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The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has poured cold water on the City’s plan to take control of some local harbours, saying the council’s proposed by-law for fishing harbours cannot supersede the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA).

However, the City says it has no choice but to “forge ahead” with its plans, maintaining that it has the power to manage harbours in its jurisdiction, as the constitution gives municipalities the “exclusive competence to administer the functional areas listed in Schedule 5, Part B”.

DAFF spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said: “The department is mandated by the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998 (MLRA), sections 7, 9, 12 (among others), of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act no. 18 1998).

“Please note that in the case of conflicts with any other legislation, the MLRA prevails when it comes to management of marine resources and proclaimed fishing harbours.

“In this case, the City of Cape Town’s proposed by-laws for fishing harbours cannot supersede the MLRA.”

The City’s move came after engagements with the department and Public Works for the proper administration of the harbours within the City’s jurisdiction proved futile, according to deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

Public Works spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele did not respond to questions before deadline.