Real opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector will draw people’s attention: SAMSA

Durban: 02 April 2017

SHARING INSIGHTS: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of South African Maritime Safety Authority addressing a gathering of about 30 people, a majority of them journalists in Durban at lunchtime on Sunday

Identification and creation of economic opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector is among key strategies that will attract and enhance the country population’s interest and engagement with the ocean’s economy, according to Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Durban on Sunday.

Mr Tilayi said this while addressing a group of journalists and some maritime sector specialists at a lunch event held at the Durban beachfront ahead of the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning in the city on Monday at the old Durban airport.

The annual summit in Durban is one of two major national maritime sector gatherings in the country in the coming week, the other being the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2017) over three days in Port Elizabeth. Eastern Cape; beginning on Wednesday.

Mr Tilayi (Right) having a one-on-one meeting with some journalists at a gathering at the Durban beachfront on Sunday

SAMIC 2017 scheduled for the Boardwalk Conference Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay and hosted by the recently established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), will be the second such conference of its kind since the inaugural one held in Cape Town some five years ago.

In Durban on Sunday, the SAMSA lunchtime event, was intended partly to provide an update on some developments concerning the maritime sector as well as share information on a whole range of developmental issues that the maritime authority is engaged with or contributes to, inclusive of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project launched in 2014.

Mr Tilayi, noting that South Africa is a maritime country endowed with just of over 3200km of a coastline on which sits eight commercial ports, and some 1.6-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone spread over three oceans from the Atlantic in the west, the Southern Ocean in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east, yet the average South African still knew little to nothing about the sector; said part of the awareness campaign should involve identification and creation of meaningful economic opportunities in the sector.

This he said, would not only attract the public’s attention but would also ensure meaningful, profitable engagement.

Mr Tilayi’s address covered progress as well as challenges faced on a whole range of issues inclusive of ship registry, seafarer training, maritime sector education and training initiatives, maritime sector related legislation development and related matters.

In addition to his expected contribution at the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning on Monday, Mr Sobantu’s next important address will be in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where he is scheduled to deliver a report-back on maritime sector developments related to issues raised by industry since the last industry conference five years ago.

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SAMSA and SA National Heritage Council sign an MoU on maritime heritage

Pretoria: 24 March 2017

LOCKING GRIP ON HERITAGE: (From Left), Mr Sonwabile Mangcotywa, CEO of the South African Heritage Council and Mr Sobantu Tllayi, acting CEO of the Maritime Safety Authority during a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony between the two institutions in Pretoria on Thursday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the National Heritage Council (NHC)  formally sealed their ongoing collaboration on arrangements in pursuit of maritime heritage awareness development initiatives with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Pretoria on Thursday.

The signing of the document marked the formalization of a relationship between the two organizations that has been in the making since about a year ago, following to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) formally having established an ongoing initiative to focus on development and enhancement of the nation’s awareness about its maritime heritage.

At Thursday’s  event, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA and Mr Sonwabile Mangcotywa, CEO of the National Heritage Council (NHR) described the formal ratification of the fledgling relationship as a critical point in both organization’s  common goals towards enhancing co-operation and collaboration in the development and public awareness promotion about the country’s maritime heritage.

“It is imperative and long overdue that we formalise our agreement to co-operate and collaborate through a working arrangement such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for general cooperation, and proceed to further enter into Memoranda of Agreements (MoA) for specific projects as and when one of the two parties may agree thereto”, Mr Tilayi and Mr Mancotywa said in a joint statement.

The pair described South Africa’s maritime heritage as a “backbone for our commerce, aquaculture, agriculture, arts and culture, sports and recreation, mining and other societal endeavours and pursuits”.

They further concurred that maritime heritage was the bedrock for beneficial partnerships in South Africa, the African continent, the African Diaspora and the world at large, and it was therefore “only natural that the two parties formalise their co-operative agreement to take this important work forward,” they said.

SAMSA and the NHC have been working together on maritime heritage since about a year ago and which partnership culminated in a joint public presentation of the endeavor  during the 38th World Maritime Day in September 2016

SHAKING ON IT: Mr Tilayi and Adv Mangcotywa shortly after signing an MoU in Pretoria on Thursday

Giving context to SAMSA and the HRC’s view of maritime heritage and the processes set in motion to enhance both its development and public awareness, they said that South Africa was the only country on the African continent with access and control over sea waters covering an area equivalent to 1.6 million km² with a coastline of 3924 km – from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Southern Ocean to the Antarctic and Indian Ocean in the east.

The SA maritime economy contributed R19-billion to the country’s GDP in 2013, with projections currently indicating that it as likely to rise to around R44-billion in 2020.

Against the backdrop, there was “a great potential for this sector to contribute to the economic growth and participation of the majority of this country. Equally, the heritage that is weaved throughout this sector covers many years of history that uncovers how our forefathers utilised these water spaces.

“Shipwrecks like that of the SS Mendi remain evidence of SAs heritage for the world. The maritime sector also ranks high in tourism attraction which is also a good source of revenue and job creation for the country,” they said.

The partnership would see the two institutions, in conjuction with other institutions in the heritage, academic, corporate and related sectors; working together to “draw more African youth, women and people with disabilities to participate in the maritime economy through projects and following careers in the sector. Awareness campaigns will be embarked upon to educate the public about the opportunities in marine heritage as well,” the statement said.

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South Africa remains posed for a pioneering role in Africa’s ocean economy development: SAMSA

Pretoria: 14 March 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel on arrival Port Elizabeth on Friday after a three month research and training expedition in the Indian and Antarctic oceans with 30 cadets on board.

South Africa is well positioned to play a pioneering role in the African continent’s drive for expansive growth of its ocean’s economy sector, but especially if stakeholders and key role players both in the public and private sector continue to strengthen co-operation and collaboration towards the goal.

That is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting chief executive officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in the wake of yet another highly successful collaborative effort that saw a group of Indian scientists along with 30 South African cadets complete on schedule a three-months long research and training expedition both along the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic region.

Crucially, according to Mr Sobantu, the expedition was successfully undertaken aboard the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, this past week.

After dropping off the Indian scientists in Mauritius a few days earlier, the vessel – under the command of SAMSA – docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday, to a warm welcome by senior officials of several institutions in both the public and private sector. These included SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA), the National Skills Fund under the Department of Higher Education and Training, recently established bunker services group, Aegean; the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA, the Maritime Crew Services (MSC) and a few others.

The SA Agulhas was acquired by SAMSA in 2011 for training in support of the National Cadet Programme, which is being managed by the Port Elizabeth-based SAIMI.

The training is being funded by the National Skills Fund.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months

The vessel sailed on 14 December 2016 from Cape Town with 30 cadets under the guide of SAMTRA and MCS.

The group of seven (7) engineering and 23 deck cadets along with two training officers joined the South African crew on a research voyage chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research.

Her first port of call was Port Louis in Mauritius on Christmas Eve where she took on board the team of Indian scientists and five container loads of equipment. The ship sailed south from Mauritius before heading West of Kerguelen Island and on to Antarctica and back to Mauritius carrying out operations at various scientific stations along the way.

On completion of the expedition Friday, Mr Sobantu said the event was just one to possibly vindicate the brave stance taken by the maritime safety authority  a few years ago to acquire the vessel with the sole intention  of providing a viable yet necessary intervention in the development of a local cadre of seafarers.

More than 350 cadets have been trained aboard the SA Agulhas since 2012 after SAMSA acquired the vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and re-purposed the former Antarctic research and supply vessel as a training vessel to support the National Cadet Programme.

The cadet programme enables aspiring sea-farers to obtain the practical sea-time experience required to attain a Certificate of Competency (COC) as either a Deck Officer or Marine Engineering Officer. The COC is an internationally recognised qualification, issued by SAMSA in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention on the Standards, Training and Certification of Watch-keepers (STCW), and opens up a global sea-faring career for these young South Africans.

The programme is a skills development initiative linked to Operation Phakisa which aims to grow South Africa’s participation in the maritime economy. The initiative is managed by SAIMI and financed by the National Skills Fund.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

On Friday Mr Tilayi noted that: “The three-month cruise took the vessel and the cadets all the way down to 68 degrees south where they encountered severe weather. Both the vessel and the cadets passed with flying colours.”

Key to the success, he said, was ongoing cooperation and collaboration among a group of stakeholders, interested parties and the investment community. For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (video), Click Here

Meanwhile, SAIMI chief executive officer, Dr Malek Pourzanjani was also full of praise of the success of the SA Agulhas’ latest venture into a research and training expedition.

“The fact that the Indian government was willing to entrust leading scientists and important multi-disciplinary scientific research to a South African training vessel crewed by South Africans is a tribute to the quality of our mariners and the training offered in South Africa,” Dr Pourzanjani.  For his full remarks, Click Here

Ms Phyllis Difeto, chief operations officer of TNPA was in agreement with her counterparts at SAMSA and SAIMI: “South Africa needs more world class maritime expertise at all levels,” she said, also stressing the need for

ongoing collaboration between TNPA, SAMSA, SAIMI and the private sector to ensure that South African mariners received world class training that would position them well for seafarer work around the globe.

For Ms Difeto’s full remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, the cadets on the expedition were full excitement, sharing their experiences as well as hopes for the future as seafarers. Two of the cadets, Afrika Masuku and Sandisiwe Ngcobo spoke briefly before their welcoming audience on Friday, thanking both their trainers and training sponsors for the opportunity. In separate interviews, five other cadets opened up about their experiences as did one of their trainers. For these interviews Click Here.

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Sustained collaboration remains key to meaningful maritime sector development: SAMSA

Cape Town: 09 February 2017

KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening.
KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening. Looking on (extreme Right) is SAMSA Company Secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu

Continued collaboration through regular engagement and exchange of ideas, views and opinions among key role players and interested parties remains the key to any positive achievements in the redevelopment and growth of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

This, according to SAMSA Board Chairman Mr Mavuso Msimang, was the underlying message behind a networking session hosted by the organization in Cape Town this past week, involving more than 60 officials from across subsectors of the country’s maritime sector as well as State departments and organizations.

img_4388Several of the industry principals and government officials were in the Mother City for Thursday’s 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament by President Jacob Zuma.

The networking session, a feature of SAMSA’s stakeholder engagement program, served also this year as a precursor to more robust formal engagements in the next few months among which will be the 2nd South Africa Maritime Investment Conference (SAMIC 2017) currently earmarked for Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in the first half of this year.

DSC_0148This will occur just over two years after the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014 which event firmly placed the country’s maritime economic sector central to the country’s broad economic development goals.

img_4397On Wednesday evening, Mr Msimang, flanked by some members of the SAMSA board as well as executive managers including acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; hosted the exclusive networking dinner for the maritime sector leaders at the Harbour House restaurant located in the heart of a quaint small fishing habour in Kalk Bay – some 30km south east of central Cape Town.

Global economic uncertainty remains

In his brief remarks to the group, Mr Msimang noted that global economic activity was not at its best and that recent political developments around the world, but specifically the exit of Great Britain from the European Union (a.k.a Brexit) and the recent outcome of the United States presidential elections had added economic risk factors with unpredictable consequences for global trade currently.

img_4407He said the same could be said of South Africa’s own socio-political and economic situation.

Mr Msimang said it was against the scenario that it remained absolutely important that various partners to the country’s maritime economic development sector continue to work closely together in managing and solving emerging challenges as well as in exploring for profit all opportunities.

He said SAMSA appreciated its role as facilitator and committed it that: img_4411“We will endeavor to promote events like this with the hope that the platform provided will enable people to talk and engage much more easily. We will support the industry in its deliberations with various government policy owners as well as playing our part in the governance of the maritime economic sector.”

(For some of Mr Msimang’s remarks, Click Here)

There are reasons for optimism

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Mr Tilayi noted that while the country’s maritime economic sector continued to experience a set of problems and challenges requiring sustained engagement with particularly government, there were reasons to be optimistic.

img_4419He said current joint efforts between government and industry could see more positive outcomes achieved, particularly in relation to policy development, ships registration under the country’s flag, a rejuvenation of the country’s fishing sub-sector vessels fleet through recapitalization, as well as renewed impetus in efforts towards the sustained development of the country’s cadre of seafarers and related.

Mr Tilayi emphasized however, the critical importance of continued engagement among key role players in the sector, also stressing SAMSA’s continued facilitation role between industry and government.

(For some of Mr Tilayi’s remarks: Click Here)

Mr Andrew Millard, a director of shipping group, Vuka Marine – Cape Town based owners of the first three shipping vessels to carry South Africa’s flag in 2015 – expressed appreciation of the role played by SAMSA and indicated that while there were numerous challenges facing the sector still, there were also numerous reasons for optimism, particularly with regards expansion of a vessel fleet carrying the country’s flag  – a particular development deemed vital to especially the training of a cadre of South African seafarers.

(For more of Mr Millard’s remarks: Click Here)

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SAMSA and IPM hold hands over human skills development and effective management

 ipm-samsa

21 December 2016

Mutual and reciprocal interests in human resources development and its ongoing effective workplace management is the glue that holds warming relations between the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Institute of People Management (IPM), it transpired at the latter organization’s annual conference and awards function in Johannesburg recently.

SAMSA’s special guest status at the function was in remembrance and honour of the maritime authority’s Centre for Maritime Excellence former executive head, the late Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo, who passed away earlier this year.

At the time, Ms Nhlumayo, had been four months into her term as the IPM’s ‘ambassador’ in lieu of her top national achievement as the people management organization’s “Business Leader of the Year 2015 Award’ winner – this in recognition of her sterling efforts to advance human resources development in the country, but particularly in the maritime and tourism sectors over a number of years.

The late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo
The late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo

Ms Nhlumayo died of cancer in February 2016. She was 44 years old.

In Johannesburg recently the theme of the IPM 60th 2016 conference was ‘Gearing up for the fourth Industrial Revolution’, with SAMSA allotted a slot to share its viewpoint on “Leadership in New Economies” from its vantage point with respect to the country’s maritime economic sector development, championed nationally under the theme of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy).

Ms Itumeleng Pooe, a senior manager for Marine Tourism and Leisure, and a former close colleague of Ms Nhlumayo, represented SAMSA. She expressed appreciation of the developing relationship between SAMSA and the IPM.

“The presentation was partly to pay respect to Sindiswa posthumously and share with the audience the work she has done in traversing our people especially young ones through the world of maritime, precisely through skills development, transformation, training etc and the synergies she has created between maritime and other fields, said Ms Pooe.

Mr Elijah Litheko, chief executive officer of IPM later described the presentation as a “moving tribute and befitting for a caliber of person Sindiswa was.”

Ms Itumelng Pooe
Ms Itumelng Pooe

The two organizations are working on bedding down the relationship struck due to Ms Nhlumayo’s work, with the IPM having now allocated SAMSA, at its discretion, a ceremonial ‘ambassadorial’ position for the next year allowing for sustained linkages between the organizations.

Said Ms Pooe: “This is a welcomed opportunity which will see SAMSA continuing to fly the maritime flag and deepening the understanding of maritime amongst peers while doing work to promote people development, awareness and empowerment.

“It is these very spaces that ensure that SAMSA remains current and relevant more so that people development is becoming an economy on its own as we gear for the fourth industrial revolution,” she said.

Her sentiment reflected on that by SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi who described the development as inspiring to both organization.’

According to Mr Sobantu, Ms Nhlumayo played a crucial and pioneering role in positioning SAMSA a critical role player and partner in the development and expansion of maritime education and skills development in the country, from foundational to tertiary and vocational levels.

PICKING THE CUDGEL: Ms Lesego Mashishi (Right) SAMSA senior manager, Human Resources; with the late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo (Left) in October 2015, shortly before the passed on.
PICKING THE CUDGEL: Ms Lesego Mashishi (Right) SAMSA’s Chief Human Capital Officer, with the late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo (Left) in October 2015, shortly before she passed on.

Conversely, he said: “The IPM is the country’s lead people focused organization engaged in shaping the proper and effective management of people in the workplace and therefore its work is very complimentary to ours in terms of our contribution to human resources skills development and effective management.”

Mr Sobantu said SAMSA’s Chief Human Capital Officer, Ms Lesego Mashishi would assume the role of a point person between the two organizations.

Ms Mashishi said she was honored to be afforded the opportunity to work with the IPM on mutually beneficial issues between the two organizations.

 

End.

What being an IPM ‘ambassador’ means.

According to IPM CEO, Rre Elijah Litheko, the role involves participants assisting the organization “to fulfil its strategic mission of becoming the portal to thought leadership in people management, helping to address current challenges facing business and society through supporting relationships which focus on the sharing of knowledge, skills and experience, as well as mobilizing critical resources.  It is through these relationships that IPM will be able to increase its impact and make a significant contribution to HR in South Africa.”

Support could involve any of a number of activities among which are the sharing of knowledge, skills and experience according to participant’s respective industry sectors or jobs role for the benefit of the HR community and IPM members and mobilizing resources or networks to support and enhance the activities of the Institute. Reciprocity derives in the opportunity for participants being able to regularly profile their own organizations in their engagements.

South Africa-Norway inaugural maritime sector ‘Science Week’ yet another cog in the oceans economy wheel

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Pretoria: 12 October 2016

South Africa’s multi-billions rand worth maritime economic sector presents business opportunities far fewer investors globally are willing to ignore, the least among these being Norwegians, who through both their government and independent institutions, are firming their bilateral relations with the country.

This becomes evident yet again last this month when the Scandinavian country – with long experience in oceans economy and globally respected expertise on matters marine and maritime – joins the South African government in staging a week-long “Science Week” beginning on October 31 in Pretoria and winding down in Cape Town five days later.

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
File Photo: Earlier this year, delegates to a two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway

Themed: “South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016”, the event – a first of its kind driven by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Centre of International Cooperation in Education, and supported in South Africa by a host of Government departments and institutions led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) – is billed as aimed at creating opportunity for further sharing more intensively, information on the many opportunities presented by South Africa’s oceans economy.

In a statement recently, according to ‘Team Norway’ – a Norwegian group comprising the Research Council of Norway, Norwegian Centre for International Co-operation in Education, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria – the event “aims to explore opportunities for cooperation in education, research and new business development.”

The group states that the event is a result of and seeks to cement already well established relations between Norway and South Africa dating back to the ‘pre-freedom years when Norway actively supported opposition to the apartheid regime.

DSC_0148“The 1990s initiated an era of co-operation in higher education and research (and) since 2002, bilateral research programmes have provided support for 86 projects, of which 19 are still active,” it says, adding that annual high consultations between the two countries focus on areas of common economic and political interest, including the SANCOOP programme for research on climate change, environmental and renewable energy.

In addition, focus of the annual bilateral meetings between South Africa and Norway at Ministerial level have increasingly focused on areas for co-operation on South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.

The latter co-operation has since culminated in among others, the Norwegians in 2016 entering into a partnership with the Port Elizabeth-based Nelson Mandela University where they ploughed some R50-million over five years in a new academic centre to fight against illegal fishing in South Africa.

During 2016, the Norwegians were also part of a gathering of some of the country’s maritime economic sector role-players in Port Elizabeth working on a strategy for an anticipated rollout of a South African national maritime cluster.

Later this month, they will again be joining South Africans to look at and share experiences related to the country’s opportunities and challenges with regards the ocean space over the next 10 years.

Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth are (Left) Norway's ambassador to South Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU
FILE PHOTO: Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth recently are (Left) Norway’s ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU

The discussion in plenary sessions will focus on among key issues; an ‘overview and strategic context to the blue economy’ dealing specifically with global trends and national strategies related to benefits of expanding bilateral cooperation in education, research, innovation and business development.

Also in focus will be South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) and how the Norwegians could contribute in its further development and advancement.

Related will be focus on global success stories and new funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers and related.

Over 200 guests are already confirmed as attending the Science Week in Pretoria and Cape Town, among these being dozens of academics, specialists and innovators in the global oceans space from several universities, research institutions and  business sectors in South Africa, France, and a few others countries.

DSC_0151
South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor

Also key participants from South Africa are Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor; National Research Foundation executive director, Dr Aldo Stroebel; The Innovation Hub CEO, Mr McLean Sibanda; South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi and others.

From Norway the delegation is expected to include Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Tone Skogen; Research Council of Norway director-general, Mr Arvid Hallén, Innovation Norway director of Regions and Financing, Mr Per Niederbach; SINTEF executive Dr Karl Almås, and several others.

The South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016 begins at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria on October 31 and wraps up in Cape Town on Friday, November 4, 2016 with excursions of the Western Cape by various interest groups that may involve focused seminars, workshops and network opportunities.

For more information on the event, and an online platform to register for attendance, please Click Here.

End.

Enkovukeni: (not) a bridge too far!

Initiative to alleviate community plight now a Presidential Project – Deputy Minister of Transport

Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in black outfit) and some senior government officials at provincial and local government level in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi on board a boat donated by private sector companies to the water-locked community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal on Friday
Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in black outfit on the far right) and some senior government officials at provincial and local government level in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi on board a boat donated by private sector companies to the water-locked community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal on Friday

Pretoria: 11 September 2016

After wading through crocodile, hippopotamus and rhinoceros infested waters for decades – more than five centuries by one account – the community of Enkovukeni, a small village patched on a forested hill surrounded by deep lakes waters on the one side, and the pulsating waves of the Indian Ocean on the other, at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, might soon have a bridge at last.

That is if the South African government which has taken focus of the area fully for the first time, can negotiate a few treacherous corners inclusive of international conventions governing the management of the country’s first ever World Heritage Site; the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park in which the village is tightly locked in.

Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address the cmmunity of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalinga on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Friday
Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address the community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalinga on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Friday

On Friday, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga accompanied by members of top management of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a group of private sector representatives and provincial and local government officials in KwaZulu-Natal; met the villagers with their traditional leader, Inkosi Tembe and she gave an undertaking that national government would look into the plight of the community.

They told her in unison, without a second thought; they wanted a bridge, along with a ‘two-lane’ road.

The desperate request is based on the fact that an only entrance by a vehicle into the area – stopping short of a kilometer to the village, on the banks of an oft swollen lake – is a three to five kilometer long single-lane shifting sand pit barely two meters wide, running rugged through a thicket on which only off-road vehicles are able successfully to grind.

Folklore has it that a few locals who’d ever managed to buy a vehicle, any type of vehicle; have never ever been able to take it home. Boating on the heritage site lakes is also apparently highly regulated.

Marooned by lake and ocean waters all around and with barely any road to speak off in a thicket, Enkovukeni vehicle owners never ever take them home, when they have managed to nearby their village - that is when they have survived tyre punctures in the sandpit single lane that makes for a road in the area.
Marooned by lake and ocean waters all around and with barely any road to speak of in a thicket, Enkovukeni vehicle owners never ever take them home, when they have managed to arrive nearby their village – that is when they have survived tyre punctures in the sandpit single-lane that makes for a road in the area.

On Friday, Ms Chikunga however described it as a bizarre situation that should not obtain still in the new South Africa, and committed that government would fully investigate the possibility of constructing a bridge across some part of the lake in order to provide more secure and safe mobility for the community.

But that will partly require working past a basket of international conventions along with domestic laws, rules and regulations governing the management of the Isimangaliso World Heritage Site.

enkovukeni-resized0052

Information on the park’s website states that the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 “in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.”

It states: “The 332 000 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old vegetated coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.”

The deputy Minister’s visit of the area on Friday was the second since August 14, 2016; following to an initiative by the Pretoria headquartered South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with private sector partners in the Durban region’s maritime sector to assist the Enkovukeni community with mainly water based transport.

According to SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the initiative was sparked by a news report earlier this year that depicted the living conditions of the community as dire due to an almost complete lack of not only transport, but anything else to enhance its life to a level others in surrounding areas generally take for granted.

As part of its community outreach programme under the annual Nelson Mandela International Day (2016), the authority mobilized support for help among some private sector companies that could lend a hand, in the form of boats that could be donated,.

To date a handful agreed, among them the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, shipping group Smit-Amandla Marine, Dormac, Subtech, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment FBI Communications and some others.

enkovukeni-resized0135
Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga helping launch officially the first of possibly three boats donated to Enkovukeni villagers at Umhlabuyalingana on Friday.

The event Friday was to both hand over the first of possibly two or three boats the community would be donated with in order just to be safe enough for day to day travel, including school children who have to cross the lake daily to attend school, the sick who need medical help and the elderly who have to collect their social grants.

It was also for government at all three tiers to consult further with the community on how best it could be further assisted.

Ms Chikunga announced that government had taken serious note of the situation such that it was now being undertaken as a Presidential Project under the direct control of President Jacob Zuma.

Members of the Enkovukeni village community, listened attentively of Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga on Fiday.
Members of the Enkovukeni village community, listened attentively of Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga on Fiday.

Mobilization, she said; had begun by the Department of Transport (under her directive) to involve and engage fully no less than seven other national departments – Public Works; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Basic Education, Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Small Business, Trade and Industry, Energy Affairs, and Arts and Culture; but also the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in efforts to focus their attention to action to alleviate the plight of the Enkovukeni community.

“When I visited the area for the first time on 14 August 2016, and held talks with Inkosi Tembe and some members of the community, I promised I would be back with a progress report. Today, I am back not only with a report back, but also with tools and equipment intended to alleviate the plight of this community. The boats are not a total solution, but are a start.

“As promised, I have since taken your situation to the Office of the President with a proposal that this situation be undertaken as a Presidential Project, and he has agreed. The next step proposed is the establishment of an inter-Ministerial Task team involving deputy Ministers of the respective departments in order that we package a comprehensive programme that will deliver on the issues requiring address.

“The Director General in the Office of the President is currently arranging for the first of such meetings,” she said.

A community member sharing the villagers' frustration with the Isimingalisa Heritage Site management with government officials at Enkovukeni on Friday
A community member sharing the villagers’ frustration with the Isimingalisa Heritage Site management with government officials at Enkovukeni on Friday

Ms Chikunga said the involvement of as many national government departments as was possible was a necessity to ensure that as many challenges facing the community as possible were noted and where possible addressed holistically as soon as possible.

These included skills development for especially fishermen, small business development in particularly tourism as well as aspects related to arts and culture.

In addition, housing assistance and electrification, school nutrition and related matters, land management and general development needed specific and urgent attention, she said.

Ms Chikunga promised to return to the village within the next few weeks to deliver shoes to school going children (estimated at about 150) as well as certain basic necessities to families.

End

 To listen fully to Ms Chikunga’s address (mainly in isiZulu), as well as the rest of the officials and community members, please click on the audio clips and video links provided below. The clips are in order of the programme as presented on Friday. 

Clip 1: Welcome Address, Inkosi Tembe

Clip 2: Outreach Programme broad outline – Mr Sobantu Tilayi (SAMSA aCEO)

Video

Clip 3: Outreach Programme Specifics – Ms S. Molemane (SAMSA Board Member)

Clip 4: Boat donation – Mr Vincent Zulu (KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board)

Video

Clip 5: Community Response – Mr Ngubane

Clip 6: Local government speaker – Ms B.T Tembe

Clip 7: Key address – Ms Sindisiswe Chikunga (Deputy Minister, Transport Department)

Video

 

 

 

 

Transport Ministry and SAMSA take to water to bail out long struggling rural KwaZulu-Natal community

 

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Durban: 07 September 2016

Peaceful co-existence with the natural environment should soon take on a whole new meaning from this weekend for a KwaZulu-Natal community virtually water-locked by a river upon which modern bridges are by law not allowed to be constructed even as the surrounding deep waters are infested with crocodiles and other indifferent water based animals.

The community of Enkovukeni will on Friday host a delegation of public and private officials led by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and the acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi; on a visit to deliver to the community a whole range of developmental materials, including boats, all intended to assist the community in its day to day strife with a water-centred life.

Confirming the event postponed from last month to this week in order to allow for more input by other interested parties, in a public media statement on Tuesday evening, the Department of Transport wrote:

The Department of Transport, supported by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) invites members of the media to the handing over ceremony of basic essential services including boats and engines to the Enkovukeni community on Friday, 9 September 2016 in KwaZulu-Natal.

The small impoverished rural community which is situated in the north of KwaZulu-Natal forms part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. The Park is South Africa’s first world heritage site.

This initiative is part of the Umhlabuyalingana Outreach Project which was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project by SAMSA. The community of Enkovukeni in KwaZulu-Natal was identified as a beneficiary. SAMSA proposed a partnership with other stakeholders to accelerate delivery of services and bring immediate and long term relief to the community.

Enkovukeni is a thin 5km strip of land, practically an island, stretching from Bhanga Neck to Kosi Bay Mouth with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Kosi Bay lake system on the other. The area is virtually only accessible by foot or make shift canoes which residents currently use.

The community faces various socio-economic challenges including lack of sufficient infrastructure and limited access to social and other services.

This initiative is sponsored by Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.

The Deputy Minister of Transport Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and members of the community will also grace the event.

Issued by: Department of Transport

This blog and related platforms will carry the highlights of the important function .

A community chance for a truce with hippos and crocs in KwaZulu Natal

 SAMSA and Department of Transport kickstart an initiative to assist Enkovukeni Community in KwaZulu Natal with water transport in a symbolic gesture associating with the spirit of Nelson Mandela International Day 

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Enkovukeni village youths have to wade through deep waters of a crocodile and hippo infested river daily just to make it to school.

Pretoria: Friday 19 August 2016

(Please note that this article has been updated to correct place names and geo-location of Enkovukeni)

Forever wading through deep waters to cross a river while constantly having to negotiate inherently pointless truces with feisty hippos and hostile crocodiles could soon be a thing of the past for the community of Enkovukeni  in KwaZulu-Natal.

This could be as soon as next month (September 2016), ahead of the summer rains, when an initiative by the Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other Maritime partners to alleviate the plight of the community hopefully gets underway.

Ekuvukeni community members risking their lives trying to cross the hippo and crocodile infested Wasbank River
Enkovukeni community members risking their lives trying to cross the a hippo and crocodile infested river.

Central to the initiative conceived this year as a symbol to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day, is the enhancement of general safety and security of the community through provision of water transport for use in navigating a crocodile and hippo infested river adjacent the village.

SAMSA and the DoT said they had secured cooperation with various partners in the private sector to contribute to the initiative called The Umhlab’uyalingana Outreach project, to provide water transport and related resources to the community, and the parties were currently seeking actively to also involve other Government Departments in order to expand and maximize resources to assist the community.

This effectively altered plans to launch the community initiative on Saturday, August 20 as initially planned.

According to SAMSA and the DoT this week, the initiative to render assistance with water transport was decided upon following to news reports that depicted apparently calamitous living conditions facing the Umhlab’uyalingana community emanating largely from dangers associated with its unavoidable use of the Wasbank River.

“The initiative was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project in recognition of former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July.  This year, official Mandela Day activities centred around four key areas, namely literacy and education, food security, shelter and infrastructure as well as the environment.

“The community of Enkovukeni has multiple needs and some of them fall within the DoT and SAMSA’s broad areas of operation. The community was profiled as being cut out by a crocodile and hippo infested river from the rest of the community. There is no bridge to cross the river, leaving the community with having to swim across it and face all the attendant risks.

“(But) apart from the basic need for access, the community has other needs that range from food security to basic water safety. The above are the reasons that this community was chosen as a beneficiary,” said SAMSA.

logo1The DoT agency responsible for the country’s maritime safety and environmental integrity added that engagements were currently underway with other Government Departments through the DoT to ensure the initiative had maximum impact.

The idea is to mobilise stakeholders to partner with the DoT and SAMSA in bringing immediate relief to the community by donating boats and other water safety means to cross the crocodile and hippo infested river; mobilise for the donation of basic supplies; create synergies with other partners and stakeholders to bring long term and sustainable relief to the community of Ekuvukeni particularly means of leveraging the tourism potential of the area; and empower the community to develop long term projects that will ensure that basic services are delivered, said SAMSA.

According to SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi the expansion of the initiative followed to needs assessments made with community representatives.

“There is a need for interdepartmental responses into the challenges faced by the community. It is key for us to bring the private and public sector together to focus in on the area and provide the infrastructure required for their lives to be uplifted. We will continue to monitor the progress of the work we have started and in September during the launch, the fruits of this public-private partnership will be realised. An intergovernmental task team will also be engaged to provide the much needed support,” he said.

IMG_0651 (2)Meanwhile, private sector partners confirmed so far according to SAMSA and the DoT include Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.

It was reported that the KZN Sharks Board had allocated two student groups, who this week started with the building of the boats.

The report quoted KZN Sharks Board Education Project Specialist, Vincent Zulu as saying: “We are using an old hull. We will add the rails, compartments, the seating area, steering, and built in oars. The boat would be able to seat 12 people. There are crocodiles and hippos in this dam, and during the raining season water is deep, which means the people have to walk around to find a shallow area to cross the river. The boat would be able to manoeuvre in deep areas and the risk of people being attacked would be minimised.”

As part of the initiative, the board’s Maritime Excellence Centre would also conduct a one week long SAMSA accredited skipper’s course to teach the community how to handle the boats and to help advance their aquaculture skills.

End

US Government maintains engagement with SAMSA for possible closer collaboration on marine domain security

IN PURSUIT OF OCEANS SAFETY: Back Row (From Left): Mr Hagen Maroney, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Officer; Mr Sizwe Nkukwana, SAMSA Manager for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy); Ms Ameliah L. Croft, US Embassy (South Africa) Foreign Affairs Officer; Mr  David Moisi, SAMSA Manager for International Relations and Protocol,  and Mr Martin Matlebyane, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Specialist. Front Row: (From Left), Ms Rebecca R. White, US Embassy (South Africa) Transportation and Telecommunication Officer, and Professor Jane Lubchenco, US Department of State advisor in Marine Studies and US Science envoy for the Ocean.
IN PURSUIT OF OCEANS SAFETY: Back Row (From Left): Mr Hagen Maroney, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Officer; Mr Sizwe Nkukwana, SAMSA Manager for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy); Ms Ameliah L. Croft, US Embassy (South Africa) Foreign Affairs Officer; Mr David Moisi, SAMSA Manager for International Relations and Protocol, and Mr Martin Matlebyane, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Specialist.
Front Row: (From Left), Ms Rebecca R. White, US Embassy (South Africa) Transportation and Telecommunication Officer, and Professor Jane Lubchenco, US Department of State advisor in Marine Studies and US Science envoy for the Ocean.

26 July 2016

Closer collaboration between the United States of America (USA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on various aspects affecting and impacting the maritime domain remains vital for achievement of common goals, a meeting between representatives of the two parties in Pretoria concluded.

The meeting on Friday (22 July 2016) at the SAMSA’s Head Office in Pretoria, involving members of senior management of the organization, headed by acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; and a US government delegation led by US Department of State’s Science Envoy of the Ocean, Dr Jane Lubchenco, was the second between the two groups in about 12 months.

Accompanying Dr Lubchenco – also a distinguished professor and advisor in marine studies at the Orange State University in Corvallis (Oregon. USA) – were US South Africa embassy officials;   Transportation and Telecommunication  Officer, Ms Rebecca R. White; Environment, Science and Technology Specialist, Mr Martin Matlebyane; and Foreign Affairs Officer, Ms Ameliah L. Croft.

Also present were representatives of the Department of Transport.

Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi, SAMSA Chief Examiner and Ms Esayvani Padayachee, SAMSA Statistics Administrator (Centre for Boating), working on finer details of the meeting's agenda shortly before the SAMSA management and US Government delegation on Friday (22 July 2016).
Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi, SAMSA
Chief Examiner and Ms Esayvani Padayachee, SAMSA  Administration Officer (Office of the COO) working on finer details of the meeting’s agenda shortly before the SAMSA management and US Government delegation in Pretoria on Friday (22 July 2016).

On the agenda were, among others; the progress being achieved with South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) from a SAMSA perspective, the State organization’s role and standpoint on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s Port State Measures Agreement and to which South Africa gained accession in February 2016.

The Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, entered into by a number of countries around the world since about 2009, is described by the FAO (UN) as an instrument designed to mobilize countries towards co-operation in the fight against illegal fishing globally.

FAO (UN) states thus: “Port State Measures (PSM) are requirements established or interventions undertaken by port states which a foreign fishing vessel must comply with or is subjected to as a condition for use of ports within the port state.

“National PSM would typically include requirements related to prior notification of port entry, use of designated ports, restrictions on port entry and landing/transhipment of fish, restrictions on supplies and services, documentation requirements and port inspections, as well as related measures, such as IUU vessel listing, trade-related measures and sanctions. Many of these measures have in recent years seen their inclusion and development in international instruments.”

Dr Jane Lubchenko (Left with a scarf) meeting members of the SAMSA management representatives at the start of the groups' meeting on Friday
Dr Jane Lubchenko (Left with a scarf) meeting members of the SAMSA management representatives at the start of the groups’ meeting on Friday

At the meeting at SAMSA HQ on Friday, the discussions touched on how SAMSA played a role in this regard and about which information was exchanged on the effects of a “Safe Ocean Network” initiative linked to the illegal fishing prevention crusade, that serves as a clearing house for information sharing among partners, whether state or individual and independent companies.

The US delegation also expressed interest in SAMSA’s role in the promotion of public awareness about the maritime sector, with expressed keen interest for collaboration and possible partnerships.

The US would also share more information on the increased utilization of certain technologies such as unmanned aircraft (drones) in the promotion of marine environmental safety, while the parties also agreed to cooperation with South Africa’s quest to enhance cruise shipping subsector of the maritime economy sector.

Previously, SAMSA and the US Department of State’s delegation led by Dr Lubchenco last met in Cape Town in July 2015 and during which parties held discussion on a range of maritime domain related programmes and projects towards which they could work jointly.

These included ocean government and community development, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, general safety and security at sea, skills development and technology transfer, research and development, climate change and renewable energy as well as ocean environmental management with regards especially ocean acidification

 Further discussion on these and related matters would continue, the groups indicated.

End