Durban: 14 October 2019
Nurturing and harvesting local talent for South Africa’s development needs inclusive of infrastructure build would remain the wise option if the country is to avoid wholly mortgaging the future of generations of its people to foreigners, a senior Transnet official has said.
Ms Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, a Transnet port manager for the port of Cape Town was addressing a group of maritime sector key role players and sponsors of the Simon’s Town School – Lawhill Maritime Centre at an annual event in the town last Thursday evening to honour high performing pupils during the 2019 school year.
Lawhill Maritime Centre is the country’s most prominent private institution providing foundation level maritime education to foundation level children from across all walks of life. Several, some of whom are from poor backgrounds, get into the school through sponsorships and bursaries offered by companies and institutions in the sector, such as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
Ms Dweba-Kwetana expressed a ‘deep concern’ and issued a stern warning about especially Chinese investment in Africa – which she described as cunning in general if not strictly monitored. She said Chinese investment was characterised by an approach where in Africa, investors made no attempt to empower local people, but secured jobs for their own people, thereby ensuring that host countries become beholden and perpetually depended on foreign skills.
Citing a book she’d recently read about Chinese investors in Africa she said it seemed that: “Whilst we are still cruising, somebody else is plotting to eat our breakfast. And it worries me because if we sit and fold our arms and say the Chinese must come and take whatever, they must come and build our ports, they must come and build our railways, they must come and take our minerals away from our country, what inheritance are we going to leave for our children?..”
“I think it is time for us just to stand up and approach Transnet, when we feel that there are inefficiencies in the railways and we have the capacity to actually invest, why not approach the chairman of the board and present our proposal, so that the wealth of the country remains with the people that are in this room and remains in this country…..
For her full remarks on the topic, click on the three (3 minutes video below).
Ms Dweba-Kwetana also took a swipe at South Africa’s mainstream media for what she described as its propensity driven by an insatiable habit to fan negativity globally about South Africa. She said a lot of good work was being carried out in South Africa by a whole range of people but particularly investors in human development and education and training, yet barely if any mention was made of them by the media for their positive contribution.
Instead, every single day, the narrative was biased towards bad news about the country.
For her full remarks, click on the two minutes video below.
On the country’s maritime economic sector in general, Ms Dwe-Kwetana described it as both a major opportunity for skills development and a work career, but also one that demanded focus, dedication and hard work.
For Ms Dweba-Kwetana’s full remarks on the evening, click on the video below: