Pretoria: 21 July 2022
Current ongoing efforts towards broadening involvement and engagement of business of all sizes in South Africa’s maritime economic sector through a representative national business chamber have received a nod from a number of keyrole players in the sector, among them diverse national institutions as well as industry sector principals.
This emerged this past week during a three (3) days strategy planning session of the budding Maritime Business Chamber (MBC) previously the Eastern Maritime Business Chamber – held at the St Francis Bay Conference Centre in the Eastern Cape province and attended or actively addressed in person or virtually by representatives of several national institutions and businesses across the private and public sectors, including financial institutions.
From the public sector, these included the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitican Municipality (NMBM).
Financial institutions included the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Absa Bank while private sector institutions included FishSA as well as individual company representatives, among them CEO of Algoa Bay based bunkering services firm, Heron Marine SA, Ms Kgomotso Selokane; and Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, group executive of Johannesburg based maritime sector consulting firm, Elekhom Global.
The event hosts, the MBC are an upsized version of a small business chamber that started off in Gqeberha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) in Algoa Bay in 2019 as a small, micro and medium entreprises (SMME) organisation with express interest in involvement and engagement for business and other economic opportunities identification and exploration in the region’s maritime economic sector.
According to MBC chairperson, Mr Unathi Sonti last Tuesday in St Francis Bay, through ongoing intense and expansive interaction with various stakeholders in South Africa’s maritime sector mostly across the four coastal provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape), a “clear gap” was identified for an institution of the nature operating at national level, in order to advance the interests of those people and businesses with direct interest but without any formal representation in the sector.
According to Mr Sonti, such business chamber with precise focus on the maritime sector was also vital in terms of the national interest of the country.
The feedback over the past two years culminated in last week’s three days’ strategy session workshop as a formal step towards formal expansion of the maritime business chamber countrywide, he explained. For his full views on the subject, click on the video below.
Meanwhile, all the companies and institutions represented at the event at St Francis Bay on Monday to Wednesday last week, expressed a common agreement in terms of their full support of both the idea of a business maritime chamber, as well as the expanse of its reach, domestically and abroad.
In the next three videos below, this blog chatted to at least two of the representatives of five key public sector maritime focused institutions present; SAMSA’s Head for Corporate Affairs and Acting Chief Operations Officer, Mr Vusi September; and SAIMI’s Mr Malwande Nkalitshana.
From a private sector business perspective, Ms Selokane, CEO of Heron Marine SA also shared her views.