‘Additional Seaflower quota only for one month’

By Hilary Mare

GENERAL Manager of the partially government owned Seaflower Pelagic Processing Walvis Bay, Adolf Burger has revealed that the additional quota of 4 000 metric tonnes will only keep doors open for one month and will not save the 1 100 jobs that remain on the line.

Burger’s sentiment come after Erongo governor Neville Andre last week announced that government awarded Seaflower Pelagic Processing a quota for the current fishing season after the company retrenched up to 600 employees last month after failing to get its guaranteed 50 000mt quota.

This additional quota was to help save these jobs.

“We are still owed approximately 25 000mt which represent 50 percent of our quota. Unfortunately it (quota) is only enough for approximately one month for the 650 workers. Our entire business model was developed in line with Government Gazette no: 6307 where SPP needs a quota of 50 000 tons to be viable. It is really our dream to have a full and permanent workforce and we are committed to that,” Burger told Confidente.

Seaflower Pelagic Processing is a partnership between the state-owned fishing company Fishcor and African Selection Fishing which was established with a guaranteed 50 000mt of the pelagic fish species for 15 years by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in a notice published in the Government Gazette of May 15 2017.

“We have only quota for one month and running out of time to process balance of fish due to us and therefore we cannot permanently employ our workers as envisaged. Receiving only 50 percent of our quota means we have suffered severe financial losses due to government not honouring our quota agreement, plus adding to the start-up losses for 2019,” Burger reiterated adding that the company has started with Covid-19 measures with the crew and hopes to start fishing within the next two weeks.

“We unfortunately lost fishing during the best months,” he extended.

Confidente understands that the company has put on halt the drive to recruit 450 employees for the cannery department.

Andre said the company was instructed to start with operations with immediate effect.

The existing onshore pelagic processing factory which is over 14 000 sqm is an under-roof facility to the value of approximately N$470 million.

The capital injection of the project included N$160 million from Fishcor that was used to purchase the land where the factory is built and N$560 million from African Selection Fishing (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd  which was used on the factory (N$260 million) and vessels (N$250 million). The equity ratios were 40 percent for Fishcor and 60 percent for African Selection Fishing (Namibia).

African Selection Namibia was initially majority-owned by Adriaan Jacobus Louw, with a 62 percent stake. Other shareholders were Maren De Klerk’s Celax Investments Number One (33 percent) and Angolan-based African Selection Trust (five percent).

De Klerk who was wanted by the Anti-Corruption Commission for his links to N$90 million paid out in dubious transactions from Fishcor, resigned as a director of Seaflower and African Selection Fishing in January.

Africa Selection Trust operates as a discretionary trust, meaning the beneficiaries are unknown.