South Africa records six commercial fishermen deaths in 2021 – six too many, according to SAMSA

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(SAMSA File Photo)

Pretoria: 20 January 2022

South Africa’s commercial fishing subsector suffered six (6) fatalities in 2021, a figure reflecting an increase of two more deaths compared with four (4) recorded in 2020, according to a report by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

In the report, (Marine Information Notice [MN 01-22]) released on Wednesday, SAMSA says the deaths of the six (6) fishermen occurred in four different incidents recorded in Paternoster (1), Dassen Island (2), Strandfontein (2) and Struisbaai (1), all in the Western Cape province.

In Paternoster, a fisherman lost his life when a small commercial fishing vessel capsized after hitting a submerged rock. A second crew member survived the incident. In another incident, two fishermen lost their lives after a small commercial fishing vessel hit a submerged object, some two nautical miles West of Dassen Island. The first fisherman was lost overboard while the second crew member suffered a fatal heart attack during the incident.

(SAMSA File photo)

In another case, two fishermen lost their lives after a small commercial fishing vessel washed ashore near Strandfontein. In the incident, one fisherman was found drowned and one other remained missing at sea. Another case involved the drowning of a fisherman after the vessel he was in, near Struisbaai, was swamped and sank.

“The South African Maritime Safety Authority notes the continuous occurrence of fatal incidents involving small commercial fishing vessels, either due to capsizing or exposure to inclement weather. Affected areas and communities will be engaged as a matter of urgency,”said the agency in a statement.

A data table of fatalities of commercial fishermen in South Africa since 1996 showed the Western Cape province region – whose maritime domain straddles three oceans, from the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean to the Indian Ocean, thereby constituting the country’s fishing mecca – has consistently suffered most fatalities (57% or 225) of the 397 recorded in the period. (1996-2021).

A SAMSA data table on South Africa’s commercial fishing vessels fatalities for the period 1996-2021 as contained in the SAMSA Marine Information Notice 1 of 2022 released in Pretoria on Wednesday (19 January 2022)

In fact, the table indicates that all fatalities recorded in the four years since 2018, totalling 17, involved small commercial vessels. By comparison, the second highest fatalities of commercial fishermen recorded in the period 1996-2021, totalling 137 occurred in the Eastern Cape province, with KwaZulu-Natal accounting for just 19 of the fatalities. The remainder, totalling 17 fatalities, is recorded as having occurred on the high seas, of which the first and last was recorded in 1998.

(SAMSA File Photo)

In a further breakdown, the SAMSA’s report indicates that the highest and consistent number of both vessels incidents at seas as well as resultant fatalities in the period between 2002 and 2021 involved small commercial vessels not exceeding 10 meters in length, with the exception of year 2008 when all fatalities recorded involved a vessel or vessels measuring 10-24m in length.

In terms of types of incidents leading to fatalities, SAMSA listed these as mainly involving vessels capsizing – which seemed to affect mostly vessels measuring less than 10m – fishermen falling overboard, collisions/grounding, and vessels foundered.

“The capsizing of small vessels is primarily due to four reasons: vessels at sea in unsuitable weather conditions, hauling of anchors over the side and not the bow, vessels too close to the shore, and overloading,” said SAMSA, adding that the proper counter-measure was for flotation aids to be worn at all times within the surf zone in order to reduce the number of fatalities.

According to SAMSA, the falling overboard incident category was the second largest contributor to commercial fishermen deaths, with fishermen suffering fatal accidents (getting lost at sea) while shooting or hauling fishing gear; at night when the vessel is steaming or during inclement weather.

These could be prevented, however, if all fishing vessels crews heeded necessary precautionary measures onboard vessels that include:

  • flotation aids being worn at all times on deck where the nature of the work can lead to a crew member being knocked overboard,
    crew members that go on deck while there is no fishing operation never doing so alone, especially at night; and
  • always wearing vessel safety harnesses when working near or at the side of the vessel
  • skippers and officers always taking into consideration the dangers of fatigue due to prolonged fishing operations and skippers and,
  • crew having safety briefings.
(SAMSA File Photo)

As for groundings, according to SAMSA none should occur at all if if the watchkeeping officers and crew adhere to the principles of good seamanship and watchkeeping. The same was true of founderings. “It is vital that skippers continually monitor all methods of receiving weather reports and consider if the fishing trip is safe in the predicted weather conditions. Early consideration should be given to seeking shelter when the predicted weather may endanger the vessel,”said SAMSA.

SAMSA said in addition to reaching out to commercial fishing communities affected by fatalities in 2021, a matter of priority this year, as a matter of standard practice: “SAMSA offers trauma counselling, assistance with securing UIF, COID and insurance and the facilitation of social grants through the Welfare Office (contactable either by phone: 021 421 6170 or via email addressed to Ms Nolundi Dubase ndubase@samsa.org.za).

“In addition, community and workplace seminars are offered, at no cost to the industry, on HIV/AIDS awareness and alcohol/substance abuse. Fishing operators are urged to review their Drug and Alcohol Policies and Procedures,” said SAMSA.

End

Amid a raging Covid-19 pandemic, SAMSA and Absa Bank collaborate to bring relief to poverty stricken subsistence fishermen.

Pretoria: 31 December 2020

Year 2020 will undoubtedly go down in history as having been the hardest year for most people, due largely to the spate and still ongoing ravages of the coronavirus SARS-2 (Covid-190) pandemic currently gripping the world since its outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The hardship for communities already steeped in poverty compounded by among other things, low rates of education and high rates of unemployment, has become more pronounced by the introduction of national lockdowns by Governments, in an attempt to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 infections.

In South Africa, among such communities are those of rural coastal regions made up of the country’s four provinces bordering its 3 200 kilometre coastline, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west through to the Indian Ocean in the east, and who irk support for their daily living through subsistence fishing.

Touched by the plight of specifically these rural coastal communities, and in a positive response to a Government call for support, in September 2020, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in collaboration with commercial bank, Absa and with assistance by the Moses Kotane Institute, launched a corporate social investment project intended to extend support to these communities in three of the coastal provinces: KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

Its aim, according to SAMSA, would be to bring about relief in two practical ways; firstly a once-off supply of food parcels to households in the three provinces, as well as training in basic maritime skills (mainly fishing related) as well as basic business management and entrepreunerial skills for subsistence fishermen including unemployed youths. Focus of the latter would primarily be on communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, with Northern Cape scheduled for the near future.

“This intervention was conceptualised to cover identified small-scale fishing communities in the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, with a plan to expand the project to other provinces beyond COVID-19. The project will focus on 47 cooperatives in Port St. Johns and Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape, as well as 48 community cooperatives in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Rural fishermen on the banks of the Orange River pictured earlier in December 2020

“Through the training intervention, SAMSA commits to ensuring safety awareness at sea and capacitating the coastal fishing community / fishermen through sustainable interventions that will assist them in their career and business endeavours,” said SAMSA in a statement.

On precisely the choice of these particular communities in the specific areas, SAMSA explained: “South Africa has a long history of coastal communities utilising marine resources for various purposes. Many of these communities and fishers have been marginalised through apartheid practices and previous fisheries management systems. In 2007, the government was compelled through an equality court ruling to redress the inequalities suffered by these traditional fishers. The Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal are some of the previously marginalised provinces, hence their choice as the first two provinces to be targeted by this intervention.”

Jointly funded by SAMSA and Absa to the tune of R3-million, the roll-out of the programme kicked off on the second last week of October – with food distribution occurring parallel the start of the fishermen’s skills development.

Food parcel distribution for 595 people first took place in the Eastern Cape region comprising the Alfred Nzo and King Dalindyebo Municipalities (Mbizana & Coffee Bay), following to which was Ray Nkonyeni Municipality in southern KwaZulu-Natal (500 people) and thereafter, communities in the Dawid Kruiper Municipality on the banks of the Orange River, in Upington, Northern Cape.

In the videos below, we reflect on this food distribution project in Northern Cape, where the event was also attended and addressed by SAMSA’s acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, accompanied by SAMSA’s head of Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, Mr Vusi September.

End

Organisations hard at work picking nurdles off the Cape Coast while investigation of source continues: SAMSA

Sudden surfacing of nurdles along the southern Cape coastline still under investigation according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) (SAMSA Photo File)

Pretoria: 17 November 2020

An investigation into how millions of nurdles came to envelope the Cape coast, from south of Port Elizabeth through George and nearby towns is currently still underway, while an effort is made to clean the coastline of the small plastic pellets.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in a statement in Pretoria on Tuesday. This was a further reaction to reports last month of the discovery of nurdles across the southern Cape coastline – from Fish Hoek in False Bay to Plettenberg Bay and lately, along the Eastern Cape coastline.

(Video courtersy of African News Agency [ANA])

According to SAMSA on Tuesday, the source of the nurdles is still unknown but the agency confirmed that this latest incident is not related to the spillage that occured in KwaZulu-Natal in 2017.

“Authorities are working hard to address the nurdles recently washing up along certain regions of the south Western Cape coastline from Fish Hoek in False Bay to Goukamma Marine Protected Area and Plettenberg Bay.

“The nurdles are also reported to be washing up along the Eastern Cape coastline, the exact locations are still to be confirmed.

“The authorities, including, the Departments of Transport, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, local authorities, NGOs and volunteer groups have all been working consistently to clean up nurdles washing up on beaches,” said SAMSA

The organisation described nurdles as “… small plastic pellets used in the manufacture of plastic products. In the raw stage (pre-moulded and packaged) they are not toxic to touch, but probably shouldn’t be chewed given the unknown synthetics that make up the pellets.

“However, once released into the marine environment they have a high attraction to harmful substances such as land-based pesticides, herbicides, other organic pollutants as well as heavy metals that end up in the ocean. At this stage they are very harmful to life, especially to wildlife when mistaken for food.”

SAMSA said: “The source of the nurdles is not yet confirmed but an investigation is currently ongoing and being led by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). These nurdles are not related to the spillage that took place in Kwazulu-Natal in 2017.

“While the investigation into the source of the nurdles is being undertaken, SpillTech has been appointed to assist and conduct clean-up efforts along the affected sections of coastline. Spilltech will also be storing the nurdles collected through clean-up efforts and are working with authorities, NGOs and volunteer groups to identify collection points and arrange the pick-up of nurdles.

“The extent of the clean-up operation is significant and is anticipated that the removal of nurdles from the affected coastline will continue for some time to come. The authorities and NGOs look forward to working with SpillTech as the lead agent for the duration of cleanup-operations.

“Spilltech can be contacted on 063 404 2128 for information on collection points and pick up of collected nurdles,” said SAMSA

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SAMSA/ABSA lend hand to country’s push back against Covid-19 pandemic rampage

Announces poverty alleviation initiative for marginalised rural coastal subsistence fishermen.

Pretoria: 13 October 2020

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed plans to launch a corporate social investment and sustainability initiative in October aimed at alleviating reportedly increasing poverty among some marginalised communities within the country’s maritime sector.

Funded to a tune of R3-million co-sponsored jointly by one of South Africa’s biggest commercial banks, Absa, and supported by skills development services provider, the Moses Kotane Institute; the SAMSA CSI&S conceived and driven initiative will, according to the authority, target largely marginalised subsistence fishermen in three coastal provinces; KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

“The collaboration which will be delivered in two phases will see both SAMSA and Absa committing R3- million to the project,” said SAMSA in a statement.

“The first phase which will be launching today and will comprise of the provision of immediate to near-term essential food support to communities in Mbizana and Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape and communities of Kwa-Xolo, Gamalahle, Ndizimakwhe, Umzumbe and Umdoni in the province of Kwazulu-Natal. Communities in the Northern Cape will be announced as soon as the interactions with the identified municipality are concluded.

“The second phase of the collaboration will see unemployed or retrenched local small-scale fishers and other fishing workersreceiving pre-sea training, skippers training and entrepreneurship training,” the statement read.

Absa, a Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed financial institution, is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups with a presence in 12 countries across the continent, also with representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, employing approximately 42 000 people.

Moses Kotane Institute on the other hand, is a KwaZulu-Natal (La Mercy, Durban) based higher education institution founded in 2007 and owned by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, with evolving focus now precisely on research and development, innovation and technology, as well as maritime and economics.

The poverty alleviation initiative jointly pursued by the parties, says SAMSA, is a much needed and sort-after intervention in the maritime economic sector.

According to SAMSA: “The spectre of the novel coronavirus (Covid-10) pandemic both in South Africa and globally continues to hog the news media headlines worldwide for its unprecedented devastating effect socially and economically.

“So far in South Africa, about 693 000 people have been infected and close on 17 000 have died since the outbreak of the virus in China in December 2019 and its spread to South Africa since March 2020. But equally devastating has been the effect the rapid spread of the virus has had on the economy, with scores of businesses all across the board having had to close down or drastically down-scale operations, leading to more than 2-million people now left without jobs in the second quarter of this financial year.

“At the same time, within the maritime economic sector, at the periphery of this ongoing economic devastation are subsistence fishermen across South African provinces, who irked a living through daily toil of fishing for home consumption and negligible sales, and whose lives have since turned for the worst, as are now facing dire poverty largely due in part to the necessary yet unfortunate interruption in economic activity brought by the declaration of a State of Disaster that saw a national Lockdown at five (5) levels imposed by Government since March 2020.”

SAMSA said with South Africa faced by the dire situation, national Government appealed to all able and willing South Africans to contribute towards alleviation of this big poverty challenge.

“Against the backdrop, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has responded by putting together a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and Sustainability driven project to directly alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on rural subsistence fishermen in the three provinces of the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Northern Cape with basic necessities, including capacitating them with requisite tools to sustain themselves and their communities going into the future.

“The project, undertaken in collaboration with ABSA and Moses Kotane Institute (MKA) rolls out from 19 October 2020 and should conclude in the first week of December 2020.”

Of the collaboration with Absa and MKI: “SAMSA and Absa are also pleased to have the Moses Kotane Institute (MKI) this collaboration. The MKI comes on board as a delivery partner, particularly on the training side of the intervention. MKI is an internationally recognised research, innovation and maritime institution driving economic development in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Stimulus packages come under focus for maritime economic sector: Presidency

DSC_8461Port Elizabeth: 09 February 2020

Tracking down a set of stimulus packages earlier announced by government, and the revival of an inter-ministerial committee focused on South Africa’s maritime economic sector are among key issues to be pursued in the short term, according to Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya.

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Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) Projects Focus: Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya (centre) flanked by (Left) Eastern Cape MEC for Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism and (Right), Deputy Minister of Public Enteprises, Mr Phumulo Masualle during their visit of maritime economic investment projects in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 05 February 2020

This, she pronounced on at the end of a whistle-stop visit to the Eastern Cape this past week along with Public Enterprises Deputy Minister, Mr Phumulo Masualle, to make an assessment of impacts as well as identify gaps in economic and investment programmes under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched in the area.

In their company were senior officials of the Eastern Cape government, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Nelson Mandela Bay local government officials, leaders of business, and others.

The projects visited included the fledgling bunkering services recently established off-shore in the precinct of the port of Port Elizabeth, the planned relocation of a fuel tank farm and a manganese ore dump currently settled at the port of Port Elizabeth, as well as energy generation investment projects currently underway at the Coega Industrial Development adjacent the Ngqurha deep water, also near Port Elizabeth,

The Deputy Ministers also utilised the opportunity of their visit to meet leaders of business in the maritime economic sector with direct and indirect interest in the operations, as well as aspiring and established small businessmen.

The visit took place amid varied concerns involving, on the one hand, groups of  environmentalists in the area worried about the possible highly negative impacts of the new bunkering services to the environment, while on the other hand, small business fears of being overlooked for business opportunities now arising from the bunkering services.

Reporting on their observations after visiting the projects on Wednesday morning, Ms Siweya described the developments as showing good progress while acknowledging the challenges faced by some both in terms of concerns of possible environmental threats as well as difficulties faced by investors and business in general in the sector.

Matters of express concern raised, she said, revolved around poverty of legislation governing the new bunkering services, but also shipping especially terms of tax legislation, and the apparent absence of financial support and incentives to encourage investment in the sector. In addition, constant interaction between government, business and civil society to ensure proper alignment was crucial to success, she said.

Ms Siweya said the country’s maritime economic was among sectors identified under the National Development Plan (2030) as key to economic development and expansion and deliberate focus on it was necessary.

To this end, an inter-ministerial committee established in 2015 and which had since become dysfunctional would be revived, In addition, she said, it had become clear that there was a need for financial support of businesses in the sector in the form of a maritime fund.

In this regard, she said: “In 2018, the President spoke about a stimulus package, and there were departments that received stimulus packages. We are going to follow up on that to establish how far they are… what has been done with the funding.”

For Ms Siweya’s full remarks on this and various other matters, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, at the imbizo attended by no less 150 people at a venue located adjacent the Coega Development Zone, leaders of business in the maritime sector as well as aspirant business people wasted little time expressing their displeasure on numerous challenges which they face and towards which they felt government was failing them.

For a full perspective on the proceedings, invest time on the following video. It is about an hour long but goes a long way in depicting the exchanges as they happened.

Key highlights include the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (video: 55th minute) revealing for the first time in public, the enmvisaged establishment of a dedicated fund in the Nelson Mandela Bay to both fund expenses towards environmental preservation (in the case of an oil spill from bunkering services) as well as  support small and medium businesses operating in the sector.

End.

 

 

 

 

South Africa gearing towards becoming one of the world’s maritime centres of excellence: SAMSA

DSC_2841.JPGPretoria: 06 August 2019

South Africa, geographically located at the southern tip of the African continent bordering on three vast oceans to the east, south and west; is on course to become one of the world’s maritime centres of excellence by 2030, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Key drivers towards this goal, according to the agency’s acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, include an entrenched and sustained good governance of the oceans, development and growth of the maritime economic sector, the latter which in turn requires extensive education and skills development.

Mr Tilayi said this while addressing about two thousand high school pupils during a one day Maritime Education Expo held at the King Sabata Dalindyebo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (KSD TVET) College in Coffee bay last Thursday.

The event, jointly organised by SAMSA’s Corporate Social Investment unit, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the KSD College was held to mark the launch of the celebration of the TVET Month (August) – an annual event now in its sixth year aimed at raising greater public awareness technical and vocational education and training as a viable, if important, alternative to academic university education.

Maritime education and skills development has yet to fully impact the country’s 50 TVET college network, however, and SAMSA took the opportunity to also raise awareness among high schools pupils about South Africa’s maritime status, the country’s maritime and marine sector generally and the opportunities that lie therein for both business investment, education and training, and economic development in general.

The event – the second of its kind in two weeks in the Eastern Cape – attended by also by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Buti Manamela; had also found fit with SAMSAs rural maritime programme.

The programme is focused currently on rural coastal areas which, although with total access to the 3 200 kilometers coastline of the country’s three oceans, and attaching to which is a 2.5-million squares kilometers of an exclusive economic zone at sea, lack the wherewithal to make use of it for economic and social benefit.

The SAMSA rural programme pursued in strategic partnerships with issue relevant stakeholders both in government and the private sector, involves awareness promotion, industry and basic skills development and jobs creation particularly in the marine tourism sub-sectors.

Mr Tilayi said South Africa’s Vision 2030 envisaged the country becoming one of the world’s maritime centres of excellence based both on its strategic geographical location as well as its vast knowledge and expertise on maritime issues. However, he said, good governance was a key tool towards the goal, as would be mass education and skills development.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO. SAMsA

Towards this goal, and as a means to incentive young school pupils, he offered the eight schools that released its pupils to attend the expo on Thursday, one bursary each, which would be fully funded by SAMSA

For his full remarks, click on the video below.

 

Meanwhile, in the main address of the event, Mr Manamela emphasised the importance the country now attaches to technical and vocational education and training as both a viable and crucial alternative route to the development of young people with skills they use almost immediately to gain meaningful employment.

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Mr Buti Manamela. Deputy Minister: Higher Education & Training

According to DHET, he said, one of the success stories of the department of the training section of the department’s portfolio was the expansion of the number of TVET colleges and the restoration of their reputation as institutions of education and training excellence.

Mr Manamela said for SA young people keen on education and skills development, distinct advantages of TVET colleges included they did require Grade 12 for admission, tuition was offered for free and skills acquired could be immediately applied either through industry employment or entrepreneurship.

For his full remarks, click on the video below:

The day was split into two parts – one third to the formal speeches and two-thirds to the expo, together lasting about five hours.

 

End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa’s elderly remain key players in socio-economic development: SAMSA

DSC_1811Pretoria 23 July 2019

South Africa’s elderly population is not without longer a purpose nor a significant continued contribution to the country’s socio-political and economic contribution, and it is only correct that it remains accommodated in programmes to develop the country.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which, in partnership with the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, hosted some 250 elderly people during a function to mark the international Mandela Day at the Mthatha dam on Thursday.

The choice of the massive dam (or lake, by some accounts) for the function was consistent with SAMSA’s expanded mandate to promote the environmental and economic potential value of the country’s inland waterways within context of the development of the country’s maritime and marine economic sector as espoused through the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.

The partnership for the event with the KSD Municipality, and to an extent, the KSD Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was part of a larger SAMSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) campaign in the part of the Eastern Cape that is part the agency’s rural development programme in coastal areas of the country involving mainly youth skills development and job creation.

As it were, Thursday’s Mandela Day celebration with the area’s elderly, had been preceded by a day long SAMSA initiated and driven youth awareness programme involving more than 2000 high school children who were introduced formally for the first time to maritime sector careers.

In marking Nelson Mandela Day annually, SAMSA has over the last few years not only encouraged its own employees to donate 67 minutes of their own time to worthy causes, but also consistently focused on and donated material goods, mainly warm winter blankets to the elderly countrywide.

The activity also consistently involved the staging of a main function to entertain and dine the elderly our the country’s population.

In Mthatha on Thursday, SAMSA Head of CSI, Ms Mapitso Dlepu said the focus on the elderly was both in appreciation of their massive contribution to growth and development of families and communities, as well continued involved in support of those communities.

Many grandparents particularly in the previously marginalised and poor communities, still continued to play an active role in the rearing of children and in support of their own grown children many of whom face unemployment. Government grants are shared with whole families just to ensure that life remained bearable for many.

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Ms Mapitso Dlepu. Head: Corporate Social Investment. SAMSA

However in addition, according to Ms Dlepu, it remained sensible that the elderly were not only recognised and acknowledged for their significant continued contribution, but were also kept informed of developments around them.

She said SAMSA’s statutory mandate to promote South Africa’s maritime interest both domestically and abroad essentially involved continuous engagement with communities through information sharing for greater public awareness of maritime sector issues.

Currently in the Eastern Cape, SAMSA is engaged jointly with the provincial government through the Office of the Eastern Cape Premier in an ongoing Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) the both provides basic maritime skills as well secure them jobs on cruise vessels worldwide. Since launch in 2017, no less than 1000 youths from the province have since been assisted this way.

She said it made sense that parents including the elderly were also occasionally appraised of these developments in order to broaden their awareness and solicit support.

For Ms Dlepu’s remarks click on the video below. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, KSD Municipality Executive Mayor, Mr D.N Nelani told the audience that plans for the transformation and development of the Mthatha Dam into a marine tourism attraction were underway. He said the plans have long been established but little had been achieved to date. This he said, would need to change soon as job creation was among key objectives of both the local and provincial governments.

He said the introduction of cruise vessel services at the massive dam would be instrumental in achieving the goal. For Mr Nelani’s full remarks, click on the video below

Spoken to as they dispersed in late afternoon on Thursday, many of the elderly had high praise for the effort and expressed appreciation that Government and its agencies was consistent in acknowledging their continued existence and contribution.

This blog spoke to a few of them in the following video:

For more pictures and videos of the Mandela Day 2019 function for the elderly in Mthatha, see  below

 

End

 

 

 

 

SAMSA not apologetic about approach of contribution to Eastern Cape development: Acting CEO

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Pretoria 24 June 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is not apologetic about the approach of its contribution to economic development in the Eastern Cape insofar as it is consistent with its legislated mandate to, among other things; promote South Africa’s maritime economic interests.

This is according to the agency’s acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in response to mounting criticism levelled against the agency with regards to its role in the attraction of investment into  bunkering services now operational in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, as well as its rural maritime economic development projects involving the basic skilling and recruitment of rural coastal youths into cruise tourism globally.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO. SAMSA

The latter initiative which has seen more than 300 youths trained and found employment in MSC cruise vessels across the world was launched in the province in 2017 with the financial backing of the Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape, and technical and administrative support by Harambe.

It was initiated in Gauteng in 2016 with the support of Gauteng provincial government and is open to all provinces keen on it.

The bunkering services – essentially an international fuel services station established in the port of Port Elizabeth ocean precinct at the initiation of SAMSA – also began operations in 2016.

Recently, certain groupings, involving mainly environmentalists, have mounted opposition to the venture – now involving three services providers inclusive of a black owned all women company – on fears of possible environmental degradation due to possible oil spillages.

In response during a formal function to mark the registration of a fifth vessel under the South African flag in the port of Port Elizabeth a week ago, Mr Tilayi said the introduction of the bunkering services in the city had been undertaken following careful assessment of its suitability for the international service to trade cargo vessels passing along the southern oceans of Africa.

In addition, he said SAMSA was the country’s agency tasked with prevention of pollution by ships along the country’s three oceans, and also responsible for ensuring the safety of people and property at sea. Therefore, it was incumbent upon SAMSA to make sure there was no environmental threat of the seas by the bunkering services.

IMG_2514Working jointly and closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs, SAMSA had ensured that no danger would be posed by the bunkering services in the Port Elizabeth coastal region beyond pure accidents and which, if experienced, would be managed according to approved safeguard processes already in place.

However, consistent with both SAMSA’s mandate as well as objectives of the Operations Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched in 2014, crucially, a major consideration was that the investment into the bunkering services was a necessary economic intervention for especially the region of the Eastern Cape province that had historically been ignored by previous government policies and initiatives.

He said contrary to claims by critics, the bunkering services had yielded positive results as it had to date generated sizeable financial income for the Nelson Mandela Bay region running into millions of rand and created employment for about 300-500 people directly and in downstream businesses.

DSC_0274.JPGBut in addition, broadly, SAMSA had directed its efforts towards rural coastal areas in the Eastern Cape province to contribute to both skills development as well as jobs creation for youth. This was undertaken through two projects, the SAMSA Rural Maritime Development Programme as well as the Maritime Youth Development Programme.

The RMDP involves three broad areas, basic maritime skills development, fishing and marine tourism. The MYDP is focused on basic skills development and placement of youths on cruise vessels.

DSC_0324.JPGAccording to Mr Tilayi, the targeting of rural coastal areas of the Eastern Cape for these services as opposite to hinterland areas, was deliberate and informed by a defined need to ensure direct participation and beneficiation of the communities closest to the oceans on oceans economy development that was right at their own doorstep.

“It is a great pity, and regrettable that some in the Eastern Cape are finding reasons to look down on and denounce our efforts. But we are not apologetic about our approach to contribution to development of the region and frankly, we would prefer partnerships and collaboration to ensure that people of this region participate and benefit.

“But we are grateful and encouraged that many others in this region, including especially the Eastern Cape provincial government, are giving full support to our endeavours”

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the issues, click on the video below.

End

 

 

Two SAMSA MYPD candidates tragically lose their lives in car accident

IMG_6949Pretoria: 19 June 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has extended its deepest condolences to the families and friends of two Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYPD) candidates who tragically lost their lives in a car crash this past long weekend.

According to SAMSA in a statement in Pretoria on Wednesday, the two candidates, Musawenkosi Qayiso and Fika Sibatoboto died on Friday (14 June 2019) while a third MYPD candidate survived without injury.

SAMSA said the survivor was receiving trauma counselling from a psychologist.  According to SAMSA, exact details of the accident would be known once an investigation was completed by authorities

Meanwhile, SAMSA confirmed that the funeral services for the two youths would take place in Mthatha and King William’s Town – both in the Eastern Cape – on Saturday, 22 June 2019.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO: SAMSA

Reacting to the tragic news, SAMSA Acting CEO Sobantu Tilayi said: “It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely and tragic passing of Musawenkosi and Fika. Our thoughts are with their families and friends in this dark time. They were promising mariners of whom a lot was expected and promised, and their loss is deeply felt.”

SAMSA established the MYPD in 2017 to provide opportunities in the maritime industry for young South Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds, living in informal settlements and marginalised communities.

DSC_8599.JPGAfter receiving training, successful MYPD candidates are placed on various cruise liners sailing across the world, as well as in other related industry jobs.

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South Africa’s ‘worst’ maritime disaster – the sinking of the S.S Mendi – relived at the 2017 World Maritime Day celebrations in Pondoland

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Pretoria: 03 October 2017

The staging of this year’s World Maritime Day celebrations at the Wild Coast town of Port St Johns in the O.R Tambo District Municipality of the Eastern Cape province, by some accounts, arguably proved its worth beyond the simple recognition of the region as among South Africa’s undeserving highly underdeveloped areas, yet with direct access to 800 km of ocean space.

 

By design, the event on Wednesday (27 September), the first of two days of celebration, provided an opportunity for the AmaMpondo clan to also formally commemorate the 100th year of the sinking of the S.S Mendi – a 4000 ton British steamship that perished off the English Channel in 1917 along with just over 600 black South Africans soldiers, and dozens of whom were from the O.R Tambo District Municipality.

PrintAccording to historical record, among those who perished during the sinking of SS Mendi were AmaMpondo chiefs Hendry Bokleni, Dokoda, Richard Ndamase, Mxonywa Bangani and Mongameli, and the Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha.

The O.R Tambo district municipality settled along the Eastern Cape’s coastline is named after one of South Africa’s most famous liberation struggle icons and former president of the African National Congress, the late Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo who – along with Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela – was born in Mbizana and whose political contribution to the country’s liberation is also being celebrated in the country throughout 2017.

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S.S Mendi Troopship Tragedy film  creater and narrator, Mr Mzwanele ‘Zwai’ Mgijima of Port Elizabeth (Standing) addressing mostly high school pupils and their teachers about the making the film, S.S Mendi Troopship, at World Maritime Day 2017 celebration event on Wednesday, 27 September 2017, in Port St Johns that was also dedicated to the memory of the sinking of the S.S Mendi.

At last Wednesday’s World Maritime Day event staged at Port St Johns’ golf course, in a uniquely refreshing, educational and entertainingly fun way, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) through its Maritime Heritage project, brought to life the tragic sinking of the S.S Mendi a century ago this year via a docu-drama film –  Troopship Tragedy – that was presented by its creator, researcher and narrator; Mr Mzwanele ‘Zwai’ Mgijima of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

The almost hour long movie’s production in 2015 was directed by Marion Edmunds.

DSC_1082 (3)For his very presence at the event, Mr Mgijima, a stage actor and storyteller who, during production of the film, traveled from the rural O. R Tambo District Municipality area to England to find the sunken S.S Mendi and bring back to South Africa the spirits of the SA Native Labour Contingent’s members who perished therein, was as much a source of amazement and delight for the approximately 500 school learners and teachers at the event as was the film presentation itself.

The World Maritime Day event, an annual celebration driven by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) was staged in Port St Johns this year through a collaborative effort involving government departments including Transport, Tourism, Basic Education, the Eastern Cape Provincial Government and SAMSA; to also observe the centenaries of the sinking of the S.S Mendi, and O.R Tambo’s birth (were he alive this year).

 

The inclusion of a maritime heritage aspect followed to last year’s very successful inauguration of the SAMSA Maritime Heritage Project during the 38th World Maritime Day celebrations held at the Xhariep Dam in the Free State, in collaboration with  the South African National Heritage Council.

Remarking during last Thursday’s event, Mr Mgijima said: “I hastened to say yes to the invitation because I was going to interact with learners from local schools when watching the film, the SS Mendi Troopship Tragedy”.

“To me”, he said, “this was knowledge dissemination in real time as the film was researched and shot in Pondoland. That, for me, was like going back to the source!

 

“What humbled me most,” said Mr Mgijima, “was the fact that a group of learners and their teachers came back with their lunch packs to watch the film: they never touched their food while watching it!”

“’I teach them about the Mendi – their forgotten history’ a voice from their teacher.

“It was all silent during the viewing of the film. A dream realized by me that the history has been told through water and land,” concluded Mr Mgijima.

*The South African Maritime Safety Authority has a copy of the movie for its archives.

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