Updated to include two videos of employees messages.(For these, please scroll down.)
Pretoria: 26 December 2018
It is often stated as a truism that time flies past quite quickly when fun is had, and that the opposite is just as true when the going is tough. Whether or not there be any truth in the claims, what is an indisputable fact is that with each passing year of existence, gains are achieved and milestones reached.
The same is true of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which clocked its 20th year of existence in 2018 and whose founding in 1998 has led to a series of achievements and milestones reached in especially the country’s maritime economic sector.
It’s an ongoing story repeatedly told as events unfold and whose chunks and snippets are to be found on this blog – a communication platform established in 2015 for the express purpose of information sharing with the public about SAMSA and its activities in pursuing and furthering South Africa’s maritime interests consistent with its mandate.
Indeed, in a hour long interview with an international publication in March 2018 and which was subsequently repackaged in video format for this blog’s audience, SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi tells the story of SAMSA and some of its remarkable achievements and challenges in its 20 years of existence.
However, it is a history of performance commonly known and told also by stakeholders among them the main shareholder, Government, through the holding ministry, the Transport Department.
In the series of videos below, developed especially to mark SAMSA’s 20th anniversary during the course of the past year, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, in congratulating the agency, tells of her experiences with SAMSA, as do several others, among them chief executives and other senior managers of private sector companies, foundation education pupils as well as SAMSA’s own employees.
The seven (7) videos range in length from about two (2) minutes 30 seconds to about 10 minutes, all with congratulatory messages to the organization. In addition, Mr Tilayi shares a message to stakeholders that mark the milestone of a 20 years toll by SAMSA in promoting South Africa’s maritime interests, among other issues.
Video 1: Mr Sobantu Tilayi [2:37)
Video 2: Deputy Minister of Transport – Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga [2:30)
Video 3: SAMSA Stakeholders Group 1 [10:00]
Video 4: SAMSA Stakeholders Group 2 [5:20)
Video 5: SAMSA Bursary Holders (Simon’s Town Lawhill Maritime Centre) [6.30]
It is not unusual for people working for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – spread across the length and breadth of the country’s waterways – to be mistaken for workers of the popular Asian smartphone maker, Samsung; an apparent ‘mistake’ followed almost immediately by curious, yet polite requests for phone repairs or news of models planned for the future.
In fact, this is barely out of place considering that even the mention of the marine or maritime sector, for some people – a large number – conjures up thoughts and feelings related to marriage! ‘It’s marrying time?’
In a country that’s practically and literally maritime in its geographic makeup at the southern tip of Africa, surrounded by no less than three oceans (the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Southern Ocean to the south and the Indian Ocean to the east) with a coastline of some 3200 kilometers, covering at least four of the country’s nine provinces (Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal), and central if not crucial to it a 1.5-million square kilometers of an exclusive economic zone, it should come as a surprise the apparent low level of public knowledge about and engagement with the marine and maritime economic sector.
Reasons for this clear anomaly are varied yet not hard to fathom. Summarily, past political and economic activities generally exclusive for many, are to blame.
For this reason, in addition to statutory and necessary activities it conducts consistent with its mandate, inclusive of furthering South Africa’s maritime economic interests, SAMSA regularly and consistently shares as much information as is necessary and possible about its role as well as the general maritime economic sector to as many constituencies as can be reached.
It was for partly this reason also that earlier in 2018, SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi took time to sit down with a couple of international journalists from the Oil & Gas Journal to explain what SAMSA’s role is in the country’s maritime economic sector and how this sector is shaped to contribute to the South African economy within context of the “New Dawn” concept now espoused by new leadership of the ruling party, the ANC.
In the hour long interview, which this blog was allowed to record, Mr Tilayi covers a whole range of issues involving the role of SAMSA – ranging from protecting the oceans’ environment, lives of seafarers as well as ships at sea, to initiatives on taxation and other legislative reforms, education, training and skills development, job creation and engagement with similar and relevant regional and international institutions including the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – all in the interest of promoting the maritime economic sector.
The video interview presented here is split into four sections of a 15 minutes duration per section.
South Africa’s five inland provinces, Free State, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have as much opportunity as their four coastal provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape) to make a telling positive impact in extracting both economic and social value in the country’s maritime and marine sectors, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
In fact, according to SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the state agency is keen on making sure this occurs through its Maritime Rural Support Programme (MRSP) launched three years ago in KwaZulu-Natal and which has already touched rural areas of the Eastern Cape and now being extended to the Mpumalanga Province.
Central to it is the engendering and inculcation of an entrenched culture of education, training and skills development in the maritime sector with lasting positive impacts on entrepreneurship development and ultimately fruitful careers and job creation.
The extension of SAMSA’ MRSP – comprising of elements of corporate social investment and separately funded joint initiatives with various parties in both the private and public sectors – to Mpumalanga Province was revealed by Mr Sobantu during this year’s celebration of the World Maritime Day at Badplaas (eManzana) on Thursday and Friday last week.
Describing the province bordering both Mozambique to the north east and Swaziland to the south east, as among those endowed with vast waterways comprising no less than 20 big dams, Mr Tilayi said it would be remiss that such vast natural marine endowment was not responsibly full exploited for the benefit of the broad community of the area through maritime and marine skills development, entrepreneurship involving primarily tourism, as well as job creation along the value chain.
From a SAMSA perspective – which is charged with responsibility for safety and security involving essentially the licensing of small vessels as well as skippers utilising the country’s waters ways for any reason – the opportunity is vested in ensuring that there are sufficient trained officials to monitor compliance in all areas.
Mr Tilayi said SAMSA’s planned intervention in Mpumalanga would include
focus in this area whereby it would seek to work with both provincial and local government institutions with a view to establishing a program to produce skilled officers to conduct surveys and carry out licensing inspections.
The second anticipated intervention would involve facilitating the establishment of a youth oriented entrepreneurial venture encompassing marine tourism services offering boating excursions across the province’s dams. This would start small with a pair of matric pupils from a school in the Gert Sibande District Municipality who had approached SAMSA for assistance with a skipper’s license.
The pupils from the Zinikeleni Secondary School in Carolina won many hearts with a demonstration of model of a functional ‘cruise’ vessel they designed, constructed and exhibited at the event on Thursday and Friday. For a view of the demonstration click on the video below.
A third SAMSA intervention in the Mpumalanga Province would involve the broadening of the agency’s Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) involving the identification, training and deployment of youths on tourists cruise liners across the world. He said the country currently has an allowance of up to 1200 placement opportunities on cruise liners worldwide per annum, with the Eastern Cape leading in taking advantage of the programme since 2017.
The final intervention may, according to Mr Tilayi, involve the identification of matric pupils in the area for training as naval architects – a skills area he described as experiencing a huge gap in South Africa as a whole.
SAMSA’s approach, said Mr Tilayi would seek direct engagement and close collaboration among all affected and interested parties but particularly the Mpumalanga provincial government, local municipalities, schools and related.
For Mr Sobantu’s full remarks on these initiatives earmarked for Mpumalanga Province in 2018/19, click on the video below.
Meanwhile, Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, in applauding the SAMSA initiatives, emphasized the critical importance of each of the parties playing fully their respective roles in delivering on the goals.
Also adding its weight to the maritime education and skills development programme earmarked for Mpumalanga province, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Shulami Qalinge announced a R20 000 worth sponsorship to the Amanzi Primary School for swimming lessons conducted national by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
Talent nurturing as part of a broad based skills development strategy for South Africa’s economy, but particularly the country’s maritime economic sector, remains a top priority according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The remarks by SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi came at the weekend as the government agency hosted a send-off event for one of its employees, Mr Siphosenkosi Mthembu who jetted off on Saturday to Malmo, Sweden for a two-year academic study at the World Maritime University.
Mr Mthembu will be pursuing a Master’s level course of study in Shipping and Logistics, supported by both the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) and SAMSA.
Mr Mthembu embarks on the academic study in Europe having spent close on six (6) years as an employee of SAMSA in its certification unit, a service record that began in 2013 shortly after he’d completed his junior degree in maritime studies at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), following to which he also acquired a post graduate degree in maritime studies through the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
SAMSA’s support of Mr Mthembu includes his retention as an employee of the organization on his return in a year and a half from 2018.
Speaking shortly after an event on Thursday last week to bid Mr Mthembu farewell, and which was attended by some of his family members, Mr Tilayi said that while South Africa’s economy currently was being battered on all sides by indicators that clearly reflected that not all was well, it was not time to fold arms and prepare for better times.
The drive towards improvement of education and skills development and placement of especially talented South African through institutions of learning, in the country and abroad, should not slow down but speed up
“We are very tight on skills particularly in the maritime economic sector and it is initiatives of this nature that we want to support as SAMSA. It is people like Sipho who’ve demonstrated talent that we want to lend all the support we can.”
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks, click on the three minutes video below.
For his part, Mr Mthembu was ecstatic for having gained the opportunity and support to further his maritime education studies particularly at an international institution dedicated to education and training in the sector. He will be joining the ranks of several other South Africans who have studied at World Maritime University since the programme was initiated by SAMSA jointly with other partners about four years.
For a brief chat with Mr Mthembu click on the three minutes video below.
Efforts by the South African government to hasten the pace of developing the country’s ocean transport sector and precisely through rapid growth in registration of more cargo carrying vessels under the country’s flag, took yet another positive step forward this week following to a historic agreement between shipping owners, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Mineral Resources Council of South Africa to enter formal discussions.
The development came about during the first formal South Africa Shipping Industry Workshop organized by SAMSA and held at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on Tuesday. Participants included representatives of various Government institutions and departments inclusive of transport (DoT), mineral resources (DMR), Trade and Industry (DTI) Treasury, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) as well as private sector ship owners and the minerals industry representatives under the Mineral Resources Council of South Africa (MRCSA).
It was the first of a series of workshops planned by SAMSA for the country’s shipping subsector.
According to SAMSA, the issue focused consultations with directly affected and or interested role players in South Africa’s shipping transport subsector both in the private and public sphere, along with important current and potential contributors in the value chain, are an effort to hasten the pace of development of shipping ownership in South Africa to address a range of socio-economic development matters.
These include transformation in the sector through actual increased ownership of shipping vessels under the South African flag by a diverse group of people, increasing the share of rendered services in the subsector, as well as enhance opportunities for maritime skills development.
Of the country’s minerals mining sector in particular, according to Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer of SAMSA, the drive to draw the sector into the fray comes against the backdrop that much of South Africa cargo for trade export – estimated at 300-millions tons per annum valued at about R110-billion – comes from the sector.
This, he says, is particularly true of manganese and iron ore as well as coal.
Yet, of about 13 000 trade cargo vessels reporting at South Africa ports to deliver imports and ship out local produce annually, only less than a handful of vessels registered under the country’s flag are participating, a clear indicator, he says, that the local economy is barely benefitting its own people through the shipping business as hugely as it could.
This he says, is inconsistent with both country’s National Development Plan (NDP) as well as other socio-economic development needs.
He said while by law, the Government could stipulate what it considers an equitable share of cargo for locally registered ship owners and has occasionally been encouraged to do so, SAMSA felt it prudent to rather first give opportunity for engagement with all stakeholders in discussions and persuasion towards a shared common goal.
Speaking of Tuesday’s first workshop in the series he said: “We thought it would be proper for us to get this small grouping of people just so that we begin find that one value proposition for South Africa Inc. We chose stakeholders within the bulk shipping industry such as the cargo owners and ship owners as well as policy makers and regulatory authorities.
“The intention was to find all the impediments in the subsector so that we can move on to find out what it is that we need to do to extract maximum value for the South African economy.
“This is the first of a series that we plan to hold with all role-players in the shipping industry, the next being that involving liquid bulk and also general cargo.
“I am pleased to say that the initiative was indeed worthwhile as we have now agreed with the Minerals Resources Council of South Africa for the first time ever to enter formal engagement with their members about this, but also Treasury committing to a process to clear out all the remaining tax issues affecting the shipping subsector,” said Mr Tilayi.
Meanwhile, in yet another positive development, Mr Tilayi confirmed that the South African Ship Registry could see more vessels registered – with at least two more before the end of 2019. This latest edition would bring to about half-a-dozen ships in the registry, with three others likely to come onto the group early in the new year.
For more on this as well as the views of one of South Africa’s newest ship owner, Thuso Mhlambi, financial director at Linsen Nambi Bulk Services, click on the two videos below (3 and 2 minutes respectively).
Video 1: Mr Sobantu Tilayi
Video 2: Mr Thuso Mhlambi
More videos of the actual discussions on Tuesday will be place on this blog soon.
Public and private sector partnerships remain crucial to advancement of redevelopment and transformation of particularly formerly marginalized communities in South Africa inclusive of those directly affected and impacted by the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
The view was expressed by SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi during launch of the State agency’s maritime rural support programme for the Ingquza Municipal Area in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 01 August 2018 – an event deliberately tied to also mark the celebration of the Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Centennial currently underway countrywide.
The Ingquza Municipal Area in Lusikisiki – some 45 kilometres north-east of Port St Johns – comprises two land settlement nodes, Mbotyi and Msikaba – that are part of South Africa’s globally renowned Wild Coast stretching for more than half of the Eastern Cape Province’s 900km coastline on the Indian Ocean.
Owing to both historical and current socio-political dynamics, the rural communities here, although settled in an area that by some accounts is endowed with some of the world’s best natural resources, with massive maritime economic development potential; remain poor, marked by high unemployment rates.
In launching the SAMSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) driven rural support programme in the area on Wednesday, jointly with the Ingquza Hill Municipality, Mr Tilayi said this was intended to provide certain interventions that would hopefully both assist the local community with maritime sector skills development as well as draw business investment in sustainable entrepreneurial ventures to uplift and improve lives of the people here.
Pivotal to the endeavor would be public and private sector partnerships informed by and involving direct participation of the inhabitants of Ingquza.
To this end, Mr Tilayi said the package of interventions aimed for the area would follow the recommended format, and their primary goal being to facilitate the training of especially local youth with a set of maritime sector related skills that would enable them to either set up their small enterprises or acquire meaningful employment within the country’s broad maritime sector.
According to Mr Tilayi, the intervention at Ngquza Municipal was a countrywide corporate social investment programme by SAMSA that began a few years ago and now with foot-marks in provinces including KwaZulu-Natal.
In the Eastern Cape Province, the Ngquza area initiative follows to a similar intervention conducted at nearby Port St Johns in 2017.
At Ngquza Municipal area, SAMSA working jointly with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board and the local municipal government, will focus on a skills development programme over a three months period beginning September 2018, involving diving (open water and advanced to master level), life guarding, fishing, coastal and marine tourism, maritime heritage boats repairs and general skills such as youth leadership and entrepreneurship.
Targeted will be youths between the ages of 16-35 years old who, strictly, are resident in the area.
In addition, proposed activity may include the erection of a cold storage facility for local subsistence fishermen that will also incorporate a boat repair centre.
No less than R3.5-million is expected to be expended in the first phase of the skills development initiative alone.
Explaining why the initiative was pegged on the Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Centennial celebrations, Mr Tilayi said it was befitting that the elderly in South Africa remain fully part of all efforts to develop their communities as, he said, they constitute a bedrock of social cohesion and provide support to most youth, especially the unemployed.
To this end, SAMSA used the event to provide warm winter blankets to some 400 elderly people above the age of 60 years old as well as hosted them to a luncheon.’
SAMSA celebrates Nelson Mandela Day 2018 with the elderly
A joint initiative between government, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations to not only skill but create job opportunities in the maritime economic sector will pay off for 97 Eastern Cape youths this week, when they are officially sent off to join tourism cruise vessels sailing across the world.
A ceremony to wish them well in their new venture into the maritime world is to be held on Wednesday in Port St Johns, an Eastern Cape town on the spectacular Wild Coast region of the Indian Ocean, midway between East London and Durban.
The joint partners in the MYDP Eastern Cape initiative include the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, and Harambee.
More than half the youths due for send-off on Wednesday – some for their first jobs ever – are from the O.R Tambo District Municipality, and precisely Port St Johns; an area that is targeted this current year for a series of maritime sector related projects, primarily by SAMSA, for both maritime awareness and associated youth skills development and local community social upliftment.
But perhaps crucially, the SAMSA inspired and driven MYDP’s impact in the O.R Tambo District Municipality occurs against the backdrop of a Government announcement last week that Port St Johns has been declared one of six nodes in the country to be targeted for an Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) marine and coastal development programme over the next five years.
In a statement last week, Department of Tourism Minister, Ms Tokozile Xasa said following to Cabinet approval earlier this month, the Coastal and Marine Tourism Plan would be implemented in a nodal or cluster approach that would prioritize destinations rather than individual tourism projects or products.
She said the identified nodes/clusters in the first phase of up to five (5) years) would involve five geographic areas encompassing (Node 1) Durban and surrounds and (Node 2) Umkhanyakude District including Umhlabuyalingana and surrounds – all in the KwaZulu-Natal province; (Node 3) Port St Johns to Coffee Bay and (Node 4) East London, Port Elizabeth and surrounds – in the Eastern Cape province; (Node 5) Cape Town and surrounds in the Western Cape province and finally, (Node 6) West Coast and surrounds in the Northern Cape province.
Meanwhile, regarding Wednesday’s event in Port St Johns, according to SAMSA on Tuesday, the successful placement of the 97 youths on cruise vessels worldwide beginning September 2017, is a major achievement as it exceeds an original target of 50 youths originally planned for the first send-off.
“We are pleased that the EC project has been a resounding success. We completed the entire preparation process at the end of last week with MSC interviewing the final 128 candidates that successfully completed the training program.
“MSC Cruises has agreed to place 97 candidates in this year’s intake that starts from 1 September. This number far exceeds he initially agreed target of 50, which was our SLA with the client, Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape. This means we exceeded our target by 80% or we had an 180% achievement,” said SAMSA Programme Manager for Operation Phakisa initiatives (Marine Transport and Manufacturing Delivery Unit), Mr Sizwe Nkukwana.
Mr Nkukwana along with some senior SAMSA management headed by Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr Sobantu Tilayi will join Eastern Cape Premier, Hon. Phumulo Masaulle – MPL, Eastern Cape provincial government officials, local traditional leadership, officials of the O.R Tambo District Municipality at the send-off ceremony tomorrow, which will characterized by a colourful display of AmaMpondo cultural activities including dance.
‘’The time to work with young people, to alter positively their future prospects and fortunes is now. As an entry point it is good that these young people are getting this kind of exposure and opportunity, to actually work on cruise liners to gain that international outlook and experience.
“It is also important that we do not position to only take up the lower layers level jobs in the sector, but we must move to empower these young people to go on to captain these ships, to be the engineers and ports officials and so, in essence, we must strive to penetrate all sectors including scarce skills in the maritime space’’, says Premier Masualle.
The event to be held at Port St Johns 2nd Beach – notorious for some spectacular shark attacks these last few years – will be beamed live on SABC radio and television (MorningLive as well as on Umhlobo Wenene, Trufm and local radio stations).
The ceremony in three stages; a media session, a maritime exhibition and formal send-off, begins at 7am in the morning through to 2pm in the afternoon.
World Maritime University (WMU) leader and academic, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry visited South Africa for a week last week and apparently left very impressed with the progress being achieved in relations between her Malmo, Sweden-based educational institution and South Africa.
Dr Doumbia-Henry whose meetings in the country – from Sunday to Wednesday last week – began with senior government officials, among them Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters and her deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and later leaders of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta); said she was particularly impressed by the contribution now being made by dozens of local officials and maritime sector experts who achieved their post graduate education in maritime at the WMU over the last few years.
On Tuesday, she’d spent the better part of the day with at least about a dozen of the WMU alumni at SAMSA’s head office in Pretoria, and during which meeting the group – all of whom work for SAMSA – shared their work experiences and insights back in the country since their graduation in Malmo over the last few years. The meeting was also attended by a group of SAMSA senior management representatives as well as the DoT director, Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane
In an interview with this blog, The 10th Province shortly thereafter, Dr Doumbia-Henry was full of praise about the nature and level of the graduates involvement in programmes intended to enhance the rapid yet sustainable development of the country’s maritime economic sector inclusive of environmental protection of the ocean space, safety of personnel in the sector, the upholding of laws relevant to the ocean spaces as well as research and innovation.
She confirmed that she was in the country to strengthen relations with both Government – which has been the main supporter and contributor to the annual dispatch of South Africans to WMU since 2012 – as well as tidy up mutual bilateral relations with education and training institutions such as the NMMU, SAIMI and related; and leaders of the first two, Professor Derrick Swartz and Professor Malek Pourzanjani whom she spend some considerable time with between Sunday and Wednesday.
In the following video, Dr Doumbio-Henry fully outlines the purpose of her visit as well as her impressions of the country.
South Africa’s maritime economic sector development programme, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will need to speedily live up to its name and ‘hurry up’ sooner than later if it is to draw any significant investment into the sector, in the process laying conducive conditions for business development and job creation, Mr Christopher Sparg, Managing Director of Dormac has warned.
Mr Sparg was among 60 odd maritime sector industry principals gathered for the event in Kalk Bay on the eve Mr Zuma’s SONA speech and in which he was expected to share Government’s perspective and goals about the specific programme.
The idea, according to SAMSA was to allow for the sharing of views and engagement with Government policy owners many of who were in the city for the opening of Parliament.
In his speech, Mr Zuma made reference to Operation Phakisa as among key priorities areas of government’s focus in overall economic development activity. Highlights of planned action included the inclusion of marine tourism as part of the package, and also the dedication of Simonstown as the “government garage for all state-owned vessels, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.”
From a maritime economic sector industry perspective however, the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014, essentially to speed up processes towards unlocking bottlenecks and creating a conducive environment to increased investment, business development and job creation, was simply not living up to expectations, charged Mr Sparg.
“We’ve yet to experience the speed about which Operation Phakisa was launched” said Mr Sparg, adding that this was leading to uncertainty and frustration among especially those already invested in the local economy.
Mr Sparg leads Dormac Marine and Engineering, a division of Southey Holdings that is a major player in the country’s ship repair, industrial fabrication and oil and gas maritime fields.
Continued collaboration through regular engagement and exchange of ideas, views and opinions among key role players and interested parties remains the key to any positive achievements in the redevelopment and growth of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
This, according to SAMSA Board Chairman Mr Mavuso Msimang, was the underlying message behind a networking session hosted by the organization in Cape Town this past week, involving more than 60 officials from across subsectors of the country’s maritime sector as well as State departments and organizations.
Several of the industry principals and government officials were in the Mother City for Thursday’s 2017 State of the Nation Address(SONA) in Parliament by President Jacob Zuma.
The networking session, a feature of SAMSA’s stakeholder engagement program, served also this year as a precursor to more robust formal engagements in the next few months among which will be the 2nd South Africa Maritime Investment Conference (SAMIC 2017) currently earmarked for Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in the first half of this year.
This will occur just over two years after the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014 which event firmly placed the country’s maritime economic sector central to the country’s broad economic development goals.
On Wednesday evening, Mr Msimang, flanked by some members of the SAMSA board as well as executive managers including acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; hosted the exclusive networking dinner for the maritime sector leaders at the Harbour House restaurant located in the heart of a quaint small fishing habour in Kalk Bay – some 30km south east of central Cape Town.
Global economic uncertainty remains
In his brief remarks to the group, Mr Msimang noted that global economic activity was not at its best and that recent political developments around the world, but specifically the exit of Great Britain from the European Union (a.k.a Brexit) and the recent outcome of the United States presidential elections had added economic risk factors with unpredictable consequences for global trade currently.
He said the same could be said of South Africa’s own socio-political and economic situation.
Mr Msimang said it was against the scenario that it remained absolutely important that various partners to the country’s maritime economic development sector continue to work closely together in managing and solving emerging challenges as well as in exploring for profit all opportunities.
He said SAMSA appreciated its role as facilitator and committed it that: “We will endeavor to promote events like this with the hope that the platform provided will enable people to talk and engage much more easily. We will support the industry in its deliberations with various government policy owners as well as playing our part in the governance of the maritime economic sector.”
Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Mr Tilayi noted that while the country’s maritime economic sector continued to experience a set of problems and challenges requiring sustained engagement with particularly government, there were reasons to be optimistic.
He said current joint efforts between government and industry could see more positive outcomes achieved, particularly in relation to policy development, ships registration under the country’s flag, a rejuvenation of the country’s fishing sub-sector vessels fleet through recapitalization, as well as renewed impetus in efforts towards the sustained development of the country’s cadre of seafarers and related.
Mr Tilayi emphasized however, the critical importance of continued engagement among key role players in the sector, also stressing SAMSA’s continued facilitation role between industry and government.
Mr Andrew Millard, a director of shipping group, Vuka Marine – Cape Town based owners of the first three shipping vessels to carry South Africa’s flag in 2015 – expressed appreciation of the role played by SAMSA and indicated that while there were numerous challenges facing the sector still, there were also numerous reasons for optimism, particularly with regards expansion of a vessel fleet carrying the country’s flag – a particular development deemed vital to especially the training of a cadre of South African seafarers.