Issel ‘a man of many talents’

ct Issel Family 8115 INLSA REMEMBERING: The family of Johnny Issel at the inaugural memorial lecture held in honour of the community activist. From left are Issel's sons, Fidel and Yasser, daughter in-law Nadia Issel, daughter Leila Issel and widow, Shahida. Photo: Jeffrey Abrahams

Siyavuya Mzantsi

THE government’s Fishing Rights Allocation Process 2013 policy is an example of legislation to ensure

poor fishing communities benefited, Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries MEC Tina Joemat-Pettersson says.

“This policy was crafted to be a pro-poor piece of legislation that favours the subsistence fisherman above the well-established commercial operator and it is legislation that has always been aimed at restoring the dignity of the poor traditional fishermen and women in our coastal towns,” she said.

The policy was launched in 2009. Joemat-Pettersson was the main speaker at the inaugural Johnny Issel Memorial Lecture at the Swartklip Indoor Centre in Mitchells Plain yesterday. Issel’s family and more than 1 000 ANC supporters attended the event.

Issel died of heart failure in 2011.

He was a co-founder of the United Democratic Front, an activist and a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association.

“What we need to see is a community of fishermen being able to go out to sea, fish for their families and sell the surplus fish to their own community to put clothes on their children’s backs,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

She said that for generations the harvest of the sea had been used to line the pockets of an already privileged white minority, something the department fought to change.

Issel’s daughter, Leila, who spoke at the event, said: “We as the family decided to open a Johnny Issel foundation. We think it will set a fitting tribute to our father.”

Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom said while Issel’s role in the Struggle was well known in the Western Cape, he was not only a “son” of the province.

“He was a son of South Africa and the continent, and a citizen of the world. He was a true internationalist, who believed that the liberation of the people of South Africa was intimately connected with the struggle for the liberation of oppressed people everywhere in the world,” said Hanekom.

Issel was a man of many talents, that even those who knew him quite well were unaware of. “He was a musician who played several instruments and particularly loved playing classical guitar. He was also a good actor and played a leading role in Kanna Hy Ko Huis Toe, a play by Adam Small, when he was at UWC.”

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