Another year has passed so quickly and it is once again my privilege to report to FOSAF's members, leadership, partners and stakeholders on our various activities, challenges and achievements during the last year. Once again we will follow the strategic framework format.

The State:
As was reported last year despite our good faith efforts to engage with the DEA it unilaterally reneged on the Phakisa agreement. Not only did this make a mockery of all our mapping and other engagements at both provincial and national levels, but it meant that the funds we had raised to do this were largely spent on an outcome, which now appears clear that DEA (and its partners) never intended honouring. What was not a waste of money or time was the development of a useful mapping tool that has provided us with our own reliable data against which to assess and compare the maps being produced by SANBI and other entities in this on-going debacle based on purist thinking and sadly lacking any iota of practical applicability.

Thus as a last resort after years of attempts to negotiate a lawful, workable and sustainable basis for regulating South Africa's trout fishery were rejected by DEA, FOSAF has served papers to interdict the Minister of Environmental Affairs. We are indebted to our legal team who are acting pro amico. At this stage we have filed and served our replying affidavit and all that remains is for the parties to file heads of argument so the case can be set down for argument, hopefully before year end.

In a nutshell FOSAF is seeking to set aside the draft NEMBA AIS Lists and Notices published by the Minister in February 2018 (and the various correction notices published subsequently), because they do not comply with the requirements laid down in section 100 of NEMBA.

These Notices are defective because the Minister failed to properly advertise them, failed to allow the prescribed time and most importantly, failed to provide "sufficient information to enable members of the public to submit meaningful representations or objections." This failure to provide basic information in relation to the extent, nature of and reasons for the proposed changes, undermines the Constitutional right to informed consultation and participation in law making that underpins the right to dignity and which promotes good law making and effective and accountable government.

Another area that sees FOSAF opposing the State involves the Aquaculture Development Bill tabled in Parliament last year. FOSAF as a member of Trout SA and through it Aquaculture SA, are opposing this Bill which contrary to its title will not enable the development of the sector because it duplicates a range of controls and permits that over- complicate what should be a simple and practical framework for farming aquatic species. We have registered as I&APs with parliament. Aqua SA has commissioned an economic study on the impacts of the Bill and in addition is facilitating a legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of some parts of the Bill. It is the sector's view that Aquaculture is and must remain part of Agriculture. A few minor amendments to existing agricultural legislation will ensure there are adequate controls and management provisions to cover aquaculture. This is a much more workable and cost-effective alternative to what the Bill proposes.

I must offer a huge thank you to all those people and organisations who have kindly invested thousands of hours and donations to support the trout value chain. We will continue to keep you informed about our progress in this important campaign.

In the past year FOSAF has upped its profile considerably. Notwithstanding this many people claim to know little or nothing about FOSAF and what it is we do. I find this so difficult to understand.

Peter Arderne, Andrew Vester (our webmaster) and the great team of countrywide reporters ensure that FOSAF continues to maintain a visible presence on the internet and social media. Peter remains a steadfast slave driver of this merry bunch of flyanglers and we are grateful to him and them for maintaining our profile. The Fly of the month feature continues to be well supported. May I remind you that we urgently need a group of people to take on Peter's role. I can't stress enough the important responsibility Peter with Vicky's support has selflessly performed for FOSAF.

I am grateful to the many flyfishers out there who have without much fanfare, knuckled down, got stuck in and have helped with a range of community based issues like the sewerage issues in the Vaal and Crocodile catchments, the litter clean ups and river health education and fishing programs for young people, various research initiatives, community based flyfishing ventures, and riparian zone clean up initiatives.

Chris William's who works on behalf of FOSAF and the YWG, together with a range of allies, keeps us updated on an almost weekly basis. One of the tragedies of our society is that many people do not realise that it is the citizenry that own South Africa's infrastructure. Unless we all buy-in to the efforts to ensure these communal assets are maintained and kept in working order, none of us will be able to realise the right enshrined in Section 24 a) of the Constitution which reads: "Everyone has the right- to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being;" But for the SANDF's involvement repairing and safeguarding vital infrastructure the situation would be a lot worse.

Last year I spoke about Andrew Fowler's work on riparian zone vegetation removal. That work has continued and in addition the NFFC have revived the work started by the Bushman's River Fishing Club by working with the amaHlubi Community to provide excellent fishing for its members and the public. A steady income for the community will see this project achieving useful results.

These are just two examples of sterling work being done by flyfishers across the country. They deserve our support and congratulations. It is this kind of example that promotes the flyfishing ethos and spirit FOSAF seeks to engender in the youth and other newcomers to our sport.

FOSAF continues to be an active member of Trout SA. We participate in a useful think tank that draws a range of resource based entities all of who find themselves at the sharp end of national policies aimed at control and co-option rather than building a vibrant economy that all South Africans can become part of. Our participation allows for access to national commodity based and business formations like AGRI SA and BUSA. Building on the links built last year we are able to box way above our weight. In addition it has been heartening to find support for our policy based approach which eschews unethical deal making. This has meant that regardless of the issue or the forum we find ourselves in, our thinking is appreciated and has often been endorsed by many stakeholders we come into contact with. This had proved to be a valuable approach which I believe will serve us well in the future.

Much concern was expressed at Flyfishing magazine's shift to e-publishing. In fact this signalled that all was not well with the publication. We repeat our gratitude to Erwin Bursik and Sheena Carnie for their coverage and on-going support of FOSAF activities. Resurrected as the Southern African Fly Fishing Magazine by Ian Cox, Andrew Mather and Andrew Savides, the publication continues to grow from strength to strength and still provides FOSAF with a useful platform. The Mission is another excellent publication that has also offered us support. The many flyfishing talk/chat groups and forums have also been valuable. Finally the Tippet remains an important and respected mouthpiece for FOSAF. Our sincere appreciation must go to Stuart and Liz Tough who have been responsible this publication since its inception. You will no doubt agree with me that they have done a sterling job in doing so.

FOSAF continues to network and engage with many other angling bodies including the competitive fly anglers SAFFA. The positive energy that abides between our organisations and the mutual support and respect is much appreciated.

I indicated last year that I would be attending the SACRAA Bosberaad in May 2018. This was a useful opportunity to share views and perspectives. I believed FOSAF's presence and contribution was appreciated. Although we do not always see things eye to eye, the mutual respect and shared interests mean that we must continue to work together in the best interests of flyfishing.

It is with sense of regret that I announce the news that Liz and Stuart Tough have resigned as the FOSAF Secretariat. They have been the backbone of FOSAF for the last 23 years since taking over the administration of FOSAF from Jim and Pam Read. They were responsible for FOSAF membership issues including renewals and communication with new members, liaison with the magazine and lucky draw prizes as well as producing the Tippet, financial management and payments. They also demonstrated excellent organising skills in looking after the logistics and communication for AGMs and the EXCO meetings and communication between EXCO members. This was indeed not an easy job, as they have had to deal with individual members scattered across the country as well as Chapter Committees situated in each region.

We have all developed close relationships with these stalwarts of flyfishing over the years and we are indeed going to miss their efficiency and commitment. We would like to thank Stuart and Liz sincerely for having looked after the FOSAF administration so well for such an extended period. It is my privilege to express our very great appreciation and admiration on behalf of all of us at FOSAF as well as other members of the flyfishing community for all they have done over the years. We wish them well and everything of the best in this next chapter of their lives.

We have had a number of Telkom conference calls this year. This remains an effective and relatively inexpensive way of communicating. Emails have also been a useful way of staying in touch. I also regularly telephone chapter Chairperson's and other EXCO members to ensure we all stay in touch and up to date with current matters of interest and concern.

Once again I also wish to thank our President Andrew Levy and Vice-presidents Tom Sutcliffe and Bill Mincher for their wise counsel and inputs from time to time.

Chapter Chairperson's will provide reports and any key matters arising will be discussed at the EXCO. Accordingly, I will not dwell on these given time and space constraints. It remains for me to thank the Chapter Committees under the able leadership of Brian Clark (and Reg Morgan), Jim Read (and Tom Bloy), Leonard Flemming (and now Tudor Caradoc-Davies) and Chris Williams respectively. It important to note that our Chapters have remained healthy with some growth evident and hopefully this will continue in the year ahead.

Dr Bill Bainbridge has ably led this committee for many years. He has indicated a need to start taking things a little easier and this is why Andrew Mather has agreed to step up to the plate to provide some support. As I said last year we owe Bill a huge debt of gratitude for his foresight for the need for a principled and policy based approach that has resulted in the kind of steadfast manner we have resisted making easy deals that could often result in problematic outcomes. It is Bill's leadership that guided FOSAF to be a pioneer in developing a more pragmatic and progressive approach to biodiversity management and conservation.

Sadly, the efforts at developing a much more nuanced and at times targeted approach to marketing FOSAF did not achieve the outcomes we had hoped for. I am hoping that in the year ahead a new bunch of FOSAF people can pick up this task and work at revising some of the messages we need to get out there so that these can be used to attract better support for FOSAF. We will need to consider how we promote and expand these endeavours going forward.

This year's AGM and EXCO signal the further culmination of my long held wish to see FOSAF as a national body that functions nationally. This year we are in the splendour of the Mpumalanga Trout Triangle and we trust that this trend will continue. It is important to bring FOSAF closer to our members and regions and new people there. Hopefully we will also get to wet a line in these places by doing this as well!

Our sincere and heartfelt thanks must go to Peter and Vicky Arderne, Chris Williams and their team for the generosity and hospitality. Our special thanks also go to the Dullstroom Inn and the Middlepunt Farm for hosting us.

Thanks are also due to:

  • Our Auditors Prof Swanepoel of A.P. Swanepoel and Co must be thanked for efficiently doing the necessary in a very short space of time and producing readable AFS;
  • and the rest of the EXCO for their on-going support and commitment.
Flyfishing continues to be in a good place in Southern Africa. Thanks for all your support!
Ilan Lax
FOSAF Chairperson
April 2019

The winner of the Member's Draw in February 2019 was Neil Scott of Shelley Beach whose prize is self-catering accommodation at Riverside Lodge in the Kamberg.


The winner of the May 2019 Member's Draw is Peter Avery of Pietermaritzburg whose prize is a R750,00 voucher to be used at Kingfisher Pietermaritzburg for SNOWBEE branded tackle and goods



A personal perspective of a small-scale trout farmer.
© wolf avni 2019.


Hi Doc.

Do you remember the global applause with which the South African constitution was met when first proclaimed? We looked upon the norms it spoke to as aspirational, worthy of every patriots' support.

Uplifted in hope indeed we celebrated that the worst of the nightmare brought by a half-century of National-Socialist dictatorship ~ where a government could subvert an entire national Fiscus to narrow ideological ends ~ was over. It purported to entrench principles by which we hoped our broken society might start to mend, to transform from one of tyranny into a brave and open democracy.

Democracy.... what a grand ideal!

Well, in the spirit of what had gone before, many of us felt the same when NEMBA was first formulated and then promulgated. That was two decades ago and I, trusting, ... a little confused perhaps, but never doubting the good faith or intent of government.

Somewhere along this tortuous road it began to dawn upon me that none of this was actually about trout at all, or indeed about the gap between legal, biological, or political definitions of invasive-ness. The trout were actually incidental. It had nothing to do with the health or sanctity of our rivers. It had very little to do with any part of ecology, the natural environment, or bio-diversity. It certainly, still now, has nothing to do with the most basic fundamentals of community-upliftment, of civic empowerment, or of stewardship of natural resources in the interest of a sounder, healthy world for future generations.

Remember the first round, Doc, when your hand-picked DEA- appointed get-trout- team was led by the cream of South African ichthyologists? Well somehow, painstakingly addressing every jurisprudic and environmental issue, we eventually reached accommodation with your handpicked biologists. That successful outcome between DEA appointed consultants and civic society didn't suit your puppeteers at all ... and so DEA simply buried the entire process of agreed outcomes (as if it had never happened) ... and started all over again.

We arrived at a point of consensual compromise for a second time. For a second time DEA buried the outcome and re-issued the original draft legislation, as if for a first time. There was simply no mention of the prolonged and exhaustive agreements, which had been painstakingly reached over about six years of intensive engagement with the scientists appointed by DEA.

Anyway, you dumped Skelton & Co (or perhaps, beginning to comprehend that your agenda was not justified by any real science, they dumped you?) and for a third iteration, SANBI were appointed steering consultants (Poor old Ernst ... little did he know what he was in for). By now some were beginning to intuit that to you it was just a game of strategy and that DEA itself was proving bereft of any good faith, that each tranche of consultant / negotiators were merely there for the facade their professional standing lent ... a mask behind which malevolence might grow, undetected.

So there we were. DEA had a three billion Rand per year budget and rather than address issues like the collapse of sewerage management across urban South Africa, you could better spend it in playing Stalingrad with civic society. The trout again were purely incidental, almost an accident of convenience. Yet again we (civic society) engaged in good faith ... even though once again DEA simply shifted the goalposts. The narrative this time was that the only real disagreement between DEA and us, was in mapping. But you're good, so good that you even got us to do the foundational mapping work for you, as DEA had neither the capacity nor the budget (where does that three billion Rand go?) I digress.

The endgame was always to bring all natural resource and economic activity under control of central government. There, we have seen how the inner cabal exerts absolute power just as we have seen how absolute power equates to absolute corruption.

So here we are post Zupta-gate, post Denel-gate, post Dairy-gate, Eskom-gate, Pension-gate, Telkom-gate, Vaal River Sewer-gate, Bosasa-gate and every other dysfunctional debacle and act of subverted governance which daily bleeds our gross national wealth away. All of it made possible by a government of civil servants whose default mode is complete disregard of every requirement of that much lauded constitution, it mocks even a pretence of any check-and-balance of due process. But you know that. It's one of the reasons apparatchiks occupy the positions they do; their willingness to serve narrow ideologies of political masters, whatever the price society must pay. And I don't just mean a deputy-director's million-plus rand salary per year never mind the perks.... do I? I mean the cost of dissolution, the destruction of national wealth by crippling and subverting all the little engines which drive it. A dep-director's comfy salary and secure pension are mere trifles by the standards of the kleptocracy it serves.

But still, a great play Doc. In pursuit of broader goals on a wider landscape, the politics of INVASION BIOLOGY could be exploited to create an environment in which the State might exercise absolute control over every natural resource and over every commercial activity associated with it. If only it could get a toe in. The ideology of invasion biology would be your strongest card. Well played Doc. A Pokemon card with phantasmagoric power, first to seduce, then to blind and finally, to plunder.

Between the three and the here we have come to understand how little allegiance DEA too, has to that first law of the land, the constitution. That much has become clear. Indeed. Under a brave helmsman-ship of technocrats in service of Kleptocracy, we have watched, year by year, as one by one organs of state disintegrate in the hands of those who have no allegiance to rule by law, except in lip service. And so DEA has turned from what it once was into just another agent for State Capture. Must say, ... impressively clever the way you played it from behind a facade of pseudo-science. It imbued a certain pseudo-credibility to the decades long game plan. It gave you a narrative to feed the public, while masking its true intent ~ the spread of State Capture. But I think the game is about up.


I wrote the piece below about six or seven years ago and not much has changed in the interim. There have been further irregular iterations of the same old same-old issuing from the opaque chambers of DEA. There was also the document of agreements hammered out at the Phakisa engagements, every one of which DEA has reneged on.

In the meantime, the industry continues to languish and erode under a DEA regimen of uncertainty and dubious legality. As to how it ends? History is its own judge.

NEMBA (National Environmental Mismanagement: Biodiversity Act)
When any part of civil society is inexplicably shorn of an inalienable right you can be sure of two things: that 'government' is exercising power in a way that is neither 'good', nor 'proper'. Good governance is one of those things you just can't fake, and without it there simply is no possibility for a functional and prosperous society which is progressive and productive.

When civic and commercial life is destabilised by government declamation, when officials and their policies ooze a pungence of ideologically driven agenda bereft of proper process, when good-faith consultation with legitimate stakeholders is lacking, or undertaken only for the most superficial and insincere appearance of it, when ordinary law abiding citizens are rendered outlaw by whim of the stoke of a self-inflated administrative pen, when the fabric of commercial life begins to unravel not because of any inherent dysfunction in itself, but rather through the meddlesome social experimentation of party politics intoxicated with their own self-esteem .... then you must know that something is rotting at the core in the State of Denmark. Nkosi Sikelele Africa!!

The really scary thing is that interested and affected parties have been engaging with DEA since long before NEMBA was first gazetted (2002?).

That was about 10 years ago now. In the interim we have been through three distinct iterations of the NEMBA regulatory drafts and at each stage we alerted the DEA officials steering the process to the legal and practical flaws inherent to their preferred approach.

When we pointed out that NEMBA made no allowance for nuance-d interpretation of the AIS lists they told us we were stupid, and didn't understand these things. When we pointed out that trout are absolutely restricted to specific zones and after much screaming and shouting managed to convince the tenants in the SANBI ivory tower that a zonal approach was appropriate to their management, and that the only thing preventing it was bureaucratic myopia we were told not to interfere in things we don't properly comprehend. The list goes on and on.

Yet lo and behold, with NEMBA regs barely gazetted and not yet out of the paddock, already amendments are being cobbled together and rushed through in attempts to patch the leaks and administrative nightmares institutionalised in the regulations that are the hull of the good ship NEMBA.

So where are we?

  1. NEMBA regulatory structure have been gazetted ... but will only come into effect at some future date.
  2. The AIS list have been published with immediate effect.
  3. So species on the AIS lists fall under immediate and effective controls, which can only be moderated or managed in terms of permits which cannot be issued (in terms of the regulations which are on 'hold').
  4. Dr Guy Preston, Dep. Director of DEA, tells us to stick with the status quo, that not to worry, no-one will be prosecuted and/or persecuted.
    He says:
    1. "The Regulations, upon which the implementation of permit provisions are dependent, will only come into force when the Minister signs the Notice to that effect. Although a date has not been formally agreed upon, the expectation is that this will only be at the beginning of the new Financial Year (1 April 2014.)
    2. As the Regulations are not yet in force, it follows that there are no requirements for permits in terms of these Regulations, and that the existing controls continue to be in force."
But that is not what has been gazetted. On behalf of an entire industry I humbly ask Dr Guy Preston to share with us the basis of his authority to declare this moratorium under which we may disregard the law which he has been so instrumental in creating?


And so the curtain drops .... and rises on the present. The stage is set. Where are we .... let's see?

Trout have been gazetted.

  1. You reneged on the agreements reached in the first round of engagement between DEA and civil society through interested and affected parties.
  2. You reneged on the agreements reached in the second round.
  3. Your reneged on agreements reached in the third round.
  4. You reneged on agreements DEA was party to at the Phakisa engagements.
And in the final act it all becomes clear. Trout SA, the Constitution and others V DEA in the highest court of the land; the case is clear. You renege on the Constitution itself, by authority of which you purport to govern.

Yours in Patriotism


Discounts are available to FOSAF members from the following Selected Gold Class Supporters:

Castleburn, Driehoek Syndicate, Finsbury Estate, Flyz Inc, Frontier Flyfishing, Giants Cup Wilderness Reserve, Highland Lodge, Highland Run, Jandi Trading, Hobbies of Antiquity, Kloofzicht, Komati Gorge Lodge, Lake Naverone, Lunsklip Fisheries, Mavungana, Millstream, Nooitgedacht, Oxbow Country Estate, Queenstown FlyFishing Club, Sani Valley Flyfishing and Game Lodge, Stonecutters Lodge, The Fly Casting Coach, Transvaal Fly Fishers Club, Verlorenkloof, Whiskey Creek and Willow Realty (Pty) Ltd, Cape Piscatorial Society, Marabou Trout Syndicate.

Details are on the FOSAF website -



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