South Africa’s oceans economy on the move: President Jacob Zuma

Pretoria: 10 October 2017

On Friday, 06 October 2017, South Africa’s government leader, President Jacob Zuma gave a report back on the progress being achieved with the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative that was launched three years ago.

The report back event was held in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal. Below is his speech (also available here: (


Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: President Jacob Zuma delivering his report television live from Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016

The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Executive Mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality,
Captains of Industry,
Representatives of civil society, labour and academia,
Fellow South Africans,
We greet you all.

In July 2014, we gathered here at eThekwini, to explore the potential of the vast ocean space under South Africa’s jurisdiction and launched Operation Phakisa: Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans.

I made an undertaking then, that I would periodically report back on progress being made as we seek to derive greater economic benefits from our oceans.

Operation Phakisa is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian Government very successfully in the delivery of its Economic Transformation Programme and the Government Transformation Programme.

We renamed the programme Operation Phakisa, to highlight the urgency with which we want to deliver on some of the priorities encompassed in the National Development Plan 2030.

It is an innovative, pioneering and inspiring approach that is designed to enable us to implement our policies and programmes better, faster and more effectively.

Operation Phakisa is being implemented in the ocean economy, in the improvement of clinics, in rolling out information and communication technologies in education as well as in the agriculture, mining and tourism sectors.

The first implementation, which is the focus of attention today, is Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans.

We brought together in the Oceans economy project, representatives from government, industry, labour, civil society and academia to collaborate in unlocking the economic potential of our oceans.

A lot of progress has been made and I am happy to report back today.

Unlocked investment worth R24.6-billion

I am delighted to announce that thus far we have unlocked investments totalling twenty four point six billion rand (R24.6-billion), with a Government contribution of fifteen billion rand (R15-billion). Over six thousand five hundred (6500) jobs have been created through this Oceans Economy segment of Operation Phakisa.

This would not have been possible without the concerted effort and support of all our partners, especially the private sector.

It demonstrates again that if we work together, as a collective, we can achieve much more.

IMG_5382The largest contribution to the total investment in the oceans economy was from infrastructure development, mainly in our ports, manufacturing, mainly in boat building, aquaculture and scientific surveys in the oil and gas sector, having been facilitated through Government incentives.

From our own analysis, the total ocean sectors contribute approximately four point four percent to South Africa’s GDP, with the largest contribution coming from the value chains.

When I visited the Port of Durban this morning, I was impressed that we are building specialised super tugboats at Southern African Shipyards.

This is a one point four billion rand (!.4-billion) project. This is a demonstration of South Africa’s capacity and capability to build specialized vessels locally.

Seven of the nine tugboats have already been built as part of this project and around five hundred jobs had been created.

The South African Navy seeks to build their complex and specialized hydrographic survey vessel to map the sea floor, an investment of approximately one point eight billion rand.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I would also like to announce today, that we intend to establish the KwaZulu-Natal Boatbuilding Park as part of this maritime vessel industrial complex at Bayhead in the Port of Durban.

IMG_5424The boat-building sector has long been recognized in our strategic plans as a major opportunity to stimulate new investment, exports and job creation.

The park is planned to be a world-class space for the production and repair of leisure and commercial boats. It will be the single largest boat building facility in Southern Africa.

It will also accommodate emerging and Black-owned boatbuilding companies and key suppliers.

The project represents an investment of more than two hundred and fifty million rand and will have the capacity to produce up to one hundred and fifty boats annually, mainly for the export market.

The Park will have Marine Skills Development Centre to provide on the job and practical training for the unemployed and youth.

The Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy programme has yielded further significant results in its various focus areas and I wish to highlight and elaborate further on some of these.

In the Marine Transport and Manufacturing Focus Area, the Port of Durban has seen the completion of the Outer Dry Dock Caisson to improve safety. The upgraded Durban Dry Dock will be key to attracting ship repair business to Durban.

It features the latest state-of –the –art technologies and has provided job opportunities, learnerships and artisanal training at this facility.

IMG_5844Earlier this year I reported on the major developments in the Port of Port Elizabeth with the refurbishment of the slipway, the reconstruction of the lead-in jetties and the acquisition of the boat hoist which made a significant impact in the fishing industry.

At the Port of Cape Town, the Burgan Fuel Storage Facility, a substantial private sector investment of over six hundred and sixty million rand (R660-million), has recently commenced operations, to augment the fuel supply and energy demand in the Western Cape.

20170419_101108.jpgA Cruise Terminal concession to fund, design, build and operate has been awarded to the V&A Waterfront Company in the Port of Cape Town, which will see an increase in cruise-liners docking in this port and bolster the tourism market.

In the Port of Saldanha Bay, the new Sunrise Energy Liquid Petroleum Gas Facility, through a concession issued by the Transnet National Ports Authority, has also commenced operation.

Saldanha Oil & Gas
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

The construction of the Offshore Supply Base berth at the Port of Saldanha has been completed as part of the establishment of Saldanha Bay as an offshore oil and gas support hub.

In the Offshore Oil and Gas Focus Area, fourteen exploration rights, six production rights and two technical cooperation permits have been issued.

The establishment of an Incident Management Organisation for joint Government and industry response drills, in cases of oils spillage or accidents, is far advanced.

We can say with confidence that for the first time, a research cooperation agreement between Government and industry will facilitate joint research and surveys.

In order to further enhance the maritime sector, the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy has recently been finalised.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Our fish resources are becoming more limited and are also being exploited to the maximum. In this regard, promoting the Aquaculture Focus Area has become extremely crucial.

DSC_0597The initial target of twenty four (24) catalyst projects has been exceeded and we now have thirty six aquaculture projects.

These projects are not only from the marine species but are also from inland freshwater fish.

Over fifteen (15) Small Medium and Micro Enterprises had been empowered. The Strategic Environmental Assessment for the aquaculture sector has commenced to facilitate aquaculture development.

In order to streamline authorisations and approvals, the Interdepartmental Authorisations Committee consisting of all the relevant departments, reviewed business processes to reduce timeframes for approvals, including decisions on leases.

The timeframes have already been reduced from eight hundred and ninety days to two hundred and forty days.

In terms of the Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance, the Draft Marine Spatial Planning Bill and associated Marine Spatial Planning Framework, which will serve as areas for nurseries, have been completed.

Consultations have been concluded on eighteen (18) of the envisaged twenty two (22) Offshore Marine Protected Areas. These will cover approximately four point four percent (4.4%) of our Exclusive Economic Zone.

IMG_2179With regards to policing and protecting our Exclusive Economic Zone, Joint Operations continue to be conducted in all four coastal provinces as part of the coordinated enforcement programme with numerous arrests and confiscations that happened.

The National Ocean and Coastal Information System is being piloted as a decision support tool in respect of vessel tracking.

We are now in a better position to locate vessels, especially the ones entering our waters illegally and those engaging in illegal activities.

Furthermore, we can now signal an early warning for the occurrence of harmful algal blooms or red tides.

This detection and early-warning has a major positive impact on the West Coast Rock Lobster industry.

In addition, the National Marine Pollution Laboratory has been established at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape and will be responsible for the water quality analysis programme, along the South African coast.

Dear colleagues and stakeholders,
The development of Small Harbours has the potential to unlock economic opportunities along the coast and stimulate local economies.

IMG_6157To exploit this potential, we have commenced with preparations for the planned National Small Harbours Development Laboratory.

Investor conferences are being held in the coastal provinces as a build-up to the National Lab engagement.

Already, critical capital and maintenance projects of approximately four hundred million rand has been identified, to modernise and develop the twelve proclaimed fishing harbours.

We are also happy to report that the outcome of the Coastal and Marine Tourism Lab has been approved by Cabinet, thus taking Operation Phakisa in the tourism sector forward. Our aspiration is to grow a world class and sustainable coastal and marine tourism destinations.

These will enhance South Africa’s competitive advantages in nature, culture, and heritage, with the potential to contribute twenty one billion rand to the South African Gross Domestic Product and more jobs for our people.

Six (6) tourism development nodes have already been identified, where our integrated approach will be implemented.

These include, firstly, two nodes in KwaZulu-Natal which cover Durban and surroundings and Umkhanyakude District. The second is two nodes in the Eastern Cape, from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay and East London, Port Elizabeth and surroundings.

The third node is in Cape Town and surroundings, in the Western Cape. Lastly, there is one node in the Northern Cape, covering Port Nolloth, the West Coast and surroundings.

Through the Blue Flag Beaches Programme two hundred youth blue flag site ambassadors have been identified. One hundred and twenty two women and seventy eight men will be trained in safety, environmental management, infrastructure maintenance checks and environmental education.

Compatriots and friends,
We will not be able to grow the Oceans Economy without skills development, research and technology and innovation.

SHARING CAREER INFO: Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga interacting with learners at the 2016 Transport Week Career Expo held at the Sci-Bono Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The newly-launched South African International Maritime Institute at Nelson Mandela University coordinates the skills development programme.

SAIMI letterheadOur training programmes include cadet and seafarer training, marine engineering, various apprenticeships as well as specialised training.

The Marine Youth Development Programme of the South African Maritime Safety Authority has also facilitated the training of one hundred and twenty five young people from Orange Farm, Port St Johns and Buffalo City Municipality in hospitality and seamanship. This will help them gain jobs on international cruise liners.

We are pleased as well that many high schools now offer maritime subjects.

Eighteen schools in this province, KZN offer maritime subjects. The Department of Basic Education is working with the South African International Maritime Institute to designate dedicated maritime schools.

We have gone quite a distance indeed in unlocking our oceans to find economic value and jobs for our people.

We truly appreciate the contribution of all sectors – business, labour, academia and government, to make Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy successful thus far.

This month we recognise and celebrate the life of our national liberation hero, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who sacrificed life’s comforts so that South Africa could be free.

In his memory, let us work together in a true Phakisa spirit and as partners, and build a truly prosperous South Africa, without poverty, inequality and unemployment.”


2 thoughts on “South Africa’s oceans economy on the move: President Jacob Zuma

  1. I want to be involved to this opportunity but I don’t know what steps to follow.I have grade 12(matric) and computer literacy with no experience. I’d really be grateful to participate as a youth of this country to decrease the number of youth unemployment.

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