Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has further extended the period for appeals of the 2021 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP2021) by an additional 60 days.
The process, which commenced on 29 March 2022, will now lapse on 29 July 2022.
According to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, a number of applicants, who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the FRAP 2021, have submitted formal requests for access to information relating to FRAP 2021.
The request was submitted in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, Act No 2 of 2000 (PAIA), on the basis that the information requested is necessary to enable them to finalise their appeals against the FRAP 2021.
"Considering that the information requested is personal and commercial information of other applicants, the department made only certain FRAP 2021 information available in a redacted form.
"This was to ensure that the personal and commercially sensitive information of the affected applicants was not released in a manner that would contravene the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act, Act 3 of 2013 (POPIA) and PAIA.
"However, potential appellants have indicated that they are dissatisfied with the release of information in a redacted format and that they seek access to all information relating to FRAP 2021," the department said on Friday.
The department has thus sought legal advice on the issue and were advised that before the release of personal and commercially sensitive information, the affected applicants must be notified of the release of their information and be given an opportunity to respond thereto.
"Moreover, the department has received requests for additional time from various appellants to enable them to submit their appeals.
"The Minister has accordingly decided to extend the FRAP 2021 appeal period by a further 60 days to allow for the finalisation of the process to obtain consent from the affected applicants to release their personal and commercial information, in compliance with the requirements of PAIA and POPIA, and to give appellants sufficient time to finalise their appeals," the separtment said.
Appellants are encouraged to lodge a formal appeal online on the prescribed Appeals Form through the FRAP 2021 website https://www.frap2021.co.za/.
"According to The General Policy on the Allocation of Commercial Fishing Rights 2021 and the fisheries sector specific policies, any applicant, interested or affected person may appeal to the Minister against the decisions of the Delegated Authority in any respective fishing sector.
"The appeal may be lodged against an exclusion, a refusal to grant a right or against the decision, process, and/or methodology on quantum or effort.
"The Minister, as the appeal authority, will consider the facts and supporting documents as presented by the appellant, as they were at the closing date for applications and will not consider facts that came into existence thereafter," the department said.
If applicants experience any challenges in accessing the online system and their outcomes, assistance can be requested by telephone: 021 402 3727 or email to: FRAPenq2020@dffe.gov.za.
Applicants who require IT support must contact 010 500 2323 / 0800 0145304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.