Rudy Quanson, chairperson of the Hangberg York Point Cooperative of the Small-Scale Fishers, Hangberg
The board of directors and I are very busy and have had several meetings. We are all new faces and we need to establish a concrete relationship with each other and need to know exactly what our roles are so that we can serve the members to the best of our ability.
I am sure that many of our members are a little concerned about why we were so quiet, but we are a big group of almost 300 members, and the only place we can accommodate the entire cooperative is the Hangberg Sports and Recreation Centre, which must be booked a few weeks in advance. At the moment, we have no funding so it is difficult to book private conference centres.
The board and I have decided to approach business and other institutions for a venue. We have received a lot of positive feedback and the negotiations have been successful.
We can’t fit all our members into the available venues, but if members agree, we can divide them into smaller groups.
We decided to name the groups according to the different sectors, but that doesn’t mean we are breaking up the cooperative. The goal is to speed up communication, and we will still book the main hall to hold general meetings, where all members will be invited to attend.
We are working on a WhatsApp group, and we hope to publicise any important information in the Sentinel newspaper for those who don’t have WhatsApp or phones.
I ask that you be patient as we work on these issues as fast as we can.
The next phase of the process is registration of the cooperative that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) is now engaged in. Once completed they will get back to us for a general meeting with all the co-operative members to discuss the way forward.
In the meantime, we can have a conversation about our constitution, regulations, code of conduct and the basket of species to prepare ourselves for the next phase of the process.
We are proud to report that through intense negotiations and multi-departmental cooperation, we have secured space at the port designated for the cooperative.
If any member has any requests or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org or the secretary, Warren Abrahams, at email@example.com.