The multi-disciplinary Operation Phakisa conducted over the Easter weekend from 6 to 10 April 2023 in Port Nolloth, Kleinsee, Groenrivier, Alexander Bay and Hondeklipbaai.
The focus areas addressed included illegal activities in relation to marine related crimes by monitoring and ensuring strict compliance of the prescribed fishing regulations.
During this period the public was authorized to engage in recreational fishing permitting them to possess and transport a prescribed amount of fishing resources that include mussels, limpets, oysters, a maximum of four West Coast rock lobster fish (crayfish) per permit was allowed.
Secondly, to prevent harvesting and poaching of marine resourcing, including tampering of important infrastructure which results in substantial economic losses and lastly to enforce the law on any other criminality happening during this period.
The multi-disciplinary operations were executed under the overall Command of Colonel Kholakele Sontsi, the Provincial Commander for Public Order Police (POP) and Tactical Response Team (TRT) Units, supported by Mr Thulani Mthombeni from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment as well as Mr Errol Swartbooi from the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform assisted by the Tactical Commander, Captain James Peters who actively participated in the planned actions.
Teams from different Departments and Entities, including Department of Water and Sanitation, SARS Customs Unit and SAN Parks executed the disruptive actions.
Actions and activities executed during the commencement of the operations included, compliance inspections, vehicle check points (VCP’s), stop and searches, foot patrols along the coastal areas and raids at identified houses for illegal drugs and other commodity smuggling.
Nine vehicle check points were conducted on the Port Nolloth / Alexander Bay road and the Port Nolloth / Kleinzee road during which 214 vehicles and 504 persons were stopped and searched.
A number of operational successes were achieved:
110 fishing permits were inspected at harbours, camping sites and launching pads visited by the multi-disciplinary law enforcement officials for which fines to the value of R18 000 were issued for the contravention of the Marine Living Resources Act as well as the National Environmental Management Act.
A number of road traffic offences fines to the value of R5 300 were also issued.
The multi-disciplinary team also searched and seized dagga and Tik to the value of R4 808 and R1 020 cash that is believed to be the proceeds of crime. Three suspects were arrested for dealing in drugs and will appear in the Kleinsee and Port Nolloth Magistrates’ Courts soon.
Mullet and West Coast rock lobster fish to the value of R2 500 were also seized.
The Provincial Commander of POP and TRT Units, Colonel Kholakele Sontsi thanked all members and stakeholders involved in the protection of the marine resources and environment. He expressed his appreciation to the public (tourists and or campers) who fully co-operated with the inspecting law enforcement officials.
He also warned those intending to break the law, to desist from tampering with essential infrastructure as signage and notice boards erected at the coastal sites were removed or vandalised.
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