Pretoria: 09 February 2018
The launch recently of South Africa’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMPT), coupled with the revised Merchant Shipping Act, as well as envisaged full implementation of the National Ports Act (No 12. 2005) can be expected to see rapid transformation of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the Department of Transport.
Such transformation crucially will involve the deliberate creation of space for all South Africans to participate in the economic sector and with that process, the attraction of new and expanded investment and much needed job creation, Transport Department acting Deputy Director-General, Mr Mthunzi Madiya said in Cape Town.
He was addressing guests to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) annual Stakeholders Dinner held at the Mt Nelson Hotel in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
As many as 60 guests – most of them major and lead players in the various subsectors of the country’s maritime sector – attended the event.
In his brief address, Mr Madiya said from a government policy development and implementation perspective, the country’s maritime sector no longer had an excuse about why it cannot rapidly transform as well as increase financial investment.
“The responsibility of government is to develop policies. On the 15th of July 2017, Minister of Transport launched the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy. It was a milestone for the sector for various reasons, as we were always reminded that the reason why there was no transformation was because there was no industry policy certainty and therefore we needed a policy.
“South Africa today has the policy that needs to be implemented. We want transformation,” he said, adding that Government was hopeful that the sector would be sufficiently incentivized to not compel the hand of Government to forcefully use the new laws to engender needed transformation.
He said a CMPT strategy would be presented to Cabinet for approval before the end of the current financial year. Once approved, the strategy would allow for the targeting of investment opportunities in especially what he described as ‘low handing fruit’; coastal shipping of particularly bulk and liquid cargo along the country’s 3200km coastline.
Also the revised Merchant Shipping Act of 1951 would be presented to Parliament for formal approval in a few months, he said.
According to Mr Madiya, desperately needed and overdue transformation of the sector to create space for all South Africans would be all encompassing, inclusive of the utilization of the country’s vast ports land.
He said: “The National Ports Act is the biggest instrument to force the industry to transform. We are talking about what is happening in the real estate of the National Ports Authority and the Act responds to this. We feel we need to do something because that’s what the Act says.
“If your tenure comes to an end after 20-25 years, the law says you must vacate the port so that new tenants can come in and Transet has been very clear on this that whoever then participates, must have a minimum of 51% black ownership.
“We hope and we trust that we will be able to use those instruments to make sure that people who had never had an opportunity, are given an opportunity to participate in the ports space.”
Mr Madiya also confirmed the formal approval of the SAMSA Funding Model by the Department of Transport following a month’s long consultative process with stakeholders in the maritime sector.
He said with the approval, SAMSA could now begin to implement it in order to ensure a sustainable source of income going forward.
In addition, he said, a salvage strategy had also been finalized and the department would be engaging with SAMSA on what next was needed to be done to ensure effective implementation.
Further, Mr Madiya reemphasized the crucial role played SAMSA as the Department of Transport’s implementing agency, and that the department would do all in its power to ensure the agency was sufficiently empowered and resourced to pursue its mandate that includes the promotion of the country’s maritime interests locally and abroad.
To listen to the full speech of Mr Madiya, Click on the video below.
See also: South African shipowners for port efficiencies