Durban: 29 February 2019
A national maritime sector transport indaba convened by the Department of Transport over two days and involving government, various of its entities including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), private sector companies and academia is currently underway in Durban.
According to Minister of Transport Dr Blade Nzimande, the event on Thursday and Friday is a dialogue to promote strong relationship between government and private sector regarding developments, challenges, opportunities and transformation in the country’s maritime sector.
“The two-day discussions will also take into consideration the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) which outlines strategic guidance to transformation and gender parity in the maritime sector, job creation and stimulating the marine for economic development,” the department said a statement.
It said key topics for discussion over the next two days include; government’s maritime transport strategic objectives, key challenges and opportunities relating to safety of navigation along South Africa coast, unlocking maritime sector development through the delivery of strategic infrastructure in ports, industry development and transformation, maritime women empowerment in Africa, opportunities and challenges for coastal shipping as well as the country’s Mining Charter and its link with the maritime sector.
In explaining further the thinking behind the gathering described as the first dialogue of its kind for the maritime sector, Dr Nzimande said: “I have decided as part of the commitment I made when I accepted the appointment as Minister of Transport for the Republic of South Africa to promote a much deeper dialogue between government and the transport industry inclusive of all other stakeholders with direct or indirect interest in the transport industry.
“A great deal of what has interested me in this sector is not only its complexity, but most importantly its power to transform every sector of the economy. Transport has also a social transformation dimension for, through improved access and affordability, it has an ability to deepen social interaction almost at all levels.
“If then transport has such power to cause or bring about change, it means when managed well, it is no insignificant contributor to total transformation of society. It could therefore be suggested that an untransformed transport sector limits the ability of society to fully transform.
“But what I have observed is a much deeper question or challenge of our industry and, that is, its inability to talk within itself. This question has therefore kept me wondering in how we could create a transport dialogue platform of not only the transport stakeholders but also its customers and the society at large.
“There is lot that can be achieved when working cooperatively and collaboratively across all transport sectors. I have therefore decided to launch the Transport Industry Dialogue series and I aim to achieve a much closer working relationship between government, labour and business.
“It is through these dialogues that the mission of transport that of transforming society will be better shared and possibly understood better for decisive and integrated actions.
“The inaugural Maritime Transport dialogue event is the first one in the series not only because of the globalizing nature of maritime transport, but because we also aim in 2019 to accelerate the implementation of the Comprehensive Maritime Policy (CMTP) as approved by Cabinet in 2017.
“South Africa is a coastal state surrounded by three oceans and yet we are yet to fully enjoy the benefits of being a coastal state through our ocean based economy. The CMTP calls us to develop South Africa to become an international maritime centre.
“This inaugural maritime dialogue will, from now on, become an annual feature in the maritime calendar and I have no doubt of its ability to help us achieve this desire of being an international maritime Centre,” said Dr Nzimande.
This blog will carry further updates on Thursday through to the weekend in multimedia format.