are close to all members of the public," Creecy explained.
Forestry sector continues to play significant role
On the forestry sector, the Minister said the department's work in the sector continues to play a significant role in addressing basic needs during the lockdown period. This includes the production of essential goods like pulp for toilet paper and personal hygiene products, as well as the production of pallets for material linked to packaging in the fruit and pharmaceutical industries.
To ensure that fires do not destroy forest and vegetation, and don't threaten livelihoods, especially in rural areas, the department's working on fire ground and aerial teams remain active for the rest of the summer season in the Western and Eastern Cape.
"The teams that operate in the Northern Region where we have winter fire season, are stationed at home and they remain on standby for the beginning of the fire season in the Northern Provinces" Creecy said.
Marion 2020 Relief Voyage
On the arrangements pertaining to the forthcoming Marion alert 2020 relief voyage, which will now depart in the last week of April 2020, Creecy said that as a result of the lockdown, the department with key partners and special advisors, have decided that the voyage will proceed, but with significant reduced vessel crew and expedition component.
The expedition will include an essential support team for logistics and maintenance. There will also be no field science activities during the relief.
"The department is facilitating quarantine and testing of all voyage participants, and this will include personnel from the Departments of Public Works, Infrastructure, The South African Weather Services and the South African National Space Agency, as well as our helicopter crews.
"This decision was not taken likely and should not be construed as a lack of priority assigned to scientific activities. However, we do believe that it is essential to return the existing expedition form Mariel Ireland as soon as possible and put in place a team that will look after the base, until such time as we are able to return to full science activity on the Ireland," Creecy said.
She added that parties who will be participating in the voyage will be contacted directly, or through their respective focal point.
Relief for waste pickers
Regarding the collection of recyclables, which was excluded in the essential service list, Creecy said that waste pickers cannot continue to work during lockdown.
She said that following consultations with two main waste picker associations, the department has submitted a proposal for relief to the national Solidarity Fund.
To alleviate hunger, the department has approached Consumer Goods Council and its members who are in a process of discussing an intervention that will see the provision of food parcels with immediate effect to waste pickers.