An envisaged reorganization and alignment of education and training in South Africa’s maritime sector is a welcome development, but role players would be well advised not to waste South Africans’ time with skills sets that won’t lend them jobs, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation was warned.
The warning came from the department’s head of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy), Mr Mpumzi Bonga while addressing delegates to a two-day conference organised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in Durban last week.
The indaba, in Durban on Monday and Tuesday, according to SAIMI, was organised against the backdrop of a realization that while the oceans economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent was being probed anew as the future frontier of economic development, South Africa is inadequately prepared as it does not have the manpower with the skills to match present and anticipated future demand in the sector.
According to SAIMI acting chief executive, Mr Odwa Mtati: “In order to activate the potential, we need the skills to match the demand….”
However, Mr Bonga in an overview address of the overall performance of the Government driven Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) since launch in 2014, said investment performance had so far exceeded expectations, but it was simply not creating the number of jobs anticipated.
He said investment to date in the targeted maritime sector subsectors had risen to above R40-billion – about R9-billion above target – in the five years since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) and yet anticipated job creation on the other hand, had only yielded less than 10 000 direct jobs – a far cry from the 77 000 jobs hoped to be created.
Even with indirect jobs accounted for, Mr Bonga said the jobs creation picture in the maritime sector remained dismal. The mismatch in growing direct investment and job creation by the sector in the five year period, he said, could be explained by the fact that the bulk of the investment generated to date had been by the off shore oil and gas subsector, directed largely at seismic surveys and exploration, which required very highly specialized skills and fewer people to perform.
Even so, he said it was barely an acceptable fact that the maritime sector in general, and specifically the targeted subsectors, were not delivering on the promise the launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) gave at inception.
“Continued implementation of Operation Phakisa reveals that we have attracted so far R41-1-billion and less than 10 000. The anticipation was to grow the GDP contribution by R171-billion and create a million jobs by 2033. Now, this is five years on and not the 16-17 year horizon that we used for planning.
“In today’s terms, we were supposed to have grown the GDP contribution by R32-billion this year, and created 77 000 jobs. If we look at a leniarity constant between investment made and the GDP we can happily say we have exceeded the investment that was expected. But can we say the same of job creation, and the answer is decidedly, no!” he said.
A star performer in investment attraction was the off-shore oil gas and MPG subsectors which were responsible for the large bulk of the R41.1-billion investment made to date. Laggards on the hand included the maritime transport and manufacturing and the tourism subsectors – the subsectors with the greatest potential to create jobs.
Part of the reason this was not happening, Mr Bonga suggested, was an apparent mismatch of skills with jobs requirements, coupled with very slow transformation of the sector in terms human capital population demographics.
“The reason I am bringing this up is so that we should sober up when we plan the skills development that we are planning for, and to remind us that as when we do what we do, we be mindful that we do not have the luxury of time, as the majority of people out there are becoming restless. There is no room for mistakes.
“Whatever skills we plan for, South Africans will not take kindly if you gonna plan to train them in skills that will not be beneficial to them, skills that will not change their material conditions, ” said Mr Bonga.
There is no gainsaying that South Africa geographically is, for all intents and purposes, a maritime country. But are South Africans a nation all at sea, without a single drop of water in sight?
This was one of the questions to arise at this past week’s two day conference organised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) at the Durban International Convention Centre, and to which question a clear answer seemed elusive.
One strong view to emerge though, and stated without equivocation by one delegate from the academic sector, Ms Theresa Williams, was that: “South Africa may be a maritime country, but South Africans are not a maritime nation!” And this, according to her, has serious long term implications for a whole range of issues, but particularly maritime education and training.
Conference attendees, among them top academics, researchers, teachers, seafarers, heads of public and private sector companies and institutions, government representatives and associated came from across South Africa to Durban at the invitation of the Port Elizabeth based SAIMI.
For one and half days they’d discuss how best the country could effectively organise and manage its education and training of a future workforce that’s suitably prepared to develop and advance the country’s maritime economic sector in the 21st century and beyond.
South Africa’s maritime features include a country of 59-million inhabitants on a land area at the most southern tip of the African continent surrounded by a 3 200 kilometres long coastline spanning three oceans, the Indian to the east, the Southern to the south and the Atlantic to the west, with as much as a 1.5-million square kilometres of an exclusive economic zone, and possibly soon to be extended.
Through that corridor thousands of world trade vessels pass, while some dock at the country’s major ports. The seascape is also full of flora, fauna and other natural resources and whose responsible exploitation could contribute to expanded economic activity and wealth creation leading to jobs creation.
The indaba, in Durban on Monday on Tuesday, according to SAIMI, was staged against the backdrop of a tanking realisation backed by a recent assessment study that while the oceans economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent was being probed anew as the future frontier of economic development, with a potential to generate domestically more than a million jobs and contribute as much as R177-billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next decade, South Africa simply does not have the manpower with requisite skills to match present and anticipated future demand in the sector.
SAIMI acting chief executive, Mr Odwa Mtati said: “In order to activate the potential, we need the skills to match the demand….Notwithstanding inroads that have been made at post-school education and training institutions in recent years, SAIMI’s 2018 Oceans Economy Skills Development Assessment (report) for South Africa highlighted a potential mismatch between current skills being produced and the actual industry needs.
EXCHAGING NOTES: (From Left: Ms Sobantu Tilayi (SAMSA), Ms Theresa Williams (MAISA), Mr Pieter Coetzer (SAMTRA), Ms Lyn Bruce (Klaveness) and Mr Victor Momberg (TETA) listening attentively to presentations during the Seafarer Development session of the SAIMI conference in Durban
“The study suggests that while the supply of skills is adequate in numbers, there is a disconnect between the type of skills being produced and those required by the industry hence the need for greater industry participation in shaping outcomes of the skills production system.”
Mr Mtati said the two day conference in Durban on Monday and Tuesday, under the moniker: “Forward Thinking for Maritime Education and Training Excellence” would hopefully produce ‘actionable outcomes to strengthen maritime education and training.’
“This conference offers a collaborative platform for stakeholders in industry, academia and government to review current maritime skills supply capacity against future demand, and to consider collaborative and collective ways to address deficits in the current system and close gaps,” said Mr Mtati.
This was repeated by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the chairperson of SAIMI’s advisory committee and Vice-Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela University that’s home to SAIMI, in her opening remarks of the conference, all contained in the video above.
Meanwhile, as the conference wrapped up on the second last day, Mr Mtati was upbeat and confident that the gathering had achieved some of its objectives.
In a brief interview as delegates dispersed, Mr Mtati said: “Our sense is that out of the many stakeholders that participated, there is an acceptance of the need for engagement in meaningful discussions. Going forward, one of the outcomes that we will pursue is the development of a collaborative model to ensure that all the voices are accommodated.”
Further, he said, there was a strong commitment made by some of the stakeholders to get directly involved in the establishment and implementation of solutions to some of the challenges identified. Click on the video below for his full brief assessment,
Parallel Session: Seafarers Development
The conference had been packaged in sessions, first a full plenary soon followed by two parallel sessions – one focused on seafarers development and another directed towards skills needs assessment for the off shore oil and gas sub-sector.
This blog, tagged along with delegates that engaged in the seafarers development session and below, it features all the contributions of the seven main presenters during the discussion.
The insights into seafarer development in South Africa were breathtaking in some instances as they were astonishing in another. Poor coordination in training and education, lack of funding and requisite infrastructure such as a ships for berths, a poor orientation of youths keen on seafaring and a general poor public awareness of the country’s maritime status, were among issues identified.
At the same time, major opportunities lay still for exploration and exploitation, and therefore much work lay ahead for those willing to put in the hours.
The videos of the main presenters are loaded below for a full perspective of the nature of the discussion. A video of floor contributors will follow soon.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi
Mr Abdrew Millard
Ms Theresa Williams
Mr Pieter Coetzer
Ms Lyn Blake
Mr Victor Momberg
Captain Ian Hlongwane
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) headed the session giving an overview of the country’s seafarer education and training landscape, along with a brief history of the challenges facing the sector.
Mr Andrew Millard, CEO of Vuka Marine gave a shipowners view of the seafarer landscape in South Africa with focus much on employer expectations.
Ms Theresa Williams of the Maritime Academic Institutions of South Africa focused on challenges and opportunities facing academic institutions currently offering maritime education and training, as well as dwelt at length on the nature of the youth in South Africa currently keen on maritime education. Pulling no punches, she says it is truly an uphill battle. Do note that Ms Williams’ contribution is in two parts, in two videos.
Mr Pieter Coetzer, Commercial Manager: South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) shares an independent cadets trainer’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the sub sector.
Ms Lyn Bruce, Project Coordinator at Klaveness Shipping also shared an employer’s viewpoint of the South African seafarer with specific focus on her company’s activity in contributing towards development of the country’s seafarers,
Mr Victor Momberg, Executive Officer of the Maritime Chamber of the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) spoke on the role of the authority and the need for Technical, Vocational and Education and Training (TVET) institutions to be enrolled into the maritime sector education and training network.
Captain Ian Hlongwane, Manager, National Cadet Programme at SAIMI shares SAIMI perspective on the conference.
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.
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.
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.
With South Africa’s economic development plans now fully inclusive of the maritime sector wherein billions of rand are to be invested and thousands of jobs expected to be created progressively in the next decade, preparing properly prospective labour with accurate information on careers has come into sharp focus.
It is with that in mind that the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has stepped up its ongoing maritime sector public awareness campaign by developing a Careers Awareness Programme for high school learners across the country as part of its corporate social investment programme.
A week ago, Ngwenyathi High School on the rural outskirts of East London in the Eastern Cape province was the demonstration venue of the new online careers programme for high schools.
Ngwenyathi High School is one of only four maritime high schools currently in the province and is the first of two established with the assistance of SAMSA about a decade ago.
Targeted for the Careers Awareness Programme were Grade 11 pupils who were taken through the online programme by Ms Anne-Marie Stanisavljevic of The Education Agency together with SAMSA southern region manager, Ms Bongiwe Stofile and SAMSA CSI Manager, Ms Mapitso Dlepu
According to SAMSA, the programme is designed to allow high school pupils an opportunity to get a broad sense of what careers are available both in the maritime and other sectors in order to assist the young people in their choice of school subjects at matric level towards their selected careers.
The live demonstration of the careers programme at the East London school on Wednesday and Thursday last week coincided with South Africa’s president, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa’s delivery of the country’s State of the Nation address.
During his speech in Parliament on Thursday evening, Mr Ramaphosa described the country’s maritime economic sector in terms of especially oceans’ economy as holding great promise for the country.
He said: “Since Operation Phakisa on the Oceans Economy in 2014, we have secured investments of nearly R30 billion and created over 7,000 direct jobs. The investments have been mainly in infrastructure development, marine manufacturing, aquaculture, and the oil and gas sector.
“Expected investment in the Oceans Economy over the next five years is estimated at R3,8 billion by government and R65 billion by the private sector. These investments are expected to create over 100,000 direct jobs and more than 250,000 indirect jobs,” said Mr Ramaphosa.
Earlier in the day in East London, according to Ms Stanisavljevic and Ms Stofile, the high schools targeted SAMSA Careers Development Programme is intended to provide high school learners with career guidance that will help them align their careers choices with their skills, personalities and capabilities.
The programme does not limit itself to maritime high schools or maritime related careers, but extends to just about every career youth may have an interest in, inclusive of related careers.
In the two videos below, the officials explain exactly how the programme works for high school learners both in the short and long term.
The first video reflects on the actual presentation of the programme to learners (+-3.30 minutes), a brief chat with Ms Stanisavljevic (+-3.00 minutes) and a response by Ngwenyathi High School’s deputy Principal, Mr Vuyisile Mtsewu (+-4.30 minutes).
In the second video (+-4.30 minutes), Ms Stofile of SAMSA expands on this and related projects the agency is engaged with on the field of youth empowerment particularly in the Eastern Cape inclusive of the presentation of tertiary level education bursaries to two of the Ngwenyathi High School pupils earlier this year.
Maritime education and skills development remain the vital ingredient for South Africa in her drive to unlock fully the huge value residing in its maritime sector, according to the Department of Transport.
This was said by deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga on Friday during the marking and celebration of the World Maritime Day 2018 held over two days at eManzana (Badplaas) in Mpumalanga Province.
She was addressing a crowd of mostly young school children in their matric year who were essentially the target of this year’s marking of the international event as driven and guided by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to which South Africa is a member.
Also represented were some State owned entities in the transport sector under the Department of Transport inclusive of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), South African Ports Regulator, the Mpumalanga provincial government and local government authorities under which Badplaas falls.
According to Ms Chikunga, targeting young school children from schools in the area was part of a concerted effort by the DoT and government in general to raise and enhance greater public awareness countrywide about South Africa’s status as a fully fledged maritime region and upon which the rest of the world also count on for oceans trade and safety and security, hence its high profile role both in regional, continental and global institutions concerned with maritime matters.
Ms Chikunga described it as proper that South Africa should mark the World Maritime Day annually, and in the process reflect on both its needs and challenges relating to the maritime sector.
Currently she said, education and skills development were the key to unlocking the country’s maritime sector value both economically and socially. Towards this end, the DoT in particular, together with partners in the public and private sectors were offering as much financial and related assistance as possible to the country’s youths keen on pursuing tertiary studies in the sector in South Africa and abroad.
The country’s youth in internal provinces such as Mpumalanga, Free State, North West, Limpopo and Gauteng – all of which are far from the oceans – were not excluded from the maritime education, training and skills development initiatives, nor were those either poor or based in rural communities.
This was, she said, partly evidenced and demonstrated by the alternative staging of the World Maritime Day annually in both coastal and inland provinces – with 2018 having been the turn of Mpumalanga Province, after the Eastern Cape a year ago, and the Free State in the year before.
Ms Chikunga outlined at length the types and kind of education, training and skills development initiatives available to South African youths across the board. For more on this, Click on the video below.
Held over two days – the Thursday and Friday last week at both the Vygeboom/Oppi Dam and the Badplaas Forever Resorts – the celebration of the World Maritime Day 2018 saw as many 400 pupils from the Gert Sibande District Municipality or greater eManzana area exposed to both basic waters skills, primarily safety, demonstrated by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) water division, as well as career exhibitions.
The youths also participated in the ship building competition and display that allowed for display of some spectacular talent by some.
For more on this, click on the following story links
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between South Africa and Poland in Cape Town on Wednesday marked a turning point in the development and enhancement of relations between the two countries and which will benefit both in the long term particularly with regards maritime sector issues.
This is according to South Africa’s Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and Poland’s Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Gróbarczyk during the ceremony of the welcoming to South Africa of Poland’s centennial independence celebration’s vessel, Dar Młodzieży at the port of Cape Town.
The vessel with a crew of some 250 members on aboard including about 60 cadets, is on a round-the-world trip that began recently in Poland and shall continue until the end of March 2019, with stop-overs in as many as 22 ports around the world.
South Africa was the second stop over on Wednesday, where the vessel will remain at the port of Cape Town in a jetty adjacent the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at the foot of Table Mountain until Friday.
On arrival in Cape Town late morning on Wednesday to sounds of the South African Navy’s brass band at Cape Town harbour’s cruise terminal, crew and passengers of Dar Młodzieży were formally welcomed on South African soil by Ms Chikunga on behalf of the South African government, along with Mr Gróbarczyk, Poland’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Andrzej Kanthak and other senior government officials including South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.
Thereafter, the Polish maritime students and cadets who were joined by their South African counterparts from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for a combined group of about 200, were later treated to a braai on board South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas.
In-between the events, Ms Chikunga and Mr Gróbarczyk signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the basis of which, they said, the two countries would endeavor to enhance co-operation and joint pursuit of socio economic development initiatives but especially in relation to the maritime economic sector.
Areas of likely immediate focus would include ship repairs and maritime education and training, said Ms Chikunga, while Mr Gróbarczyk felt it also an opportune time for the two countries to enhance relations ahead of South Africa’s hosting of an International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference in the country in 2020.
In the video clips below, Ms Chikunga (clip 1 lasting 3 minutes) and Mr Gróbarczyk each explains the genesis of the development and the respective country’s hopes to strengthen relations.
Meanwhile, also in remarks welcoming the group of Polish and South African maritime students and cadets on board the SA Agulhas late Wednesday afternoon, Mr Tilayi described it as important the establishment of sound relations with countries such as Poland which would benefit South Africa’s emergent pursuit of redevelopment of its own maritime economic sector.
For his full remarks, click on the video below.
On Friday, the group will be taken on a tour of Robben Island before the centennial independence celebration vessel set sail yet again, this time for Madagascar.
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 expansion of the reach of maritime education and training through extension also to the country’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions beginning 2017, is facing huge challenges, among which is the lack of suitably qualified tutors. But the challenges may thankfully lead to high creativity and innovation.
One such innovative solution, according to Mr Edward Pines, a senior manager for curriculum development at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); is the likely introduction of online tutoring – or e-learning – for certain maritime education modules, beginning with at least three STCW Modules for marine engineering students.
A week ago Mr Pines’ team had a meeting with Higher Education Department’s chief director of Vocational and Continuing Education, Ms Gerda Magnus for a discussion of the possible solution, and the talks were ‘very encouraging’ according to Mr Pines.
Chatting to this blog shortly thereafter, in this 4 minute video (Click Here) Mr Pines outlined the proposal and further steps planned to take it to fruition inclusive of a further meeting in March at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology:
Meanwhile, Mr Pines – who turns a golden 77 years old in March, marking his formal retirement – further confirms that final stage of approval of a newly developed curriculum for eight (8) national maritime sector occupational certificate courses is on course.
The eight national occupation qualifications for which a new curriculum was developed in record time in 2016 include; Port Operations Master, Marine Electro-Technical Officer, Aids to Navigation Manager, Aids to Navigation Technician, Dock Master, Traffic Controller (Vessel Tracking System), Maritime Search & Rescue Mission Coordinator and Diver (Commercial).
According to Mr Pines, the qualifications conceptualized and proposed by SAMSA consistent with the objectives of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project, and developed with the full involvement of the maritime industry; will once formally endorsed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) greatly enhance the position of holders both locally and for the African region, while providing international recognition.
In this next video (04:25 minutes: Click Here), Mr Pines provides an update of the curriculum’s formal approval process. He also chats briefly about his pending “real retirement this time” from next month, and about which he gives an assurance that there will certainly be continuity at SAMSA with the maritime sector education and training curriculum campaign. He hints on his possible successor.
Exploration and responsible exploitation of maritime sector opportunities are not the preserve of only South Africa’s coastal provinces but are a multi-billion rand worth golden opportunity all people in the country should equally pursue and enjoy, speakers at this year’s World Maritime Day celebration on Thursday, 29 September 2016 emphasised.
Leading the charge at the function held this year on the west end of the Gariep Dam – South Africa’s biggest by far – situated at the Orange River, some 200km south of Bloemfontein, Free State Province – was South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, along with his counterparts in Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) CE, Mr Richard Vallihu and National Ports Regulator, Mr Mahesh Fakir
Addressing an audience of about 600 people, just about half of whom were high school pupils deliberately bussed in from surrounding rural schools for a career exposition, Mr Tilayi said the country’s maritime economic sector, long in the periphery of economic activity for particularly the black majority, was now an open canvass upon which talent is being be drawn from across all sectors of society for the greater benefit of all.
With South Africa’s maritime economic sector, through the Operation Phakisa initiative, projected to contribute as much as R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and in the process creating as many as 800 000 to 1-million direct jobs by 2033, according to Mr Tilayi, it was incumbent upon leadership of inland provinces to quickly but carefully figure out how communities located here could benefit.
Under Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), key focus areas comprised marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, marine protection services and governance, small harbours, maritime heritage, coastal and marine tourism involving also inland waters, skills and capacity building and research technology and innovation.
These are backed up by Government’s port and onshore infrastructure development – some with private sector investors – involving about R500-billion over the next decade spread across and in between the country’s eight major ports from Saldanha Bay in the west through to Richards Bay in the east.
In part, this was to take advantage of the business and job creation opportunities presented by the approximately 30 000 vessels (about 60% of total global fleet) passing South Africa each year, and about 13 000 of which dock at the country’s ports for a whole range of reasons – a global sea trade scenario Mr Tilayi described as positioning South Africa as the “corner café” of the global shipping industry given its equidistant location at the southern tip of the African continent between western and eastern countries.
Through this steadily increasing opportunity, previously neglected coastal cities such as Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape – now with the country’s deepest port, the port of Ngqurha – were benefitting by as much as R150-million per month due to recently introduced bunkering services.
Mr Tilayi, however, dismissed it as ignorance and a misconception that people in the country’s four coastal provinces stretching some 3000km from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean – Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – for close proximity only, were necessarily better advantaged or entitled to exploration and exploitation of maritime sector economic opportunities.
Indeed, from a maritime sector skills development perspective, he said, Limpopo – the most inland and furthest province from the oceans by more than a thousand kilometers in any direction – was proving the notion a myth as it competed equally, progressively with coastal provinces, ranking second to KwaZulu-Natal in the production of seafarers now numbering close on 12 000.
In addition to an increasing number of cadets from Limpopo at the country’s maritime sector education focused institutions, Mr Tilayi said the province made maritime sector history recently as a home to one of the first ever three young black women to qualify as Master Mariners qualified to handle any type or size of commercial vessel anywhere in the world.
Stressing an importance of recognition that skills and business opportunities in the country’s maritime sector were by no means limited at all by ocean-going, but rather involving occupations also as basic as farming, manufacturing or services with no direct connection with seafaring, he said the Free State province, the most central of the country’s five inland provinces, had every reason to figure out urgently how to take advantage of its location in order to position itself as a meaningful player also in the maritime economic sector.
Mr Tilayi also urged Government and the private sector to increasingly work much closer together. He said while it was Government’s role to facilitate business investment opportunities, it was private sector investors’ responsibility to actively show appetite through direct engagement and involvement.
Meanwhile, Mr Vallihu of Transnet’s National Ports Authority extended an invitation to the Free State community to take advantage of the ports authority vast training programme across several interrelated transport sectors – road, rail and sea.
He said the NPA with four divisions is currently involved in an infrastructure, transport and logistics investment over 10 years since 2012 worth half a trillion rand. Since 2012 to date he said, the NPA had spent some R124-billlion on these, but also as much as R8-billion in skills development alone, leading to the graduation in 2015 of close on 4 000 trainees in various skills.
To increase public awareness of the opportunities, Mr Vallihu announced that the NPA had launched a free WiFi service in mostly disadvantaged communities of the eight port cities to enable people to fully gain access to relevant information relating to the ports’ activities.
To listen to Mr Vallihu’s full remarks, Click Here
Deepening South Africa’s efforts towards rejuvenation of its maritime economic sector precisely through expanded education, training and skills development requires as much planning as it does focused engagement with partners, local and international.
It was with appreciation of that reality when early evening on Monday, a delegationof the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) joined a Philippines business delegation at the Pretoria home of the Philippines’ Ambassador to South Africa for a casual yet exploratory chat about possible links that could benefit both countries in the field of maritime.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and appropriately, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).
Led by its president, Teresa B. Chan, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce delegation had been in the country since November 18, meeting its business chamber counterparts in Cape Town and Johannesburg, before a brief tour of the region ending in Pretoria.
SAMSA’s interest in meeting the business group hinged on its knowledge and involvement in maritime economy development issues, specifically opportunities for cooperation in education, training and skills development and about which the Philippines is acknowledged globally.