Frequently asked questions

Q: Are we opposed to conservation?

A: No, we are in favour of conservation and parks.

Q: Will scuba diving permits promote conservation?

A: No. Effluent and sewerage is still pumped into the sea INSIDE the MPA and fishing is still allowed in most places inside MPA's.

Q: Why don’t we just pay R70 a year and be done with it?

A: Because you will be paying twice every time you rent dive gear, do a diving course, participate in a guided shore dive and/or a boat dive. The recreational diving businesses will be paying a much higher price for a permit to operate in the MPA and this price will be passed on to the customer.

Q: MCM says that scuba divers damage the reefs and they have research to prove it.

A: All their research is from overseas. Their research describe places where the reefs are exposed at low tide and people walk on it to collect shellfish

Q: Why don’t we just boycott the MPA – don’t buy permits and don’t dive in the MPA?

A: Because businesses will have to close and people will lose their jobs. Not just the owners but every compressor operator, skipper, instructor, chef, shop assistant, boat mechanic, gardener, driver, etc that’s directly and indirectly dependent on scuba divers.

Q: What happens if I go diving without a permit?

A: You can get arrested and fined between R1000 and R100 000. They may also confiscate your scuba gear, boat and/or car.

Q: Why didn’t I know about this law?

A: Because it was announced in the Government Gazette, which is not read by most citizens as it is not available at your local newsagent.

Q: How often does the permit price increase and by how much?

A: MCM intend to increase it a lot because:
  1. They would not agree to inflation linked increases for the first 10 years.
  2. The current fees are based on a partial recovery of costs and the Minister has promised Parliament a full recovery
  3. They have recently added the cost of research to be carried by us to and they just ordered another R100m research vessel

Q: Why don’t we take MCM to court about this?

A: Firstly because we don’t have the money ( a high court application can cost about R500 000 ) and secondly because they will just make more, new regulations with fewer flaws which are harder to fight.

Q: Why haven’t we had a meeting with the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk about this?

A: We requested a meeting on three occasions but he refused to meet with us.

Q: Has anyone had success with asking the Office of the Public Protector (OPP) to investigate MCM?

A: Yes. Francois Hugo took MCM on through the OPP and won the case after MCM arrested him for tending to sick and injured seals in Hout Bay.

Q: Why are the interviews on the radio and articles in the newspaper and Divestyle so emotive?

A: Because that’s what the media wants. Boring law reviews don’t interest people. We don’t like either it but that’s how it is.

Q: Is it true that MCM moved the boundary of the Aliwal MPA to exclude the SAPPI SAICCOR effluent?

A: Yes, just compare the draft legislation to what was promulgated to see for yourself.

Q: What makes SCUBA diving different from spear fishing and fishing?

A: We don’t take anything out of the sea. We are non-consumptive users.