South Africa maritime sector development; the game is on for the country’s inland provinces: SAMSA

INLAND PROVINCES INVITED: The sun rising above the Xhariep Dam on the Orange River on Thursday, as the country joined global observation of World Maritime Day 2016
INLAND PROVINCES INVITED: The sun rising above the Xhariep Dam on the Orange River on Thursday, as the country joined global observation of World Maritime Day 2016

Bloemfontein: 30 September 2016

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

GAME'S ON! South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO at this year's World Maritime Day 2016 event at the Gariep Dam in the Free State.
GAME’S ON! South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO at this year’s World Maritime Day 2016 event at the Gariep Dam in the Free State.

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.

Part of the audience during the  World Maritime Day 2016 event observed in South Africa at the Gariep Dam in the Free State on Thursday, 29 September 2016
Part of the audience during the World Maritime Day 2016 event observed in South Africa at the Gariep Dam in the Free State on Thursday, 29 September 2016

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.

Saldanha Oil & Gas 1In 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.

IMG_2344Mr 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.

TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016
A TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi of Limpopo the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016

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.

FOCUSED: Arzebaijan Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Eikhan Polukhov among senior officials attending the World Maritime Day 2016 at the Gariep Dam in the Free State
FOCUSED: Arzebaijan Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Eikhan Polukhov among senior officials attending the World Maritime Day 2016 at the Gariep Dam in the Free State

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.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the subject; (Audio only:  Click Here ) or for (Video; Click Here

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

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

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The hunt is on for a SAMSA new leader

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Pretoria: 25 July 2016

The hunt for a new leader for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has begun in earnest, with a call for applications to fill the post of Chief Executive Officer, placed on national newspapers at the weekend.

The endeavor is to plug a hole left by the sudden departure recently of former CEO and long serving SAMSA top executive, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele. He resigned ‘with immediate effect’ on May 24, but had his departure delayed to end of June while a ‘forensic investigation’ was being conducted.

Former SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, for whom a replacement is sought
Former SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, for whom a replacement is sought
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Mr Mokhele had been with SAMSA as CEO since 2008. On his resignation in May, SAMSA Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi was appointed as acting CEO. The Financial Mail recently quoted Mr Mokhele as saying he would be pursuing his personal business interest still within the maritime economic sector.

“I am staying in the maritime industry to mobilize our industry to make sure it takes advantage of the opportunities under Operation Phakisa,” the FM quoted Mr Mokhele as saying.

Meanwhile, on Friday SAMSA moved swiftly in an effort to plug the gap, issuing out an invitation to suitable candidates to apply for the position. The advert was distributed both internally within the organization as well as through weekend national newspapers.

SAMSA, with its head office located in the country’s administrative capital, Pretoria but with operations across the country; is  a public  entity  established  in  terms  of Act 5 of 1998 to administer certain laws and to ensure safety of life at sea, pollution control and promotion of the country’s maritime interest.

In the ad, the organization says it is in the hunt for someone to: “lead  and  manage SAMSA for effective  execution of its vision,  mission and  strategic objectives (and), as part  of the  national  transport strategy, position SAMSA as  a key  strategic organization for  the   attainment  of  national,  economic  and   transformational goals   including   Africa  and   the  international sphere.

20150909_101517_1The successful person would in addition, be required to: “provide   leadership within  SAMSA  to achieve transformation, empowerment, capacity building  and  service delivery; manage inter- governmental developments  and   relationships  to  achieve  collective execution  of  maritime goals  whilst  complying with International Conventions (and) work effectively  with SAMSA Board, management, shareholder, staff and  stakeholders to achieve SAMSA’s mandate.”

SAMSA requires the likely suitable candidate to, among others; not only possess a recognized university degree – with a Master’s in Business Management (MBA) deemed advantageous – but to also be a South African citizen with “leadership and management experience with  at least 5 years at executive management level – with experience in and or exposure to the maritime industry considered a significant advantage.

(For full detail, click here Vacancy advertisement )

The deadline for applications for the SAMSA CEO is Friday this week, 29 July 2016.

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SOUTH AFRICA’S MARITIME SECTOR RESEARCH COLLABORATION GATHERS SPEED

Verging on becoming the world’s Top 10 maritime nation, South Africa firms up its Oceans Research capabilities through enhanced collaboration.

Docked at the port of Cape Town, the SA Agulhas II, South Africa's dedicated research vessel owned and operated by the Department of Environment Affairs (DEA). Photo: SAMSA
Docked at the port of Cape Town in October 2015, the SA Agulhas II, South Africa’s dedicated research vessel owned and operated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). Photo: SAMSA

South Africa’s increasing focus on expanded development of its maritime economic sector should soon yield dividends for especially much needed research, and maritime sector education in general.

It is through research, education and skills development that desperately sought-after economic opportunities in the maritime sector can be identified, thereby opening doors for entrepreneurship and business investment, and which in turn should lead to job creation and increased employment, wealth sharing and ultimately poverty reduction.

It is a long held recognition in the country but which has gained more currency and airtime notably since the historic inaugural all-embracing maritime sector indaba: the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC) held in Cape Town in 2012.

20151113_070215Yet, even as broadly acknowledged at the SAMIC four years ago and indeed, in prior and subsequent industry or sub-sector imbizos and related, ocean space focused research in the country has hitherto been sparse and decidedly shallow and isolated, undertaken separately by different groups including mainly the State, education institutions and the private sector, in line with their peculiar interests and goals.

This led summarily to not only excessive costs for individual groupings, compounded by unnecessary duplication in some cases, but also to poor collation, quantification, coding and utilization of accumulated knowledge.

However, a groundswell of events currently clearly suggests that this is about to change, fast.

To read more click here

Use it or lose it: ANC’s MK veterans urge South Africans to closely guard their maritime heritage!

Pretoria: 09 November 2015

AVENTURA VETERANS: (From Left) ANC MK veterans taking part in the first of a possible series of discussions on South Africa's Maritime Heritage are , Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 9.
AVENTURA VETERANS: (From Left) ANC MK veterans taking part in the first of a possible series of discussions on South Africa’s Maritime Heritage are , Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 9.

South Africans could sooner than later readily wake up and smell the oceans around them, or while forever focused solely on the inland, rise up one day with no longer any effective control over  their 3000km ocean line, never mind a heritage they could boast about.

This was the stark warning issued by participants in a Maritime Heritage Round Table discussion held in Cape Town recently.

Involved in the discussions held alongside the inaugural SA Ocean Festival, on board the SA Agulhas at Table Bay harbour, were three former ANC Umkhonto WeSizwe cadres with some unique maritime warfare experience, Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 91.

The three are part of group of only five still alive in the country today who were part of a select unit of MK soldiers involved in attempts to infiltrate South Africa for military purposes in the early 70’s, using ocean bound vessels including a United Soviet Socialist Republics’ (USSR) owned ship known as the Aventura.

Their key input at the Maritime Heritage Round Table discussion focused on the need for South Africa to expand and increase its education effort for the nation about the importance of the maritime sector, from both an economic and social perspective.

To read the full article click here, or to view the edited video click here