Peaceful co-existence with the natural environment should soon take on a whole new meaning from this weekend for a KwaZulu-Natal community virtually water-locked by a river upon which modern bridges are by law not allowed to be constructed even as the surrounding deep waters are infested with crocodiles and other indifferent water based animals.
The community of Enkovukeni will on Friday host a delegation of public and private officials led by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and the acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi; on a visit to deliver to the community a whole range of developmental materials, including boats, all intended to assist the community in its day to day strife with a water-centred life.
Confirming the event postponed from last month to this week in order to allow for more input by other interested parties, in a public media statement on Tuesday evening, the Department of Transport wrote:
The Department of Transport, supported by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) invites members of the media to the handing over ceremony of basic essential services including boats and engines to the Enkovukeni community on Friday, 9 September 2016 in KwaZulu-Natal.
The small impoverished rural community which is situated in the north of KwaZulu-Natal forms part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. The Park is South Africa’s first world heritage site.
This initiative is part of the Umhlabuyalingana Outreach Project which was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project by SAMSA. The community of Enkovukeni in KwaZulu-Natal was identified as a beneficiary. SAMSA proposed a partnership with other stakeholders to accelerate delivery of services and bring immediate and long term relief to the community.
Enkovukeni is a thin 5km strip of land, practically an island, stretching from Bhanga Neck to Kosi Bay Mouth with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Kosi Bay lake system on the other. The area is virtually only accessible by foot or make shift canoes which residents currently use.
The community faces various socio-economic challenges including lack of sufficient infrastructure and limited access to social and other services.
This initiative is sponsored by Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.
The Deputy Minister of Transport Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and members of the community will also grace the event.
Issued by: Department of Transport
This blog and related platforms will carry the highlights of the important function .
SAMSA and Department of Transport kickstart an initiative to assist Enkovukeni Community in KwaZulu Natal with water transport in a symbolic gesture associating with the spirit of Nelson Mandela International Day
Pretoria: Friday 19 August 2016
(Please note that this article has been updated to correct place names and geo-location of Enkovukeni)
Forever wading through deep waters to cross a river while constantly having to negotiate inherently pointless truces with feisty hippos and hostile crocodiles could soon be a thing of the past for the community of Enkovukeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
This could be as soon as next month (September 2016), ahead of the summer rains, when an initiative by the Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other Maritime partners to alleviate the plight of the community hopefully gets underway.
Central to the initiative conceived this year as a symbol to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day, is the enhancement of general safety and security of the community through provision of water transport for use in navigating a crocodile and hippo infested river adjacent the village.
SAMSA and the DoT said they had secured cooperation with various partners in the private sector to contribute to the initiative called The Umhlab’uyalingana Outreach project, to provide water transport and related resources to the community, and the parties were currently seeking actively to also involve other Government Departments in order to expand and maximize resources to assist the community.
This effectively altered plans to launch the community initiative on Saturday, August 20 as initially planned.
According to SAMSA and the DoT this week, the initiative to render assistance with water transport was decided upon following to news reports that depicted apparently calamitous living conditions facing the Umhlab’uyalingana community emanating largely from dangers associated with its unavoidable use of the Wasbank River.
“The initiative was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project in recognition of former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July. This year, official Mandela Day activities centred around four key areas, namely literacy and education, food security, shelter and infrastructure as well as the environment.
“The community of Enkovukeni has multiple needs and some of them fall within the DoT and SAMSA’s broad areas of operation. The community was profiled as being cut out by a crocodile and hippo infested river from the rest of the community. There is no bridge to cross the river, leaving the community with having to swim across it and face all the attendant risks.
“(But) apart from the basic need for access, the community has other needs that range from food security to basic water safety. The above are the reasons that this community was chosen as a beneficiary,” said SAMSA.
The DoT agency responsible for the country’s maritime safety and environmental integrity added that engagements were currently underway with other Government Departments through the DoT to ensure the initiative had maximum impact.
The idea is to mobilise stakeholders to partner with the DoT and SAMSA in bringing immediate relief to the community by donating boats and other water safety means to cross the crocodile and hippo infested river; mobilise for the donation of basic supplies; create synergies with other partners and stakeholders to bring long term and sustainable relief to the community of Ekuvukeni particularly means of leveraging the tourism potential of the area; and empower the community to develop long term projects that will ensure that basic services are delivered, said SAMSA.
According to SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi the expansion of the initiative followed to needs assessments made with community representatives.
“There is a need for interdepartmental responses into the challenges faced by the community. It is key for us to bring the private and public sector together to focus in on the area and provide the infrastructure required for their lives to be uplifted. We will continue to monitor the progress of the work we have started and in September during the launch, the fruits of this public-private partnership will be realised. An intergovernmental task team will also be engaged to provide the much needed support,” he said.
Meanwhile, private sector partners confirmed so far according to SAMSA and the DoT include Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.
It was reported that the KZN Sharks Board had allocated two student groups, who this week started with the building of the boats.
The report quoted KZN Sharks Board Education Project Specialist, Vincent Zulu as saying: “We are using an old hull. We will add the rails, compartments, the seating area, steering, and built in oars. The boat would be able to seat 12 people. There are crocodiles and hippos in this dam, and during the raining season water is deep, which means the people have to walk around to find a shallow area to cross the river. The boat would be able to manoeuvre in deep areas and the risk of people being attacked would be minimised.”
As part of the initiative, the board’s Maritime Excellence Centre would also conduct a one week long SAMSA accredited skipper’s course to teach the community how to handle the boats and to help advance their aquaculture skills.
South Africans might hurriedly get used to and settle permanently with the knowledge that their’s is a maritime country whose vast oceans remain central to its economic development into the future, according to Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.
Ms Chikunga told mourners at a funeral of a senior manager of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo; in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend that the development of the country’s maritime economy – long suffering neglect yet with abundant economic resources – was now firmly in government’s national agenda and that no effort was being sparred by the State to ensure that requisite infrastructure, along with appropriate human skills were invested upon.
According to government estimations, South Africa’s oceans inclusive of an Exclusive Economic Zone equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers along a coastline equivalent some 3900km, have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and create more than one million jobs by 2033.
Ms Chikunga is the designated cabinet minister for co-ordination of South Africa’s maritime economic sector development and which effort is being pursued through the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme – a joint initiative between the State, the private sector as well as educational and research institutions.
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) was launched in October 2014 targeting for rapid development over the next five years, five subsectors of the country’s maritime economy; Off-shore Oil and Gas, Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Marine protection services and Ocean governance, Aquaculture and Marine Tourism.
Ms Chikunga bemoaned the premature death of Ms Nhlumayo, an executive head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence; whom she described as having been a major contributor to both the country’s tourism strategy development as well as a key national figure in the promotion of development of the maritime economic sector.
Ms Nhlumayo (45), also a PhD candidate in maritime economy studies at the Sweden-based World Maritime University, as well as a multi-award winner inclusive of the Institute of People Management (IPM) “Business Leader of the Year 2015”, died of cancer on 11 February 2016.
Ms Nhlumayo had been central to development and implementation of national human resources skills development initiatives for particularly the maritime sector and had been instrumental in forging relationships between national and international education institutions inclusive of the World Maritime University that now has direct links with the Port Elizabeth based Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Since 2012 as many as 22 South Africans have read for Masters and Doctoral degree in maritime studies at the World Maritime University. In addition, several other South African youths, supported by SAMSA; are enrolled for maritime economy studies in Vietnam. Similar opportunities are currently being explored with institutions in the Phillipines.
Ms Chikunga said Ms Nhlumayo’s death was unfortunate as it came at a time when SAMSA was gathering speed with several of its promotional programmes of the country’s maritime economic sector and which has now seen commercial cargo vessels carrying the country’s flag for the first time in more than 30 years.
Two of these were registered late in 2015, while according to SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; 12 others are currently awaiting approval.
For Ms Chikunga’s full remarks, view the video clip: (Warning: the deputy Minister’s entire speech is in isiZulu)
Staying constantly in touch with SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) financially sponsored students at the country’s various education institutions is among key priorities for Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, the executive head of the organization’s Centre for Maritime Excellence and to which SAMSA’s maritime economic sector education, training and skills development program is entrusted.