KARIBA– Minister of Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Management Prisca Mupfumira has threatened to revoke kapenta permits used by ‘middle-men’ leasing them out monthly.
Mupfumira was officiating the handover of 16 houses and two cars donated to Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management (ZNPWM) workers by crocodile farming company Padenga Holdings at the weekend near Nyanyana campsite.
She diverted from prepared speech to warn unscrupulous fishermen in the resort town over deep rooted scandal affecting fishing industry in the resort town.
“I want to warn those who took permits and are abusing them through renting them out. Karibians must benefit from natural resources including kapenta fishing here but we have criminal elements who get these permits. They are leasing them out to some people in Harare and elsewhere. We know they are getting as little as $500 monthly as permit rentals and are not into fishing business.
“This is unacceptable. Government will revoke these licenses and issue them to them to others who want to make a living out of kapenta fishing. I am saying it now, we will revoke these permits and give them to women and youths to benefit, creating employment for the town and nation at large,”she said.
The permits are issued under Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) which falls under her ministry.
The department is the regulating authority and is mandated to monitor fishery industry including issuing of permits.
A few years ago, government authorities moved in to repossess permits with outstanding fees but some influential people among ‘politically’ connected have benefited.
Sources in fishing industry said permits had created a cold war in fishing industry of late.
“Our main challenges of these permits that saw some regular holders getting favours to get permits that they lease out,” said a source.
Zimparks director-general Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya weighed in saying it is ‘unlawful’ for someone to sublease fishing permits.
We will cancel permits- DG
“Let me assure you Hon Minister that we will not let you down on this as permits saga. We are going to cancel these permits and give to those who have capacity to run effectively. These must be benefiting Kariba communities through sustainable development for our communities. Zimparks has the mandate to protect wildlife,”he said.
Mangwanya called on women to be pro-active in fishing industry so that they are empowered.
‘‘Women must benefit from water and everything from there. We call upon women to participate in fishing industry in getting permits to start off business ventures,”he said
He, however, called other stakeholders to work closely with Zimparks for mutual partnership in safeguarding animals.
“We call other stakeholders to help us respect animal rights,” he added.
There are 160 permits accounting to 385 units or boats (rigs) for kapenta fishery issued by ZPWMA in Kariba dam while their Zambia counterparts account for at least 750 units.
Kariba Cooperatives Union chairman, Joshua Zvanyanya, admitted that their membership is affected due to kapenta fishing permits.
“The difficult financial situation in the country is affecting most cooperatives in the fishing industry. Some folded since we do not have sound funding,” said Zvanyanya.
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Rodgers Kudawafewa Madyara who is Kariba Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general recently said all is not well in the kapenta industry.
‘We no longer have viable membership in Chalala, Chawara, Binga as there are no longer official fishermen operating there. Permits are in black market and makorokoza are in control. These are getting permits that they lease out,’ he said.
Madyara added that the fishing industry hinges hope on command fishing introduced by the Government.
“We need more engagement by all sectors including labour movements, Government to monitor permits issuing out so that workers are not deprived of the natural resource,”he said.
Kariba fishermen who are leasing permits indicate high costs in workers renumerations, and other overhead costs.
“You must have a sound financial background to be a fisherman but some of us navigate in getting permits that we lease out and assured of monthly fees for survival,” added our sources who cannot be identified for professional reasons.