South Africa joins the international community in celebrating its growing cadre of sailors

With about 11000 seafarers now in its name, the country is steadily making progress towards maritime economic sector skills development and thereby creating opportunities  for all.

Pretoria: 29 June 2016

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South Africa’s passionate yet purposeful campaign to enhance greater public awareness towards realization of the relevance and importance of the country’s status as fundamentally a maritime region, and whose global trade is almost completely dependent on the seas around it, continued in Durban at the weekend, with a national event to celebrate the International Day of the Seafarer.

DSC_0274Situated appropriately within the annual Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition held at the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event, hosted in South Africa by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); drew attention to the country’s 11 000-strong cadre of seafarers and which is steadily growing to take advantage of the numerous opportunities presented by the country’s vast ocean economy.

Over the past decade, SAMSA working closely with a variety of partners both within the private and public sectors, has played an instrumental, if pivotal role as a State organ to drive hard, deliberately and purposefully, a human skills development campaign for the South African maritime economic with much emphasis initially on cadet training, leading to its acquisition and management of the country’s first dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, in 2011.

DSC_0296As of Saturday, 25 June 2016; there were on record about 11 000 seafarers in South Africa, plying their trade both locally and abroad and with their US dollar denominated income earnings making a contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

The International Day of the Seafarer, is a global event which according to SAMSA’s Centre for Corporate Affairs was first celebrated in 2011, following its establishment by a resolution adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the STCW Convention and Code.

The Day of the Seafarer had since been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.

IMO related1This year’s theme for the Day of the Seafarer was #AtSeaForAll a notion, according to the centre, that  had a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”, emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of society, hence they are “indispensable to the world”.

Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)
Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)

In a statement in Sweden on Friday, IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim described the global seafarer celebration on Saturday as an opportunity for communities across sectors to “reflect on how much we all rely on seafarers for most of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives.

He said: “Over one million seafarers operate the global fleet yet billions of people depend on them for the essentials and the luxuries of life. Shipping is essential to the world – and so are seafarers.

“So, this year, on 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion.”

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.

In Durban on Saturday, SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the crucial role of South Africa within the world’s maritime economic sector, and the importance of skills development within it, but also the need for recognition and appreciation of contributors to the growth of the domestic maritime sector.

Of seafarers, Mr Tilayi – who had alongside him Captain Thembela Tobashe – one of the first of three black females ever to qualify as Master Mariners – echoed the IMO view, stating: “At the coal face of driving economies around the world and at the forefront supporting international trade the seafarers, whether deck hands, captains of ships, engineers and cadets, galley staff play a very significant role in ensuring the world’s economic growth and sustainability.

20151207_151556 (2) “Seafarers are those brave hearts who risk their lives, give up months of family time and being on land, to go out to sea, to not only support and protect our beloved country and their nations, but also to create an impact on each and every citizen by ensuring international trade, which affects us all. They make sure that the environment is protected, trade is flowing and our communities are able to thrive and develop themselves. It is therefore essential to raise our hands in salutation to these fearless men and women,” said Tilayi.

Mr Tilayi encouraged particularly youth to explore at depth the skills and economic benefits their involvement in the sector might provide them.

For Mr Tilayi’s video presentation in Durban, Click Here.

For Mr Lim’s message, presented at the Durban event by Captain Tobashe, please Click Here

For a select group of photos of the Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition, please Click Here

End.

South Africa and Norway thrash out strategy for envisaged national maritime sector cluster – a multi-media feature

Pretoria: 14 June 2016

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A week ago Tuesday, more than 200 people from South Africa and Norway’s maritime economic sector gathered in a conference room of the Dolphin’s Leap leisure and entertainment centre on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront to share ideas towards a possibly suitable strategy for establishment of a national maritime economic sector cluster for South Africa.

DSC_0126Among them were senior government officials inclusive of the Department of Environmental Affairs – the lead State department on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology; thought leaders from academic institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, researchers from independent institutions and industry leaders in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Also present were provincial Eastern Cape government authorities, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council as well as local business leaders inclusive of members of both the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Durban maritime clusters.

DSC_0181Discussions at the forum took two forms; themed speeches and panel discussions interspersed by questions and answers from attendees,

A week ago this blog highlighted some of the key issues raised and discussed, and in this report (because you do not have two days of time to listen to it all!) we present you a virtual experience of discussions of some of the issues in audio and video formats.

To take you back to some of interesting topics covered, Click Here

End

 

 

 

Mandela Bay Chamber of Business excited over maritime sector focus on Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth was South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma’s choice for the 2016 Presidential National Progress Report on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in April. This week the city hosted yet another national maritime sector event with international flavour. 

Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway
Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

While national traditional media might be paying little if any attention to it, the Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce (Port Elizabeth) can barely hide its appreciation for the national and international attention the region is increasingly drawing in domestic and international maritime sector initiatives.

The chamber’s chief executive Kevin Hustler was remarking on the staging early this week of yet another maritime sector development oriented event in Port Elizabeth with much international flavour, a two-day seminar on national maritime sector cluster development involving thought leaders mostly from South Africa and Norway.

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

The event, at a venue situated along the city’s pristine Blue-flaggedDSC_0148 Humewood beach and about a kilometre east of the port of Port Elizabeth, held under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) theme, also provided the venue for the signing of a historical bilateral agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University that involves the setting up of an academic institute to focus on illegal fishing studies and management strategy development.

Mr Hustler was among about 200 delegates that attended on Monday, alongside which was the city’s Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan but who could only address the delegates on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan (Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The Mandela Bay Chamber represents the largest membership number  of businesses in the city inclusive of three major vehicle and components manufacturers in the city, Volkswagen South Africa, General Motors South Africa and Ford Motor Company South Africa.

The Chamber is also a stakeholder and key role player in the region’s Maritime Cluster set up some four years ago.

To hear Mr Hustler’s remarks during a brief interview during the two day seminar, Click Below

Former SAMSA top executive honoured

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) dedicates its Resource Centre to former executive in recognition of her sterling contribution to development of country’s maritime economic sector.

Pretoria: 22 April 2016

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The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) wound down a period of mourning with a moving tribute to its former executive and highly recognized figure in the country’s maritime and tourism sectors, the late Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo, at its head office in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The official 40 days of mourning having ended a few weeks ago, on Wednesday, the organization bestowed an honour of remembrance on Ms Nhlumayo by naming a section of its office building, a resources space and library located centre of the ground floor of the multi-story building, parallel the main entrance, in her name.

Entrance to SAMSA's Resource Centre named after former executive manager, Ms Sindiswa C. Nhlumayo in honour and recognition of her contribution to both the organisation and the country's maritime economic sector development, at an event held at the SAMSA offices in Pretoria
Entrance to SAMSA’s Resource Centre named after former executive manager, Ms Sindiswa C. Nhlumayo in honour and recognition of her contribution to both the organisation and the country’s maritime economic sector development, at an event held at the SAMSA offices in Pretoria

A section of the dedicated library and resources centre, fairly modest in size, features among other things, memorabilia items inclusive of a series of Ms Nhlumayo’s photos of meetings, media engagements, tours and conference addresses in South Africa, the rest of the African continent and the rest of the world; tribute messages packaged in book form and frames, as well a .collection of her own books and writings

Ms Nhlumayo (40), an Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence, a division largely responsible for SAMSA’s discharge of responsibilities attaching to its third legislative mandate – the promotion of South Africa’s maritime interests – passed away on 11 February 2016 after a gutsy battle with cancer.

Her death has been mourned across both the public and private sectors inclusive of educational institutions associated with the maritime economic sector in South Africa and abroad.

At the time, the Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal born Ms Nhlumayo; widely recognized for what’s described as a massive contribution towards particularly the country’s tourism and maritime economic sectors, with passionate focus on skills development, had just been conferred the esteemed “Business Leader of the Year Award 2015” by the Institute of People Management in addition to several other awards she’d earned for her dedication and focus to her work.

She was in the process of completing her doctoral studies in maritime economy with the World Maritime University based in Sweden – an institution in which she’s almost single-handedly also helped place more than 100 South African students also pursuing Masters and Doctoral level studies in the maritime field.

The Sindiswa Nhlumayo Resource Centre will feature memorabilia of Ms Nhlumayo's works across fields inclusive of education, her academic papers, books and related.
The Sindiswa Nhlumayo Resource Centre will feature memorabilia of Ms Nhlumayo’s works across fields inclusive of education, her academic papers, books and related.

At this week’s brief and almost casual ceremony, and to which both her family members and her friends, as well as former associates of varied occupations were invited along with SAMSA executives and staff members, SAMSA CEO Commander Tsietsi Mokhele noted that it was the first time ever that the organization had bestowed such an honour to a past employee.

It has arisen after much deliberation, and during which it had been deemed appropriate as relevant to and in recognition and acknowledgment of the massive contribution Ms Nhlumayo had made both to the country as well as the organization and for which SAMSA was recognized with a ‘Legends of Empowerment and Transformation’ award at the 2016 Oliver Awards a week ago.

Mr Mokhele said the decision to honour Ms Nhlumayo, deliberated upon and agreed with staff;  was undertaken on the one hand as a gesture of goodwill primarily to indicate and illustrate the importance for institutions and society at large to openly, honestly give recognition to contribution made by others, especially such contribution as having clearly impacted positively the lives of others.

Part of the guests that attended the ceremony on Wednesday, among them senior executives of SAMSA, maritime, tourism, education and related sectors' representatives, as well as family members and friends.
Part of the guests that attended the ceremony on Wednesday, among them senior executives of SAMSA, maritime, tourism, education and related sectors’ representatives, as well as family members and friends.

On the other hand, Mr Mokhele said the gesture of a 40 day mourning period would now be standard for all other SAMSA employees as both an incentive and empowerment tool encompassing the inculcation of a culture of high work ethic in their respective areas of specialization.

He said organizations across various sectors of society were not independent of the people that worked in and for them, and whose work should never require little more than tolerance indicative of detachment.

“Among ourselves as management and staff, we said the new standard for SAMSA going forward would be that, in the event of the passing on of any one of our colleagues, the 40 days of mourning will stand, and it’s now up to all people who are here (at SAMSA) to make sure we don’t spend 40 days of mourning without remembering anything about a person. We want to spend the 40 days just reflecting about their own contribution for its high worth value, and that is the challenge we are all now sitting with, arising out of the contribution of one individual.

HONOURED: Former SAMSA Executive Head of the Centre for Maritime Excellence, Ms Sindiswa C. Nhlumayo
HONOURED: Former SAMSA Executive Head of the Centre for Maritime Excellence, Ms Sindiswa C. Nhlumayo

“I do not know how practically it’s going to be, but I do know that we’ve challenged ourselves strongly so that we can build a much more humane organization, and it arises out of the memory of one individual.  That to me is a living legacy that makes people passionate and view things from many dimensions over a much longer period of time.”

Mr Mokhele revealed that the steering committee of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University was also considering giving recognition to Ms Nhlumayo’s contribution and was currently weighing up ideas. At its next meeting in about two weeks’ time, the committee might take the matter forward possibly with some concrete plans.

For Mr Mokhele’ edited remarks as well as visuals of the ceremony on Wednesday afternoon click here:

Meanwhile, several guests applauded SAMSA for the initiative, with a consensus view that it was deserving of Ms Nhlumayo’s memory.

For their respective remarks, please click here:

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SOUTH AFRICA’S MARITIME ECONOMIC SECTOR NOW FIRMLY ON THE NATIONAL AGENDA!

The port of Cape Town, one of the country's busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa's 3900km long coastline.
The port of Cape Town, one of the country’s busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa’s 3900km long coastline.

Pretoria: 22 February 2016

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.

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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 Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head, Centre for Maritime Excellence
Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence

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.

IMG_0310Ms 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)

Ms SINDISWA CAROL NHLUMAYO LAID TO REST

South Africans join the world in paying warm tributes to Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo, executive head of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence.

Mourners attending Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo's memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, February 18, 2016
Mourners attending Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo’s memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pretoria: 21 February, 2016

Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo was laid to rest during a funeral service held at her rural village home at Emvutshini, Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

Ms Nhlumayo, 45, an Executive Head of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence since formation in 2011, died on Thursday, February 11, 2016; after a courageous battle with cancer.

Since her passing away a week ago, tributes have poured in from South Africa and abroad, with several institutions, friend and acquaintances, family and colleagues expressing anguish at her death, virtually all describing her passing on as a sad loss for the country, particularly in the tourism, human resources development and maritime economic sectors.

Mourners at Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her aunt Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo who both died of cancer on the same a week ago and were laid to rest at their Emvutshini home in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday, 20 February 2016
Mourners at Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her aunt Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo funeral service  on Saturday. The two women both died of cancer on the same day a week ago and were laid to rest at their Emvutshini home in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday, 20 February 2016

Incidentaly, Ms Nhlumayo, a PhD student candidate with the Sweden-based World Maritime University; passed away on the same day as her aunt, Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo; who also tragically suffered from cancer – for what proved a double tragedy for their family on the rolling hills of Emvutshini overlooking vast fields of sugarcane and banana forests a few kilometres south of Port Shepstone.

National Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, paying tribute to Ms Nhlumayo during her funeral service in Port Shepstone on Saturday, 20 February 2016.
National Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, paying tribute to Ms Nhlumayo during her funeral service in Port Shepstone on Saturday, 20 February 2016.

At their joint funeral on Saturday, among several dignitaries and high ranking officials attending were national Transport Department deputy Mininster, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, the National Heritage Council chief executive officer, Sonwabile Mangcotywa, Tourism Business Council chief executive officer Ms Matsatsi Ramawela, representatives of national government departments inclusive of the Department of Tourism, the Department of Higher Education, and the Department of Environmental Affairs, the local mayor as well as representatives of the local traditional leadership.

They joined the institutional leadership of SAMSA led by chief executive officer by Commander Tsietsi Mokhele and chief operating officer, Sobantu Tilayi as well as hundreds of mourners from across the country.

Ms Nhlumayo’s funeral service on Saturday was preceded by a memorial service held in Pretoria on Thursday and during which many people, from across the world, including the World Maritime University,  paid tribute to her memory.

For both these services, audio-visuals have been captured and are being shared along with photographs on the special page on this blog dedicated to Ms Nhlumayo’s memory, beginning with the shortened version below, providing highlights of the funeral in Port Shepstone on Saturday.

To view click here

 

CURRENT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR FOCUSED INVESTMENT IN MARITIME SECTOR

An R8-billion worth oil rig and ship repair business up for grabs – Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Pretoria: 15 February 2016

The current down turn in the world’s economy and whose impact is more pronounced on depressed commodity prices but especially mining and oil, presents South Africa’s maritime economic sector with a golden opportunity to stack up investment in subsectors best positioned to benefit from it, according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele.

An artist's impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

He was speaking during a gathering of some of the country’s maritime sector business and investment leaders organized by SAMSA in Cape Town last week.

According to Mr Mokhele, sub sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector best positioned to benefit from the current global economic downturn, and which has seen South Africa’s currency exchange rate plummeting to over R15 to the US dollar in a period of less a year, were marine tourism and leisure, marine manufacturing but specifically ships and oil rigs repair and related.

Mr Mokhele said South Africa’s maritime sector economic development was now fully on the country’s agenda as illustrated by the launch of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative in 2014, and therefore had garnered sufficient political will as well as support from infrastructure developers such as Transnet.

“What is still holding us back is the ambition of the industry, the trust levels of the (private sector) industry, those they need to more successful will respond positively to their needs,” said Mr Mokhele.

According to Mr Mokhele, with investors in the maritime sector taking advantage of current of the current global economic conditions, the oil rigs repair and boat manufacturing alone could develop an into an R8-billion worth business in the next five years.

For Mr Mokhele’s full remarks; click here:

More from the roundtable discussions to follow soon…..

 

 

 

SA Maritime Safety Authority applauded for historical ship registry in 2015

But the organisation will have to do more, fast; as “50 more” are needed: Deputy Minister

Saldanha Bay: December 07, 2015

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has received praise from Government for its speedy facilitation of the registration of cargo trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag in the past year.

The accolade came from national Transport Ministry’s deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga during a Presidential Imbizo week event held at the port of Saldanha on Monday.

Speaking during the open imbizo of the maritime economic sector (oil and gas subsector) chaired by the Transport Ministry and attended by the media, to receive reports on progress achieved so far with new infrastructure development being undertaken at the port of Saldanha, Ms Chikunga hailed SAMSA’s pace in achieving the registration of at least three cargo vessels in 2015 under the South African flag.

Ship registry is among priorities identified under Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) launched a year ago.

The first of the three private sector trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag was registered in September 2015, followed soon thereafter by two others.

Chairing the Presidential Imbizo meeting on Monday at Saldanha Bay on behalf of the Depatment of Transport was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sonwabo Tilayi
Chairing the Presidential Imbizo meeting on Monday at Saldanha Bay on behalf of the Depatment of Transport was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Ms Chikunga noted how she had put ‘tremendous pressure’ on SAMSA to “deliver” on the goal but went further to describe the feat as exemplary of the high pace denoted by Operation Phakisa (meaning “speed things up”) in implementing timely, programs and processes jointly identified by Government and the private sector as required for the country’s economic rejuvenation and growth, but especially the maritime economic sector.

“We made promises to the people of South Africa. We have to deliver on those.” She said, adding that while the ministry was happy with the development, the country needed more vessels registered.

“We now want to see 50 more registered and we want to know from the institution (SAMSA) how soon can we have that 50 in our books,’ said Ms Chikunga during a media conference.

However, the applause for SAMSA contrasted the mood of both the deputy Minister as well as private sector representatives that greeted a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved so far with development of the port of Saldanha.

The gathering was the first of several this week during which Government and private sector principals across sectors are meeting to thrash out challenges facing the economy and to come out with clear plans on how best to overcome these.

IMG_1172 (2)Ms Chikunga said the imbizo at Saldanha Bay on Monday had been convened to receive and evaluate reports by both her office as well as concerned maritime sector investors on TNPA’s progress with projects earmarked for the port of Saldanha in terms of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) plans for the Marine Transport and Manufacturing lab – one of five targeted for prioritization in the revitalization of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Precisely, in terms of the MTM lab recommendations, the port of Saldanha was approved by Government for the establishment of a purpose built oil and gas port infrastructure, with TNPA charged with facilitating rapidly not only the development, and unlocking investment in new and existing port facilities around the country, but also with creating and implementing a public procurement and localization programme, as well as developing a strategic marketing campaign and value proposition for target markets.

A composite map of the port of Saldanha reflecting the areas of the planned oil and gas infrastructure to be developed in the next few years
A composite map of the port of Saldanha reflecting the areas of the planned oil and gas infrastructure to be developed in the next few years

According to a presentation by port of Saldanha manager, Mr Willem Roux, the oil and gas infrastructure intended for development at the West Coast port, at an estimated investment of approximately R10-billion, include a proposed Mossgas quay extension, a general maintenance quay, a new oil and gas repair berth as well as an extension of the current iron ore berth.

This would be in addition to a long planned development of an Industrial Development Zone alongside the port.

It emerged at the imbizo on Monday the expectation was that with timely execution of the MTM lab related plan for the oil and gas port infrastructure by the TNPA, at least 3 000 direct and indirect jobs would be created each year since 2014 – a figure said should have doubled to 6 000 new direct and indirect jobs to date.

A round table robust discussion between maritime sector (oil and gas subsector) representatives, South Africa Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, business and civic society representatives duing the Presidential Imbizo Week event of Monday, looking at progress achieved in establishing port infrastructure for the oil and gas industry by Transnet's National Port Authority at the port of Saladanha on Monday
A round table robust discussion between maritime sector (oil and gas subsector) representatives, South Africa Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, business and civic society representatives during the Presidential Imbizo Week event of Monday, looking at progress achieved in establishing port infrastructure for the oil and gas industry by Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA)at the port of Saldanha.

However, tempers flared at times during the imbizo after it emerged that according to TNPA current plans as presented by Mr Roux, the key facilities of the development at the port of Saldanha earmarked for the oil and gas subsector would most likely be ready for utilization by about 2019 instead of the scheduled 2017.

An artist's impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

This according to Transnet, was due in part to the need for the relocation of manganese ore from both the port of Saldanha as well as the port of Port Elizabeth to the Ngurha deep water port also in Port Elizabeth. This would take three years through to 2019 to complete, the parastatal reported.

The report did not go down well with neither Ms Chikunga nor the investment, business and local community representatives virtually all of whom saw the performance as ‘slow’.

Speakers all bemoaned what they described as a reflection of South Africa’s apparent inability to stick to undertakings, and instead seemed at ease with moving further time frames for delivery of identified infrastructure development programmes.

Business representatives said this practice did not only paint a bad image of the country in the investment community but was also proving costly to those investors already committed.

Saldanha Oil & Gas 1In addition, local business and civic society representatives were far from pleased that the number of jobs planned for the port of Saldanha infrastructure development were far from being realized – but especially that there were not even figures presented at the meeting to illustrate if any jobs at all had been created, in order to alleviate high unemployment in the community of just over 100 000 inhabitants.

It helped little that TNPA officials cited also ongoing discussions within the institution intended partly at ensuring that businesses currently utilizing the port ,such as mining; were not impacted negatively by the new projects.

An apparently frustrated Ms Chikunga responded: ‘If decisions take 14 months to make…by people sitting together every day, who therefore can organize one another and discuss, what do I say? What report do I take to the President…and you are expecting investor confidence?

“It cannot be that you are taking 14 months to sit and discuss. The second issue for me is that we do not respond quickly as South Africans, why is that? If are you are saying we as the Department of Transport are appointing people who do not know what they are doing, then tell us, so that we can look into the issue!

Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chiikunga (standing) making remarks during the meeting
Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chiikunga (standing) making remarks during the meeting

“We are a country like other countries. We must be able to respond quickly enough as other developing countries are doing. I am talking about Kenya. I am talking about developing African countries. A delay in an Operation Phakisa project has so much impact on other projects..and surely it should be frustrating investors even more because there is money involved,” said Ms Chikunga

Transnet's National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA's commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos
Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA’s commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos

TNPA Chief Executive Officer Richard Vallihu, however assured both Ms Chikunga and the business and local community representatives that deadlines on the projects would be met, and that a substantial number of jobs were assured to be created in this and various other current projects underway, inclusive of the deepening of parts of the Durban port.

With regards community benefits but especially in terms of jobs and related matters, Mr Vallihu said his institution was doing far more, as it had embarked also on investment in schools along its ports intended to offer skills development programmes for labour, specifically youth and women that would be absorbed in the maritime sector.

The imbizo wrapped up with a visit of the earmarked port area in Saldanha designed for oil and gas infrastructure development.

Clip One: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga outlines the purpose of the Presidential Imbizo (Transport sector/maritime sector)

Clip Two: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga responding to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved to date on the development of port infrastructure for the Oil and Gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

Clip Three: Transnet National Ports Authority CEO responding to concerns raised by both Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and business, investment and local community representatives at the imbizo.

For Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s media conference video remarks, click here

CENTRE FOR MARITIME EXCELLENCE KEEPS TABS WITH SAMSA SPONSORED STUDENTS

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.

To read more on this story, click here

SAMSA Centre for Maritime Excellence executive manager Sindiswa Nhlumayo (Seated, Front Left) with SAMSA sponsored Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students (Standing: From Left to Right) Thando Jobela, Zamanuba Phandle,Sesona Matiso, Bulelwa Maseti, Vuyisani Mvakendlwu and Sabelo Hadebe. Standing with them (Standing: Third from Right) is Ms Charity Bodipa, executive personal assistant to Ms Nhlumayo, who (Seated far left) is with SAMSA HR executive manager Lesego Mashishi and next to whom is student Nosisikelelo Maseti
SAMSA Centre for Maritime Excellence executive manager Sindiswa Nhlumayo (Seated, Front Left) with SAMSA sponsored Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students (Standing: From Left to Right) Thando Jobela, Zamanuba Phandle,Sesona Matiso, Bulelwa Maseti, Vuyisani Mvakendlwu and Sabelo Hadebe. Standing with them (Standing: Third from Right) is Ms Charity Bodipa, executive personal assistant to Ms Nhlumayo, who (Seated far left) is with SAMSA HR executive manager Lesego Mashishi and next to whom is student Nosisikelelo Maseti