SAMSA senior official, Captain Thobela Gqabu appointed into intercontinental maritime body’s top leadership.

Pretoria: 28 August 2017

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has expressed delight with an announcement of the election of one of its senior officials, Captain Thobela Gqabu into the top leadership of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) on Port State Control.

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Captain Thobela Gqabu, Principal Officer at South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Southern Region offices in East London, and newly elected Vice-Chairman of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding Committee (IOMOU) – a 19 member Port States structure most with borders on the Indian Ocean. (Photo: Courtesy of Lawhill Maritime Centre. Simonstown.)

Capt. Gqabu was elected the Vice-Chairman of the group during its 20th committee meetingheld in the Maldives over five days a week ago.

 

The IOMOU with its base in India is made up of 19 member States a majority of whom have borders on the Indian Ocean. They include Australia; Bangladesh; Comoros; Eritrea; France; India; Iran; Kenya; Maldives; Mauritius; Mozambique; Myanmar; Oman; Seychelles; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tanzania; and Yemen.

The IOMOU structure is one of nine similar regional port States agreements arrangements globally, the rest made up of Europe and the north Atlantic (Paris MoU); Asia and the Pacific (Tokyo MoU); Latin America (Acuerdo de Viña del Mar); Caribbean (Caribbean MoU); West and Central Africa (Abuja MoU); the Black Sea region (Black Sea MoU); the Mediterranean (Mediterranean MoU); and the Riyadh MoU. The United States Coast Guard maintain the 10th PSC regime.

The MOU structures form part of a global network of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) port states structures worldwide, established and tasked with ensuring   that oceans going vessels comply with international standards while serving international shipping demands.

ships at seaIn terms of the arrangements, ships generally are required to comply to no less than 28 international instruments that cover the design, safe manning, pollution prevention, seafarer training and welfare; and ensuring that the ships have adequate insurance cover for identified risks.

In the Maldives last week, the IOMOU Port States Secretariat announced in a communique at the end of its five (5) days meeting on Friday that Capt. Gqabu was elected as its new committee Vice-Chairman, along with Ms Beatrice Nyamoita, an assistant Director for Shipping & Maritime at Kenya’s Department of Transport, as the new Chairman.

Capt. Gqabu’s election was proposed by France and supported by several of the committee members. He has served on the IOMOU committee since 2015.

In the announcement on Friday, the IOMOU secretariat said the pair would lead the committee in its next three annual meetings, the very next scheduled for Freemantle, Australia in August 2018.

Back home, Capt. Gqabu is SAMSA’s Principal Officer for the Southern Region, based in East London in the Eastern Cape Province.  He has been with SAMSA since 2009.

In addition, Capt. Gqabu is one of trustees and a Vice-Chairman of the Lawhill Maritime Educational Trust – supporting educational aspirations and needs of youths involved with the Simon’s Town based maritime education foundation level institution, the Lawhill Maritime Centre – an involvement he says he is passionate about.

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operations Officer; Mr Sobantu Tilayi

In Pretoria at the weekend, SAMSA leadership reacted with excitement to the election of Capt. Gqabu to the leadership of the IOMOU, describing it as highly significant both for its reflection of local management talent, but also for South Africa’s role as a major role player in the regional and global maritime sector.

“I am thrilled for Captain Thobela Gqabu to have been elected to the leadership of this very important structure. SAMSA considers this appointment as a huge step in ensuring that South Africa plays its part in matters of international compliance by shipping thus ensuring the safety of lives and the environment at sea.” SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said.

Capt. Gqabu was just as appreciative of the confidence displayed towards him by the continental body, as well as the opportunity it provided.

He said: “It is definitely a great opportunity and there’s also a huge responsibility that lies ahead.

“However, I take courage from the support and confidence shown by the authority of South Africa and also my colleagues from different member states that supported France in nominating a delegate from South Africa as vice-chairman of the committee,” said Capt. Gqabu.

Meanwhile, the IOMOU also recently announced that member States of the structure would be embarking on a Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Safety of Navigation for a three months period beginning on Friday, September 1, 2017 through to November 30, 2017.

The campaign would conducted simultaneously with the Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and other MoUs, said the committee. It said the purpose of the exercise would be to verify that compliance by industry role players with applicable requirements of SOLAS Conventions, the overall status of vessels’ navigation safety and the competency of crews involve in navigation operations.” To read more on this Click Here.

 

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Eastern Cape may need review of its coastal land use practices for maritime sector development success: SAMSA

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Port St Johns: 27 August 2017

Land use practices along South Africa’s 3200 km coastline, but particularly the 800km coastline of the Eastern Cape Province and precisely the Wild Coast on the Indian Ocean, may have to be revisited if currently declared marine tourism plans will achieve the desired effect, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) urged this past week.

The call came from SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi during a celebratory send-off event of some 97 youths due to be deployed on cruise tourism vessels worldwide from September 1, 2017.

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The 97 Eastern Cape youths selected for this year’s first intake of the Maritime Youth Development Programme (Eastern Cape) due to for deployment in permanent employment with MSC Cruise tourism vessels worldwide during their send-off celebratory event at Port St Johns on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 23 August 2017. They board their vessels from 01 September 2017.

The event on Wednesday (August 23) was held in Port St Johns on the Wild Coast, this year’s chosen venue for the World Maritime Day event in South Africa on September 28, 2017.

The send-off event of the 97 youths – almost double the original number of 50 targeted – was the culmination of a joint initiative- the Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) – driven by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape government and Johannesburg based non-governmental organization Harambee, to not only equip local youth with maritime skills, but to also help them find  employment.

 

The Eastern Cape ranks high on unemployment especially among youth, with the rate for particularly the Port St Johns area of the O.R Tambo District Municipality estimated at as much as 89%.

The group of 97, the first intake this year, will be taken on board cruise tourism vessels operated by MSC Cruises worldwide. It will be the first group under the MYDP programme in the Eastern Cape, but second nationally since launch of the initiative a year ago, with Gauteng Province.

Incidentally, the event in Port St Johns on Wednesday took place only days after national Parliament announced the formal approval of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Marine and Tourism Implementation Plan and among whose initial targets over the next five years will be the tourism area of Port St Johns, along with East London and Port Elizabeth.

The announcement was made on Friday, August 18 by Tourism Minister, Ms Tokozile Xasa.

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Part of the Eastern Cape’s 800km long coastline, with Port St Johns on the Wild Coast showing a the top.

The Eastern Cape has the second longest coastline – some 800km of the country’s 3200km coastline – after the Western Cape, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and in fourth place, the Northern Cape.

In her announcement, Ms Xasa described the Marine and Coastal Tourism Implementation Plan’s vision as encompassing an envisaged development and growth of “a world class and sustainable coastal and marine tourism destination that leverages South Africa’s competitive advantage in nature, culture, and heritage.”

 

This according to Ms Xasa was against the backdrop of projections that the coastal and marine tourism sector will contribute about R21.4-billion to the GDP and create about 116 000 direct jobs by 2026, in the process, helping alleviate poverty, inequality and unemployment, while contributing to sustainable livelihoods and development.

“These estimates,” she said: “are conservative as they are growing off a low 2015 base of R 11.9-billion direct contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 64 400 direct jobs.”

Ms Xasa said the Coastal and Marine Tourism Plan would be implemented in a nodal or cluster approach that would “prioritise destinations rather than individual tourism projects or products.”

The identified nodes/clusters in the first phase of five (5) years) would focus primarily on the country’s four coastal provinces, she said.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In Port St Johns on Wednesday, Mr Tilayi described the development as a major boost for areas such as those on the Wild Coast, inclusive of Port St Johns.

However, this had implications for land use practices in the areas, Mr Tilayi told both the Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Phumulo Masaulle and AmaMpondo King, His Royal Highness; Ndamase Ndamase both of whom graced the send-off event with their presence.

According to Mr Tilayi, the initiatives would go a long way in helping development of maritime sector related socio-economic activities in the areas identified and would require direct participation by local communities.

He pointed out, however, that land use practices along particularly the Wild Coast area would need focus and possible review, in order to enable wholesome and mutual benefit for all inhabitants.

 

Mr Tilayi did not enumerate particular problematic land use practices, save to indicate that SAMSA would soon engage with the local traditional leadership as well as the provincial government on the issues.

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Ms Lindelwa Kolobile. Port St Johns mayor

However, Port St Johns mayor, Ms Lindelwa Kolobile laid bare some of the challenges facing land use practices in the area. In her brief speech, Ms Kolobile said there was an increasing trend of unauthorized land occupation by residents and made an impassioned plea to both the Eastern Cape government as well as King Ndamase to intervene. To listen to her remarks, Click Here

About the departing local youth due for employment on MSC Cruise ships worldwide from September 2017, Mr Tilayi urged them and their parents to fully support the efforts being made in the area to alleviate both unemployment and associated high poverty levels.

To the youths – about 50 of the 97 from Port St Johns – he said their responsibility was not only to themselves but also their country which they had to represent well.

The youth also needed to recognize, he said; that their performance at work in the months and years ahead would reflect on the caliber of South African youth and where positive, increase the chances of more youths being employed on cruise ships and related opportunities in the maritime sector.

IMG_7051“You have to bear in mind that you, South Africans, are not only competing for work on cruise liners among yourselves, but are competing with several countries all over the world. If you conduct yourselves badly you will be fired, that is guaranteed.

“But remember this that, should you misbehave and lose the jobs due to poor behavior, you will have not only wasted your own opportunity, but will have also jeopardized chances for your fellow South Africans as well.

“So go out there, and makes us all proud,” he said, congratulating them for having secured jobs in the maritime sector.

For Mr Tilayi’s full address on video, Click Here.

For more coverage of the event in videos, please visit the Features Page

97 Eastern Cape youths due for send-off on cruise ships around the world.

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Port St Johns: 22 August 2017

A joint initiative between government, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations to not only skill but create job opportunities in the maritime economic sector will pay off for 97 Eastern Cape youths this week, when they are officially sent off to join tourism cruise vessels sailing across the world.

The 97 youths out of a total 128 that recently completed specialized training in basic marine skills under the Maritime Youth Development Programe (Eastern Cape) over the last two months, are to join MSC Cruises vessels in different parts of the globe.

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The Umzimvubi River Month adjacent to which Port St Johns is situated.

A ceremony to wish them well in their new venture into the maritime world is to be held on Wednesday in Port St Johns, an Eastern Cape town on the spectacular Wild Coast region of the Indian Ocean, midway between East London and Durban.

The joint partners in the MYDP Eastern Cape initiative include the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, and Harambee.

More than half the youths due for send-off on Wednesday – some for their first jobs ever – are from the O.R Tambo District Municipality, and precisely Port St Johns; an area that is targeted this current year for a series of maritime sector related projects, primarily by SAMSA, for both maritime awareness and associated youth skills development and local community social upliftment.

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Port St Johns ‘2nd Beach’ the most popular among domestic and foreign tourists and the venue of Wednesday’s youth for cruise ships send-off event.

But perhaps crucially, the SAMSA inspired and driven MYDP’s impact in the O.R Tambo District Municipality occurs against the backdrop of a Government announcement last week that Port St Johns has been declared one of six nodes in the country to be targeted for an Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) marine and coastal development programme over the next five years.

 

In a statement last week, Department of Tourism Minister, Ms Tokozile Xasa said following to Cabinet approval earlier this month, the Coastal and Marine Tourism Plan would be implemented in a nodal or cluster approach that would prioritize destinations rather than individual tourism projects or products.

She said the identified nodes/clusters in the first phase of up to five (5) years) would involve five geographic areas encompassing (Node 1) Durban and surrounds and (Node 2) Umkhanyakude District including Umhlabuyalingana and surrounds – all in the KwaZulu-Natal province; (Node 3) Port St Johns to Coffee Bay and (Node 4)  East London, Port Elizabeth and surrounds – in the Eastern Cape province; (Node 5) Cape Town and surrounds  in the Western Cape province and finally, (Node 6) West Coast and surrounds in the Northern Cape province.

Meanwhile, regarding Wednesday’s event in Port St Johns, according to SAMSA on Tuesday, the successful placement of the 97 youths on cruise vessels worldwide beginning September 2017, is a major achievement as it exceeds an original target of 50 youths originally planned for the first send-off.

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Mr Sizwe Nkukwana. SAMSA Programme Manager for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy Initiatives (Marine Transport and Manufacturing Delivery Unit)

“We are pleased that the EC project has been a resounding success. We completed the entire preparation process at the end of last week with MSC interviewing the final 128 candidates that successfully completed the training program.

“MSC Cruises has agreed to place 97 candidates in this year’s intake that starts from 1 September. This number far exceeds he initially agreed target of 50, which was our SLA with the client, Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape. This means we exceeded our target by 80% or we had an 180% achievement,” said SAMSA Programme Manager for Operation Phakisa initiatives (Marine Transport and Manufacturing Delivery Unit), Mr Sizwe Nkukwana.

Mr Nkukwana along with some senior SAMSA management headed by Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr Sobantu Tilayi will join Eastern Cape Premier, Hon. Phumulo Masaulle – MPL, Eastern Cape provincial government officials, local traditional leadership, officials of the O.R Tambo District Municipality at the send-off ceremony tomorrow, which will characterized by a colourful display of AmaMpondo cultural activities including dance.

‘’The time to work with young people, to alter positively their future prospects and fortunes is now. As an entry point it is good that these young people are getting this kind of exposure and opportunity, to actually work on cruise liners to gain that international outlook and experience.

“It is also important that we do not position to only take up the lower layers level jobs in the sector, but we must move to empower these young people to go on to captain these ships, to be the engineers and ports officials and so, in essence, we must strive to penetrate all sectors including scarce skills in the maritime space’’, says Premier Masualle.

The event to be held at Port St Johns 2nd Beach – notorious for some spectacular shark attacks these last few years – will be beamed live on SABC radio and television (MorningLive as well as on Umhlobo Wenene, Trufm and local radio stations).

The ceremony in three stages; a media session, a maritime exhibition and formal send-off, begins at 7am in the morning through to 2pm in the afternoon.

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SA seafarers’ Competency and Proficiency certificates up for re-validation and conversion: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 18 August 2017

A process for the further standardization and conversion of certificates issued to South African seafarers, including certificates for persons working on fishing and other local vessels is underway, the South African Maritime Safety Authority announced this week.

This followed the issue recently of a Marine Notice (MN) No.16 of 2017 regarding the renewals and revalidation process.

SAMSA says the revalidation now due affects precisely South African seafarers holding Certificates of Competency and/or Proficiency issued in accordance with regulations repealed by the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Training and Certification) Regulations, 2013.

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File Photo

These include groups of certificates in the categories of Marine Motorman, Fisherman, Port Operations and Radio Certificates. In these categories, according to a schedule released with the MN No.16, there are as many as 31 different seafarer operations certificates due for revalidation.

Changes in certificates titles

SAMSA says among highly significant issues with the announced revalidation is that a majority of the seafarers’ certificates are changes in titles, in accordance with Regulations.

The 31 listed certificates for revalidation all carry news titles.

But in addition, says SAMSA, holders of certificates previously covered under Marine Notice 24 of 2016 (Applications for new Manila Compliant Certificates) may continue applying for their certificates as required to keep their certificates valid for service.

Meanwhile, in terms of the requirement now due to for re-validation of certificates in the categories highlighted, SAMSA says seafarers holding the certificates listed shall re-validate at five (5) yearly intervals with applications for re-validation acceptable from six (6) months before expiry.

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Chief Examiner, Mr Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi

“During the application for re-validation/conversion, candidates must select the appropriate new title of the certificate as set out in the equivalency table in Regulation 115 and summarized in the Annexure issued,” says SAMSA’s Chief Examiner – Mr Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi.

“To be issued with the new format certificates, seafarers holding certificates listed in the Annexure of the Schedule posted on the SAMSA website, shall apply using appropriate forms found in all SAMSA offices countrywide, and on the website.

“Information, other than course certificates, submitted as prima facie evidence of the candidate being complied with the requirements for the new certificates must be in accordance with Paragraph 4 of GOP-506 – Revalidation of a Certificate of Competency

“Furthermore, all applications shall be submitted at the nearest SAMSA office, and applications submitted to the Head Office will be assigned to a port office.  Candidates applying shall use the latest forms available on the SAMSA website.”

Mr Mulaudzi says SAMSA will continue to accept applications and process, for first issue of the certificates, under the repealed Regulations, until 31 December 2018, except for Certificates of Competency which require candidates to complete their written examinations at SAMSA.

He says the last application for the Certificate of Competency which includes the written examination is scheduled for 15 October 2018 to allow such to be processed, while the last written examination at SAMSA shall be on or before 25 November 2018

Candidates being assessed successfully during this period shall be issued with the equivalent new format interim certificate as well as the final certificate.

According to Mr Mulaudzi, applications for re-validation and conversion may be made from next Monday, 21 August 2017.

He says, otherwise all certificates to which the issued Marine Notice applies, other than Short Range Radio Operators Certificates, shall remain valid for service until 31 December 2018

“Certificates for Long Range shall remain valid for a period of five (5) years from the date of issue, i.e. not valid beyond 31 July 2022, except that certificates issued on or before 31 December 2013 shall remain valid until 31 December 2018.”

For further info, affected and or interested people may view the MN No.16 on the SAMSA website, or alternatively make inquiries with the Chief Examiner through the following email address: exams@samsa.org.za.

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SA maritime sector stakeholders to have their say on funding model for SAMSA

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Pretoria: 14 August 2017

Public consultations about a proposed funding model for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), on which future tariffs will be based, get underway in earnest countrywide this week.

Undertaken and driven by the Department of Transport (DoT), the public consultation workshops begin with Cape Town on Tuesday, followed by Durban on Thursday (August 17) and finally Johannesburg on Wednesday (30 August).

The venue for Cape Town’s workshop on Tuesday (15 August) is the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) main administration building at the port of Cape Town, where dozens of participants from across subsectors of primarily the maritime sector are expected to attend.

The maritime subsectors include operational support services, manufacturing and construction, business services, and public interest involving regulatory and naval defense.

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Old file photo

According to DoT, consultations with the stakeholders will focus on a newly developed funding model for SAMSA on which the future tariffs of SAMSA will be derived.

Providing background to the exercise, the department says the development of the model began a year ago, prompted by among other reasons, a need to address challenges experienced over the last few years in meeting SAMSA’s capital infrastructure and operational costs.

According to DoT, this required that an exercise be undertaken to review the current tariff structure with plans to develop a sustainable funding model based on a multi-year tariff decision-making framework.

 

SAMSA, the department says, is a statutory body in terms of the SAMSA Act No. 5 of 1998, with legislated objectives that involve ensuring safety of life and property at sea; the prevention and combating of pollution of the marine environment by ships, and the promotion of South Africa’s maritime interests.

SAMSA’s mandate was expanded in 2007 to include the regulation of some marine activities on South Africa’s inland waters.

SAMSA’s obligations in terms of this mandate includes among other activities; the issuing of operating licenses, surveying, accident investigations, the development of examination standards and the promotion of safety and awareness

 

SAMSA is also tasked with the responsibility for monitoring ships traversing South African waters and ensuring their safe navigation for purpose of securing our country and its territorial interests.

“Maritime transport is a global business that embraces multinational stakeholders’ cooperation to make sure that standardised approaches, conventions and systems for safe, clean, sustainable and secure shipping and competent seafaring are established and adhered to.

“SAMSA is a signatory to numerous bilateral agreements to advance maritime technical cooperation and coordinated search and rescue functions with other countries and the SADC region.

“SAMSA discharges the South African government’s responsibility in giving effect to IMO (International Maritime Organisations) and ILO (International Labour Organisation) Conventions,” says the DoT.

For more info on the public consultation process, Click Here or or further inquiries contact the following officials; Rabelani Muthaphuli (012 309 3952), Tudor Hungwe (012 366 3600) and Mpho Monyane (012 309 3043).

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In ’67 minutes’, SAMSA spreads warmth and care to kids and grannies in 2017 in the spirit of Nelson Mandela!

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Some 15 of hundreds of elderly people and small children across South Africa who this year received a gift of a warm winter blanket each from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as part of its corporate social investment linked to celebrations of the Nelson Mandela Day worldwide.

Pretoria: 10 August 2017

The 2017 winter season in the southern hemisphere may be gently yet resolutely winding down in keeping with its own stubborn schedule, and with the process, as always, the emergence of a welcome change towards warmer weather conditions.

However, it will be the end of a wintry chill in 2017 that will be remembered fondly by no less than 700 elderly people and children across South Africa who in the year received a gift of very warm blankets from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as a gesture of goodwill in celebrating the Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18.

IMG_1086SAMSA has keenly participated in the global annual event locally to honour the South African statesman since its launch by the United Nations Assembly about a decade ago.

In 2017, once again SAMSA involved its staff in bringing relief to the communities in which it operates through its ‘CHANGE MAKERS’ initiative launched in 2015 to encourage employee voluntarism in community outreach projects.

Through the SAMSA Change Makers initiative, employees of the organization across the country are encouraged to identify communities or segments thereof that may receive assistance to meet needs in their respective regions.

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It was a day of joy for the little ones after receiving warm winter blankets from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in July in celebration of the Nelson Mandela International Day held annually since a decade ago

In 2017, rural villages with predominantly elderly people in Qumbu in the Eastern Cape were chosen for the main event and during which some 150 grannies and grandpas were gifted with the warm winter blankets.

The rest of the blankets were shared with communities identified by staff in regions in which the organization operates, from Durban on the Indian through to Saldahna Bay on the west coast.

For the main event, the choice of Qumbu, and precisely the Tsitsa Falls, was partly to align the Corporate Social Investment-driven event with the rest of SAMSA’s maritime sector public awareness campaigns and social development projects currently underway in the Eastern Cape province and whose focus currently is on the O.R Tambo District municipality encompassing Mbizana, Qumbu and Port St Johns.

They encompass marine tourism in two streams, youth skills development and tourism facilities.

SAMSA hosted this year’s International Day of the Seafarer in Mbizana, with Port St Johns also scheduled by the Department of Transport (under which SAMSA falls) as the host for this year’s celebration of the World Maritime Day in the week up to September 28.

20170530_122040Mbizana is the birthplace of the late ANC president, Oliver Reginald Tambo and whose national centennial celebrations are ongoing this year in honour of his immense contribution to South Africa’s liberation struggle.

On July 18, in the neighbhouring town of Qumbu, in honour of yet another liberation stalwart and global statesman, Nelson Mandela; SAMSA hosted no less 150 elderly people, male and female, to present them with warm winter blankets.

According to SAMSA, the Tsitsa Falls on the Tsitsa river was chosen as the venue for the event also partly to indicate an intention to earmark and profile the area’s nature beauty spot for mapping into the country marine tourism development initiatives under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean’s Economy) national campaign launched in 2014.

“The theme this year was “Action against Poverty” in line with the overarching theme of Take Action, Inspire Change and Make every day Mandela Day concept. Interestingly and ironic in a way, was that among the 150 guests, the oldest person was 98 years old and it was the first time she was visiting the Tsitsa Falls !” said SAMSA

The criteria for selecting recipients of the 700 blankets was fairly simple; recipients had to be from previously disadvantage backgrounds, or homeless individuals, orphanages, the elderly (given first preference) or child headed households, or widows and or widowers.

People had fun!

For more pics of the event countrywide, Click Here and stroll down.