‘South Africa is open for business’: Vuka Marine – owner of now three SA registered cargo ships

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Pretoria: 22 June 2019

South Africa’s ship registry has been given a boost with the registration of yet another vessel operated by Vuka Marine, bringing to close on half a dozen the number of operational ships now carrying the South African flag in world oceans.

The Vuka Marine cargo vessel known as the Windsor Adventure: Port Elizabeth, was formally welcomed into the country’s ship registry at a ceremony held in the city of its registry and home, the port of Port Elizabeth this past week.

DSC_0837.JPGGuests attending included representatives of the Department of Transport (DoT), the Ports Regular of South Africa, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Eastern Cape provincial government, the Nelson Mandela University (NUM), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other business and institutions representatives.

DSC_0764.JPGVuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime of South Africa and K-Line of Japan.  The company is currently moving about 2.5-metric tons of ore per annum, mainly on the first two capesize bulk carriers that it flagged in South Africa in 2015.

The latest addition is the third cargo ship operated by Vuka Marine to be registered under the South African flag and the fifth so far in the registry since launch of the SAMSA driven campaign to revitalise the commercial ship stock registered in South Africa about a decade or so ago – an apparently painstaking venture it has proved to be to date.

At the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, both senior national and provincial government officials attending, including the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Ms Weziwe Tikana, expressed delight at the growth of ships now coming carrying the South Africa flag, however slow, and also acknowledged the need for speed in adding more into fold of the registry in far higher numbers if the country was to realise its ambitions of developing the country’s maritime economy transport sub-sector, develop skills and create employment.

DSC_0804.JPGIn the videos below, all six speakers – Captain Brynn Adamson (Harbor Master: Port of Port Elizabeth; Mr  Mahesh Fakir (CEO: Ports Regulator SA), Mr Metse Ralephenya (Marine Transport: DoT), Mr Andrew Millard (CEO: Vuka Marine), Mr Sobantu Tilayi (acting CEO: SAMSA) and Ms Weziwe Tikana (MEC for Transport: Eastern Cape) were unanimous in praise of the joint effort and close collaboration being achieved in delivering on the ship registry campaign. They also expressed determination in ensuring that hiccups currently being experienced, especially with taxation and related business costs of ship registration under the South African flag must be resolved.

In their order of appearance, Capt: Adamson said the port of Elizabeth was proud to be the home of no less than four operating vessels registered calling the port their home.

The four include the three operated by Vuka Marine and one other operated by bunking services company, Aegian. For his full remarks, click on the video below.

Ports Regulator, Mr Mahesh Fakir elaborated on financial incentives now approved in preference of vessels coming under the South African flag, as well as necessary operational conditions expected of ships registered in South Africa which he said were consistent with the country’s maritime sector developmental goals.

This was coming against the backdrop that South Africa relies on about 12 000 foreign vessels to carry 96 per cent of its exports to the rest of the world each year, leaving it strategically vulnerable.

On incentives, Mr Fakir said South Africa currently offers up to 30 per cent discount on port dues by ships locally registered. On operational conditions, among other things, he said it was important that vessels carrying trade goods outbound and inbound, as well as personnel manning the vessels, should increasingly be South African.

For more on his remarks, Click on the video below:

“South Africa is open for business….” were the closing remarks of Vuka Marine CEO, Mr Andrew Millard in summation of both his company’s experience and achievements in its quest for registration of its cargo vessels dating as far back as 2009 and one of which only got registered in 2014.

Among notable achievements being increasingly realised was the placement to date of some 50 young South African cadets on its vessels, the absorption of about dozen of these into full-time employment, and a current recruitment campaign for more young trainees known in the sub-sector as ‘ratings’.

He said Vuka Marine was also keen to assist the country’s ship registry through sharing experiences with ship operators keen on carrying the South African flag.

Mr Millard’s views were earlier echoed by the company’s chairman, Mr Andrew Mthembu, who remarked: “We are thrilled to welcome the Windsor Adventure into Vuka Marine’s fleet. This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development of the South Africa’s maritime industry, the national registry, and our seafarer population.”

For Mr Millard full remarks, Click on the video below:

For SAMSA, the campaign to enrol more commercial cargo vessels in the country’s ship registry had proved tedious, unnecessarily at times due to lack of co-operation by some important institutions.

“We are 95% towards setting up everything in place to ensure a smooth operation in  drawing ships into the country’s registry, but that five per cent that’s outstanding is the difference between success and failure'” said SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

Issues involving taxation were among the impediments, but so was more closer co-operation and collaboration necessary from particular the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), he said. For his full remarks Click on the video below.

Ms Weziwe Tikana, MEC for Transport in the Eastern Cape described it as befitting that newly registered vessels under the SA flag had their home in the province. She said the province had the privilege of having the second longest coastline in the country after the Western Cape but had little to show for it so far. However, she said, since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) by government in 2014, the province had resolve to increase its economic contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product based on maritime economic sector growth,

This, she said, was necessary not just for economic growth but also for social transformation and higher participation by all South Africans.

For her full remarks, Click on he video below:

DoT’s Marine Transport directorate official, Mr Metse Ralephenya was full of praise that ‘pressure’ from the department on SOE CEOs involved in maritime transport was truly beginning to pay off handsomely, and vowed on behalf of DoT to ensure that necessary support by government was given.

For his full remarks, Click on the video below.

While being celebrated, the 56 000dwt Windsor Adventure was busy taking on board yet another load of locally mined minerals destined for overseas markets.

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Maritime industry keen for speedy action to resolution of maritime risk challenges.

Agrees to support the intention to introduce new levies to boost the Maritime Fund.

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Pretoria: 04 April 2019

Positioning two emergency towing vessels (ETVs) – one more than at present – at strategic locations along South Africa’s coastline, and centralizing technologies for monitoring of South Africa’s oceans at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), are among consensus views shared at the SA Maritime Risk Workshop held in Durban last week.

However crucial also was a unanimous decision by industry for new levies to boost and consolidate the country’s maritime fund administered by SAMSA as the main financial resource for addressing and improving maritime risk related issues.

These were among about a dozen issues enumerated for discussion and decision during a SAMSA organized two-day South Africa Maritime Risk Workshop held in Durban on Wednesday and Thursday last week, involving about 70 delegates from the public and private sector with direct interest in the country’s maritime sector.

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The purpose of the workshop, according to SAMSA, was to provide opportunity for the country’s maritime sector to focus on the state of the country’s maritime risks and come up with workable solutions to ensure safety and security in the sector.

Issues for discussion ranged from an overview of the country’s maritime risk profile involving case studies, the country’s legislative framework and institutional responsibilities, third parties dependencies, to maritime domain awareness, pollution monitoring and combating, the country’s response capability as well as funding.

Several presenters, all experts in their respective fields both in the private and public sectors of the maritime sector, led the discussions. The outcomes would be compiled into a consensus view report for submission to the SAMSA Board of Directors for further action.

In the final analysis, about a half dozen or so issues were enumerated for consensus decisions to enable the fast-tracking of implementation. The list included:

  • South Africa’s tooling capacity to vessels emergency response,
  • Aerial capability for oceans monitoring,
  • Advanced technologies for day to day monitoring and management of vessel traffic and related matters such as oceans pollution, as well as their central location,
  • Oil combating capability as regards its institutional location,
  • A precise definition of the country’s state of readiness spelling out exactly what oceans emergency situations the country should be ready for, and indicators thereof
  • Institutional arrangements: relating to enhancement of cooperation and collaboration among various key role-players in the sector,
  • Legislation: but particularly with regards to ensuring that all relevant legislation to management of the country’s maritime sector is up to date along with related regulations.
  • Funding, with regards to precisely the positioning of the Maritime Fund as envisaged in the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP)
  • Maritime security imperatives as falling within the Maritime Security Advisory Committee.

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On Thursday, the second and final day of the workshop, delegates expressed agreement with a suggestion that two Emergency Towing Vessels would be sufficient for the country’s oceans area – this based on a feasibility study conducted on behalf of the Department of Transport and presented by Mr Brian Blackbeard of the Atlantis Consulting group.

According to Mr Blackbeard, operational requirements of an ETV primarily involve preventing marine pollution at sea and secondary to which are; protecting life and property at sea, detecting, reporting, investigating and combating marine pollution at sea, as well as salvaging wrecked, stranded or abandoned ships at sea.

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The area of operation of the ETV is described as including all of South Africa’s maritime zones as made up of both the territorial waters and contiguous zone, the country’s exclusive economic zone incorporating both the Prince Edward and Marion Islands, the continental shelf, the Antarctic claim as well as the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre’s area of responsibility.

According to Mr Blackbeard, the area of operation is vast, hostile with dense marine traffic inclusive of large vessels as well as an increase in leisure cruise vessels.

With regards to South Africa’s aerial capabilities, the workshop noted that South Africa possessed pockets of expertise and resources notable working in isolation and that it was necessary for the maritime sector to determine the correct necessary mix of aerial surveillance tools including the alternative technologies such as drones and synthetic aperture radar (SAR)

On the location of dedicated technologies to maritime risk, the consensus view was that SAMSA, as the country’s dedicated maritime safety authority already in charge of Sea Watch and Rescue (SWR) should be the custodian of both existing and future technologies – including that currently under development by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

DSC_9789.jpgWith regards oil combating capability, the view was that ongoing engagement on modalities of the function should continue between DEA, the Department of Transport (DoT) and SAMSA. Otherwise the issue was considered settled with no need for further broad stakeholders engagement.

In terms of institutional arrangements involving cross institutional functions and responsibilities, the Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg) would be a peace time forum ensuring preparedness for offshore oil and gas spills . In case of emergency response, plans are underway to introduce the Incident Management System(IMS) as a preferred incident response model.

The IMOrg was established in October 2017 under Operation Phakisa and is chaired by the Department of Transport, charged with managing oil and gas spillages at sea.

The Maritime rescue coordination centre (MRCC)will continue  undertaking sea rescue missions for distraught vessels and seafarers within the 2 798 kilometre South African coastline.

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It is constituted by SAMSA, the National Disaster Management Centre, the Petroleum Agency of South Africa, DEA and the Department of Mineral & Resources to name but a few.

The Durban workshop was assured that the channel was taking shape, but with still a lot of work to be done including clearly defining and finalizing responsibilities for each of its constituent entities.

The Maritime Security Advisory Committee was deemed the ideal forum to handle matters relating to piracy and armed robbery against ships,as well as, port facilities securityOn legislation, the Durban maritime risk workshop delegates accepted that SAMSA along with the DoT would be left to handle management of the revision of the country’s maritime sector laws.

This being the case, the DoT indicated that three base legislations, the Merchant Shipping Act, Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Bill and the Maritime Sector Development Bill were awaiting Cabinet approval which would occur only after the constitution of the country’s 6th Government administration following the 08 May 2019 general elections.

The ratification of the three pieces of principal legislation would, according to DoT Acting Deputy Director General for the Maritime Transport, Mr Dumisani Ntuli, provide the basis for the updating and development of new regulations.

To hear his full remarks on specifically this matter, click on the video below.

A final and perhaps highly significant consensus agreement reached by the delegates was that relating to funding, with those present nodding support for the intention of imposition of special levies to boost the Maritime Fund as a primary resource for maritime risk related matters.

For the brief moment during which this viewpoint was agreed on, click on the video below.

For closing remarks of the two day workshop by Mr Ntuli, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, the DoT further expressed its pleasure with the holding as well as outcomes of the SA Maritime Risk workshop by SAMSA, expressing belief that it is among important steps due for undertaking to ensure ongoing development of the country’s maritime sector but particularly in terms aims envisaged through the CMPT. For more on this click on the video below. Mr Terrence Mabuela talk to the blog for a few minutes. Click on he video below.

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Maritime emergencies a real threat for South Africa: SAMSA

DSC_9692.JPGDurban: 27 March 2019

South Africa’s state of readiness for maritime emergencies along its expanse of oceans at the southern tip of Africa remains porous at the very least, and finding viable solutions to the massive challenge lies with consultation and ongoing collaboration among stakeholders, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has said.

Addressing about 80 delegates from the private and public sectors to a two-days maritime risks workshop in Durban that began on Wednesday, SAMSA board member and chairperson of the agency’s Maritime Industry Committee, Ms Sekabiso Molemane described the country’s maritime risks as high and the state of readiness for emergencies  as low.

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Ms Sekabiso Molemane. SAMSA Board Member

She attributed the situation to both increasing global utilization of the oceans and waterways in and around the country, and the collapse of structures previously in place to safeguard the maritime and marine environments.

The risks involved ranged from pollution and environmental degradation, vessel traffic accidents involving both property and people’s lives, to improper use of the country’s waters by rogue elements in world trade. Alongside these, was the country’s poor state of readiness to respond properly and on time, with the requisite personnel, tools and equipment.

She said South Africa’s marine emergency response rested previously on a foundation of cooperative institutional infrastructure built on the mandates and respective capabilities of mainly government entities.

“Over time,” she said: “the mandate or main focus of most of the entities that formed the core of South Africa Maritime Emergency Cooperative Response got reviewed and in most cases, the review led to the erosion of the respective maritime elements.

“The cumulative result of these reviews is a substantially eroded marine emergency response capability.”

Examples of the situation included the diminished role of the South African Air Force in carrying out aerial functions as well as the reduction of Telkom Maritime Communications to Telkom Radio which has lead, she said, to inadequate and obsolete communications infrastructure. In addition, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Pollution Combating Function had inadequate and outdated pollution equipment.

“Thus with the passage of time, the capability that the Department of Transport requires in order to respond to maritime emergencies has been largely diminished, in most cases both in terms of skills capacity, the equipment as well as institutional memory. This demise is largely driven by budgetary constraints within  those institutions,” said Ms Molemane.

The purposes of the SAMSA organized workshop, she said,  was for maritime risk stakeholders to take stock of what remains of the architecture for marine emergency response, reassess what the requirements are to resuscitate and sustain a world standard state of readiness, taking into account the funding and capacity that would be required to achieve the goal.

For Ms Molemane’s full remarks, click on the video

Meanwhile, speaking at the end of the first day of the workshop on Wednesday, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi expressed satisfaction with progress achieved during the day, and wherein a number of crucial issues were identified for correction, inclusive of legislation that was suffering neglect due to lack of adequate attention.

Crucially, Mr Tilayi said, the important point of the exercise was to ensure that South Africans were aware of the situation and secondly, that necessary steps were being taken to address it.

“It helps little to hide challenges of this nature and which are in the public’s interest when what would be useful is to share the knowledge and with that, trust stakeholders to partner with you in finding solutions. That is what this two day gathering is about,” he said.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks at end of day one of the workshop, Click on the video below.

The workshop continues on Thursday.

 

No matric pass without swimming: Transport Minister

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School children on board the SA Agulhas while docked in Port Elizabeth recently. (SAMSA File Photo)

Pretoria: 11 March 2019

Rapid transformation and development of South Africa’s maritime economic sector will require several interventions among which must be a comprehensive education, training and skills programme to equip particularly youth with the requisite knowledge that will ensure meaningful inclusion and participation.

According  to Transport Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande this may include school going children in particularly coastal areas of the country being required to learn how to swim as part of their basic education.

South Africa’s coastline covers a length of some 3 200km along which four provinces; KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape are settled, from the Indian Ocean in the east, Southern Ocean in the south through to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

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Minister of Transport: Dr Blade Nzimande

Swimming as a possible compulsory subject for South African schools was among a raft of projects proposals mentioned and discussed at the recent maritime transport sector inaugural dialogue held in Durban.

In his closing remarks of the gathering, Dr Nzimande said the seriousness of the proposal for swimming  to be a compulsory school activity was such that it might become a necessary competency that  is a condition to exiting high school.

“I cannot commit to the idea until it has been canvassed with the relevant departments including the Minister of Basic Education. But I think it’s a good idea that we should not allow any child to complete matric without also learning to swim.,” he said.

Jokingly he said that of all sports codes in the country, swimming was the only sports the majority of South Africans – precisely black people – did not really care about its transformation because, he said: “They are afraid of water.” This had to change, he said, in order to broaden and deepen transformation of the maritime transport sector.

Among other issues the maritime transport sector could look forward to in 2019 would be the launch of an Inland Waterways Strategy following to its approval by government recently.

For Dr Nzimande’s full remarks, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, a Maritime Transport Sector Declaration developed and adopted by delegates to the Department of Transport convened two-days meeting in Durban has been released and shared with delegates this past week.

To access and download the document, click on the link below:

2019 DECLARATION – MARITIME TRANSPORT INDUSTRY DIALOGUE

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Maritime transport sector in for a shake-up and shape-up phase: Transport Ministry

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Durban: 02 March 2019

South Africa’s maritime transport sector is poised for a significant shake-up and shape-up phase over the next few years including the possible corporatization of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), establishment of innovation hubs, reconfiguration of maritime education and training as well as a push towards domestication of local shipping trade transport occurring along the country’s and southern region coastal areas.

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Minister of Transport; Dr Blade Nzimande

That is according to South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande in an address to delegates to the country’s inaugural maritime transport sector dialogue held in Durban on Thursday and Friday this week.

The gathering at the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel on the Durban beachfront and with its focus on the maritime transport sector, was the first in a series planned for the country’s transport industry over the next few months and years.

Guiding focus of the maritime transport sector dialogue was the recently promulgated Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP), a product of the National Transport Masterplan (NATMAP) 2050, aimed at facilitating collective pursuit and achievement of maritime sector economic development targets some set under the country’s Operation Phakisa: Ocean’s Economy programme for the next decade.

Among other things, the CMTP requires the Department of Transport to ‘initiate programmes to holistically and coherently grow and develop the South African maritime transport sector.’

On Thursday in Durban, Dr Nzimande who celebrated his first full year as Minister of Transport in February, said several proposals towards fulfillment of the goal were on the table for consideration. Among these was the setting up soon of a Maritime Transport Sector Development Council (MTSD), a development delegates to the dialogue have since endorsed.

Dr Nzimande said the council may be up and running by June 2019, even if on an interim basis pending finalization of its member composition and related matters.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) corporatisation

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However, also on the cards was a contemplated corporatisation of the country’s ports management entity, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), with a view to unlocking vast economic opportunities identified within the country’s ports area of contribution and influence.

Dr Nzimande said “The present policy and legislation of government requires that we corporatize the Transnet National Ports Authority. I will be tasking the National Ports Consultative Committee to advise me on the steps to be undertaken to implement this crucial piece of legislation.

“I know that there is a debate (about this) because there are some people who are not wild about this idea. But a debate is good.”

He said this would take place against the backdrop of recognition that the country’s ports regulator was already doing a sterling job in creating a conducive and investor friendly environment at the ports, and also helping to reduce costs of doing business in the economic zones.

For Dr Nzimande’s remarks on the topic, Click on the 3 minutes video below

Transport innovation hubs

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Dr Nzimande said another crucial intervention would be the establishment of transport innovation hubs to facilitate the harnessing of talent and skills in the development of solutions to the country’s transport sector, inclusive of the maritime sector.

Describing this as something ‘very close to my heart’, Dr Nzimande said: “I am really committed into investing in having transport innovation hubs. We are not going to transform the transport sector generally, or any mode of transport, without investment into science, technology and innovation.”

Illustrating the particular importance of this aspect of development, Dr Nzimande drew an example about the country’s rail transport and said it was inconceivable that in modern times, trains in South Africa were still colliding randomly on railways when transport mobility technology had so advanced such that such collisions should be history.

He said the innovations hubs would facilitate the promotion and harnessing of science, technology and innovation ideas for deployment in areas of transport to help improve both functionality as well as efficient services. He said he would set up a task team to explore and pursue the idea towards implementation.

For Dr Nzimande’s remarks on the topic, Click on the 3 minutes video below

Focused education, training and skills transfer

On education and training, Dr Nzimande said empowerment and transformation in the sector was proving futile in the absence of proper and relevant education, training and skills transfer.

He said black economic empowerment was meaningless if it was limited only to shareholding while those sought to be empowered knew next to nothing about managing and understanding businesses in the maritime economic sector.

Towards addressing the situation, Dr Nzimande said his department would engage with various role-players inclusive of the Department of Higher Education and Training, with a view to establishing a dedicated education, training and skills development focus for the sector.

For his remarks on this aspect, Click on the video below:

Domestication of shipping and localization of content

Dr Nzimande also reflected on a number of issues inclusive of the need for a South Africa owned fleet of shipping vessels, as well as an increase in local content in the boat and ships repair and manufacturing subsectors.

On development of locally owned or registered ships, Dr Nzimande said coastal shipping could be supported in various ways inclusive of local mining output, but also the shifting some of the road transported goods onto ships that would service the southern African region.

With regards utilization of local content in ship repair and manufacturing, he said empowerment through shareholding by South Africans in operations that were importing goods that could be manufactured locally actually amounted to dis-empowerment as such schemes derived no meaningful and sustainable benefits for the local economy.

For his full remarks on this topic, Click Here:

For Dr Nzimande’s full unedited full speech, click here

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Development council proposed for maritime sector: Dr Blade Nzimande

DSC_9520.JPGDurban: 01 March 2019

The establishment of a Maritime Transport Sector Development Council may be one critical intervention necessary as a platform and vehicle to develop concrete strategies and co-operation to develop and transform the sector, Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has announced.

He was addressing hundreds of delegates attending the Department of Transport’s two-day dialogue on maritime sector transport in Durban on Thursday. These include government, private sector and academia representatives from across the country.

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Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande

According to Dr Nzimande the Council would also be expected to develop appropriate plans to grow the sector within the context of the oceans economy.

The proposal was coming against the backdrop of the introduction of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) in 2017 aimed at expanding opportunity as well as foster transformation in the sector.

On Thursday, he said: “For us to succeed in the growth, development and transformation of the maritime sector, the Department of Transport introduced the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) to realize the goals of growth, development and transformation of maritime transport.

“The CMTP calls on all of us to help develop and position South Africa as an international maritime centre. Part of what we have been working on as the Department of Transport, has been the identification of both obstacles and gaps in current legislation, especially legislative or legal impediments to the smooth implementation of the CMTP.

“The CMTP vision of a maritime transport industry is that of ‘an effective and growing industry that is safe, secure, reliable, economical and well regulated.’ It goes further to say that ‘it should be environmentally sustainable within the global logistics chain, and contribute to South Africa’s socio economic development and growth.’

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Some of the delegates to the inaugural Department of Transport’s maritime sector transport dialogues in Durban.

“The CMTP envisages the establishment of the Maritime Transport Sector Development Council as a platform and vehicle to develop concrete strategies and co-operation to develop and transform the sector. This Council is also expected to develop appropriate plans to grow the sector within the context of the oceans economy,” said Dr Nzimande.

Existence of the new Council would, he said, enable the development of a multiyear Maritime Transport Sector Plan (MTSDP) as well as the review and monitoring of the overall performance of the sector as key tasks assigned to the MTSDC by the CMTP.

“I would like to move with speed to establish the necessary framework for the institutionalization of these bodies because I believe they will help achieve our development objectives.

“Making such decisions will not only revitalize shipping but will also save our country the estimated R46 billion per annum of freight transportation costs.

“Parallel to the adoption of favorable trade terms, it has become urgent that mining and energy sectors hold consultations towards the development and adoption of an incentivized scorecard in the procurement of shipping transportation especially for the movement of coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome and other materials in the context of agreed percentages for such transportation as reserved for South African ships. “

Dr Nzimande also confirmed the launch next month of the Maritime International Relations and Technical Cooperation Committee (MIRTC) to enhance planning and execution of maritime economic diplomacy.

He said: “My Department has advised me that the Maritime International Relations and Technical Cooperation Committee (MIRTC) as envisaged in the CMTP is being established next month. The MIRTC will enhance the planning and execution of our maritime economic diplomacy.

“I also understand that, consultations are at advanced stage toward the establishment of the BRICS Maritime Forum. Further consultations will be undertaken in the margins of the forthcoming BRICS Summit taking place in Brazil in August 2019.

“I would wish to encourage the setting up of these structures as they will go a long way in ensuring that we engage internationally with a very clear articulation of what our international maritime strategic approach is,” he said.

For Dr Nzimande’s full remarks, either read the full text below, or click on the video below.

DSC_9530Remarks by Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande at the inaugural transport dialogue for the maritime economic sector in Durban on Thursday – the first of two days of the event.

Video:

Speech Text

Ladies and gentlemen,

Sanibonani, good morning to you all.

I am pleased to welcome you to the first Ministerial Dialogue series on Transport. In this dialogue convened for the coming two days, we will be  discussing and engaging on the South African Maritime Transport Industry and its contribution towards creating jobs – moving south Africa forward.

The inaugural Maritime Transport dialogue event is the first in a series of transport dialogues. Cabinet adopted the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) as a framework for the growth, development, and the transformation of maritime transport in our country.

It is time that all the stakeholders gather and have such a dialogue in order to hopefully agree on a common approach to the accelerated transformation of the sector.

So that we properly understand the true nature of the sector, my department, working together with the sector as a whole, to produce a proper picture of the state of the maritime transport sector.

I strongly support more extensive and intensive research into this sector so that we are better informed about what is to be done. The maritime transport sector is a also a key component in government’s objective in growing and developing the oceans economy.

If I were to compress my speech into a few sentences about what this dialogue should achieve, I would say that what is paramount in my mind as we gather over the next two days is: what are the obstacles to the transformation of the maritime sector generally, and the maritime transport component of this sector in particular? And what is to be done?

What economic opportunities are there to to grow and develop a transforming maritime transport sector? How do we ensure inclusive growth and development of the sector, including the previously disadvantaged, as well as women and youth? How do we accelerate employment equity and decent working environment in this sector?

I expect frank and robust discussions in exploring these questions over the next two days, but minimizing lamenting and focus on concrete actions and strategies to transform the sector.

I wish to state upfront that there is no contradiction between growth and development of the sector on the one hand, and the transformation of the sector. Instead the two are closely intertwined.

There can be no growth and development of the sector unless it is inclusive and transforming!

Ladies and gentlemen

Government’s starting point is that South Africa is surrounded by just under 4000 kilometers of sea line and we have correctly identified our oceans as a strategic resource and that which we have not fully taken advantage of given its hugely untapped potential.

According to Operation Phakisa – Oceans Economy strategy, the oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) and create just over one million jobs by 2033 and between 800 000 and 1 million direct jobs.

Through Operation Phakisa, forty-seven (47) detailed initiatives have been identified, whose progressive implementation is expected to increase the oceans economy’s GDP contribution by R20 million per annum and lead to the creation of 22 000 direct new jobs this year, 2019.

To further explore this potential, government brought together teams from government, labour, business, academia and other sectors to work together in experimental laboratories, to explore all possibilities and further unlock the potential of our country’s vast coastline.

This is all consolidated under Operation Phakisa. In addition to these laboratories, we therefore can achieve more of these objectives if we put in place two enablers of Skills and Capacity Building and that of Research, Technology and Innovation also to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As the Department of Transport, we are leading the Marine Transport and Manufacturing work stream, which is amongst the six work streams established by Operation Phakisa ocean economy.

Amongst others, our work stream has highlighted a concern that South Africa currently has no registered ships. This is in spite of the fact that each year, three hundred million (300 million) tons of cargo moves through our ports in imports and exports.

In addition, 1.2 million tonnes of liquid fuels move along our coast, while the rapidly expanding offshore oil and gas activities require a supporting fleet of vessels.

As a country, we are ideally positioned to serve the East-West cargo traffic and the booming African offshore oil and gas industry, through marine manufacturing, which includes ship and rig repair, refurbishment and boat-building.

Despite this competitive advantage in geography, we currently capture only one percent of the global market of ship repair and replenishment. Of the eighty (80) oil rigs estimated to be in the range of the Western Cape, only four rigs are serviced per year, showing significant potential for growth.

We therefore need to swiftly meet some of the initial targets drawn up by this work stream which include:

  • An increase in the local manufacturing capacity through a ten percent  increase in the usage of local components for boat and ship building;
  • An increase in the ship repair capacity in Richards Bay, thus creating two hundred (200) direct jobs;
  • To create a dedicated education, training and skills development focus for the sector, working with the Department of Higher Education and Training in particular.
  • Increasing the amount of minerals exported on South African ships, as well as the attracting investment into the development of coastal shipping, through transportation of goods and products (eg. motor vehicles) through sea whilst simultaneously growing tourism in this regard.

Ladies and gentlemen

I decided as part my commitment as Minister of Transport to promote a much deeper dialogue between government, labour, business and academia with direct or indirect interest in the transport industry generally, starting with the maritime transport dialogue.

Today, as we reflect on the maritime sector, we can attest to meaningful progress already achieved. However more still need to be done particularly as we are gathered here as social partners to restore the bonds of trust, dialogue and cooperation.

Through this dialogue, we intend to reach out to those parts of our society that have become disaffected, disinterested or marginalized from meaningful participation in the sector.

We held a successful Presidential Jobs Summit that agreed on far-reaching measures that – when fully implemented – will nearly double the number of jobs being created in our economy each year.

The maritime sector must also ensure that the Job Summit agreements are realized. For us to succeed in the growth, development and transformation of the maritime sector, the Department of Transport introduced the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) to realize the goals of growth, development and transformation of maritime transport.

The CMTP calls on all of us to help develop and position South Africa as an international maritime centre. Part of what we have been working on as the Department of Transport, has been the identification of both obstacles and gaps in current legislation, especially legislative or legal impediments to the smooth implementation of the CMTP.

The CMTP vision of a maritime transport industry is that of “an effective and growing industry that is safe, secure, reliable, economical and well regulated. It goes further to say that “it should be environmentally sustainable within the global logistics chain, and contribute to South Africa’s socio economic development and growth.

The CMTP envisages the establishment of the Maritime Transport Sector Development Council as a platform and vehicle to develop concrete strategies and co-operation to develop and transform the sector. This Council is also expected to develop appropriate plans to grow the sector within the context of the oceans economy.

The development of a multiyear Maritime Transport Sector Plan (MTSDP) as well as the review and monitoring of the overall performance of the sector are key tasks assigned to the MTSDC by the CMTP. I would like to move with speed to establish the necessary framework for the institutionalization of these bodies because I believe they will help achieve our development objectives.

Making such decisions will not only revitalize shipping but will also save our country the estimated R46 billion per annum of freight transportation costs. Parallel to the adoption of favorable trade terms, it has become urgent that mining and energy sectors hold consultations towards the development and adoption of an incentivized scorecard in the procurement of shipping transportation especially for the movement of coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome and other materials in the context of agreed percentages for such transportation as reserved for South African ships.

The national shipping carrier(s) is regarded as strategic pillar in the revival of the maritime transport industry especially shipping. When Cabinet approved the CMTP, it approved the policy with an embedded target of ensuring that measures that will ensure that within the next 5 years of the adoption of the CMTP, a significant targeted percentage of exports and imports are moved by the national shipping carrier.

We are already in the 2nd year of the adoption of the CMTP adoption and it has therefore become extremely urgent that these measures with clear timeframes are implemented.

Although I welcome the emerging offshore bunkering services provision along South Africa’s coast especially off Port Elizabeth, such developments must not happen outside the context of the CMTP envisaged development of a bunkering infrastructure and service strategic framework. Offshore bunkering services must not negatively impact on in-port bunkering services provided by South African businesses.

The CMTP’s provision of this framework will create a balanced and viable industry as opposed to the mushrooming of activities that are mainly driven by foreign or narrow interests whose desire is  money, and possibly spearheaded by individuals or entities who are engaged in potential fronting.

The regulation of maritime zones remain my responsibility and I will be announcing measures that will ensure that these zones, particularly in which we have exclusive jurisdiction over, are increasingly serviced  by licensed South African entities. I need to commend the Ports Regulator of South Africa for their role in creating a conducive and investor friendly environment in ports by helping reduce the cost of doing business in ports.

The use of the tariff determination methodology as a tool for not only promoting local manufacturing but also facilitating new entrants of young entrepreneurs and port innovation must be encouraged and be rewarded where it is due. I understand that the Ports Regulator will share some of those approaches when they address us later this morning.

Master of ceremonies;

The present policy and legislation of government requires that we corporatize the National Ports Authority with a separate Accounting Officer and a Divisional board.

This consensus I understand was negotiated and agreed upon   We must move with speed to ensure a transition to a corporatized port entity. I will be tasking the National Ports Consultative Committee to advise me  on the steps that must be undertaken to implement this crucial piece of legislation with greatest of efficiency, working with Minister of DPE.

Later on, the Transnet Ports Authority will be sharing with us their challenges and future plans. I would like to acknowledge the huge contribution by the entire TNPA from the Chief Executive, Harbour Masters, and Port Managers and to men and women enabling South African trade.

Their successes in driving ability to invest and deliver massive infrastructure projects to the value of R20.37 billion requires a special recognition. Investment in skills development, innovation, research and development are the reason why businesses grow and governments experience efficiencies.

Businesses and or governments who do not invest in these areas become victims of their own circumstances. Since I was assigned to this portfolio, I have committed to establishing Transport Innovation Hubs (TIH).

Part of what has motivated me to push for this is that without science, technology and innovation (STI), we cannot transform and position the sector to be part of, and benefit from, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We all to come together to mobilize significant investments into STI.

There are also many bright young people with lots of ideas for innovation in the transport sector, and we need to find a way to create an environment for such creativity to thrive. So please work with me in realising what would become our future transport innovation paradigm.

Our country is ranked number 10 of countries manufacturing luxury boats. The boat building sector is indeed one of the strongest and well-established of maritime subsector.

Participating in the Department of Trade and Industry’s programme of export promotion of South African manufactured goods and products, the sector has grown exponentially.

The CMTP has however identified the need for the Department working in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Trade and Industry and other relevant organs of state, to promote appropriate technologies  for manufacturing, infrastructure and boat & ship repair.

Ladies and gentlemen

We now see Africa’s Maritime Sector increasingly being recognised as a key strategic driver of increased African trade and economic development, both directly and indirectly. There is growing momentum and attention focused on the sector and its potential role as an engine for growth, industry transformation, and job and business creation.

The African Union has the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, or “AIMS” in recognition of the role that the ports of the AU Member States have to play in economic and social development, and the fight against poverty and unemployment.

We are indeed pleased to have the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the Chair of the African Union in 2020. This is important as it will assist in helping South Africa in accelerating the maritime agenda within the context of the African Continental Free Trade agreement execution. How do we as a sector make use of such opportunities?

The Africa Maritime Indaba 2020 will be convened here in South Africa with the Pan African Maritime stakeholders including the Women In Maritime Africa (WIMAAfrica), a body that is recognized by the AU.

That is another key platform for our sector and for increased participation by all potential beneficiaries. I understand that the Vice President, of WIMAAfrica, Mrs Ipeleng Selele is present here with us today. Madam we are delighted to have you here.

The 2020 Maritime Indaba will give an update of the progress of AIMS 2050, which provides the foundation for public and private maritime policy and practice across Africa. It will begin to raise awareness of its core precepts, to catalyse dialogue on its contents and intent, and to begin to identify its potential to act as a blueprint for national maritime strategies for Africa’s maritime nations.

The signing by our President of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, the (AfCTFA) agreement in Nouakchott,  the capital of Mauritania, means that we have joined more than 50 African states who have already signed the AfCTFA as commitment to facilitating a single market for goods and services on the continent.

I also understand that the African Development Bank (AFDB) will be holding its meeting here in November 2019 and that there is an appetite for investment into maritime infrastructure to be part of their agenda. This calls upon our entrepreneurs to come up with innovative projects and opportunities in the sector.

We just do not need passive shareholders in the sector, but active, skilled and knowledgeable and entrepreneurial participants in the development of the sector. In welcoming this development we must therefore put a plan for interacting with the African Bank.

We have now gone beyond conceptual frameworks, we can no longer be in a state of unending planning, and we need to accelerate the implementation. As has been communicated widely, South Africa will also be hosting the IMO 2020 World Maritime Day Parallel event.

The 2020 event is set to demonstrate how far we have progressed in maritime affairs. This will also present South Africa with an opportunity to attract attention and potential investments into the development of our oceans economy.   Since becoming Minister of Transport, I have participated in a number of trade missions including Russia, China, and most recently Cuba.

My Department has advised me that the Maritime International Relations and Technical Cooperation Committee (MIRTC) as envisaged in the CMTP is being established next month. The MIRTC will enhance the planning and execution of our maritime economic diplomacy.

I also understand that, consultations are at advanced stage toward the establishment of the BRICS Maritime Forum. Further consultations will be undertaken in the margins of the forthcoming BRICS Summit taking place in Brazil in August 2019.

I would wish to encourage the setting up of these structures as they will go a long way in ensuring that we engage internationally with a very clear articulation of what our international maritime strategic approach is.

Ladies and gentlemen

I thank you all for responding to the invitation to the inaugural maritime Transport dialogue event and I have no doubt that you shall find it useful in advancing the transformation of the sector and accelerate the achievement of our key CMTP Strategic Objectives.

Dialogue such as this provide a valuable opportunity for research scientists, industry specialists and decision-makers to share experiences. I am grateful to the many experts who have come to share their knowledge in this dialogue.

I especially want to welcome members of the Panel of Experts to the Minister of Transport that I am bringing together to act a sounding board on key transport policies and programmes as well as catalyst research and innovation in the sector.

I also welcome the many representatives of governments, industry associations and NGOs who have joined us. I am sure you will have fruitful and rewarding exchanges today and tomorrow.

I wish you every success with this important dialogue and I look forward to learning about the outcome. I am sure you will have fruitful and rewarding exchanges today and tomorrow.

I wish you every success with this important dialogue and I look forward to learning about the outcome.

I thank you

National maritime sector transport indaba underway in Durban

DSC_4242Durban: 29 February 2019

A national maritime sector transport indaba convened by the Department of Transport over two days and involving government, various of its entities including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), private sector companies and academia is currently underway in Durban.

According to Minister of Transport Dr Blade Nzimande, the event on Thursday and Friday is a dialogue to promote strong relationship between government and private sector regarding developments, challenges, opportunities and transformation in the country’s maritime sector.

“The two-day discussions will also take into consideration the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) which outlines strategic guidance to transformation and gender parity in the maritime sector, job creation and stimulating the marine for economic development,” the department said a statement.

It said key topics for discussion over the next two days include; government’s maritime transport strategic objectives, key challenges and opportunities relating to safety of navigation along South Africa coast, unlocking maritime sector development through the delivery of strategic infrastructure in ports, industry development and transformation, maritime women empowerment in Africa, opportunities and challenges for coastal shipping as well as the country’s Mining Charter and its link with the maritime sector.

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Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande (Right) during a live national television interview at the port of Durban on Thursday morning ahead of the start of the Department of Transport convened Maritime Sector Transport Dialogue over two days, ending on Friday.

In explaining further the thinking behind the gathering described as the first dialogue of its kind for the maritime sector, Dr Nzimande said: “I have decided as part of the commitment I made when I accepted the appointment as Minister of Transport for the Republic of South Africa to promote a much deeper dialogue between government and the transport industry inclusive of all other stakeholders with direct or indirect interest in the transport industry.

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Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande during opening of the Department of Transport convened Maritime Sector Transport Dialogue in Durban on Thursday

“A great deal of what has interested me in this sector is not only its complexity, but most importantly its power to transform every sector of the economy. Transport has also a social transformation dimension for, through improved access and affordability, it has an ability to deepen social interaction almost at all levels.

“If then transport has such power to cause or bring about change, it means when managed well, it is no insignificant contributor to total transformation of society. It could therefore be suggested that an untransformed transport sector limits the ability of society to fully transform.

“But what I have observed is a much deeper question or challenge of our industry and, that is, its inability to talk within itself. This question has therefore kept me wondering in how we could create a transport dialogue platform of not only the transport stakeholders but also its customers and the society at large.

“There is lot that can be achieved when working cooperatively and collaboratively across all transport sectors. I have therefore decided to launch the Transport Industry Dialogue series and I aim to achieve a much closer working relationship between government, labour and business.

“It is through these dialogues that the mission of transport that of transforming society will be better shared and possibly understood better for decisive and integrated actions.

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Some of the delegates to the Department of Transport convened two days maritime sector transport dialogue over two days beginning on Thursday in Durban.

“The inaugural Maritime Transport dialogue event is the first one in the series not only because of the globalizing nature of maritime transport, but because we also aim in 2019 to accelerate the implementation of the Comprehensive Maritime Policy (CMTP) as approved by Cabinet in 2017.

“South Africa is a coastal state surrounded by three oceans and yet we are yet to fully enjoy the benefits of being a coastal state through our ocean based economy. The CMTP calls us to develop South Africa to become an international maritime centre.

“This inaugural maritime dialogue will, from now on, become an annual feature in the maritime calendar and I have no doubt of its ability to help us achieve this desire of being an international maritime Centre,” said Dr Nzimande.

This blog will carry further updates on Thursday through to the weekend in multimedia format.

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SAMSA sharing careers development information with youth one class at a time.

DSC_9279.JPGPretoria: 11 February 2018

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.

DSC_9381A 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

DSC_9327According 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.

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Ms Anne-Marie Stanisavljeivc of the Education Agency (right) going through the SAMSA Careers Development Programme with Grade 11 pupils of the Ngwenyathi High School near East London on Thursday, 7 February 2019

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.

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The rural villages among which Ngwenyathi High School is situated, some 33 kilometers north of East London, Eastern Cape.

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Norway ups financial support against illegal fishing and plastic waste in Africa. Nelson Mandela University rakes in R1-million more

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SEALING COLLABORATION: (From Left) Mr Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Iselin Nybø, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust and member of the African Marine Waste Network during the signing of cooperation agreement in Port Elizabeth on Monday, 29 October 2018.

Port Elizabeth: 01 November 2018

The development of a cadre of knowledgeable personnel with high expertise in the management of illegal fishing in South Africa and in the rest of the continent has been given a further boost with the allocation of an additional financial support of about R1-million by the Norwegian government.

The additional funding confirmed earlier this week will go to the Nelson Mandela University (NMU)’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy (a.k.a FISHFORCE) established in 2016.

The academy was set up at the NMU through a R50-million financial support, over five years, by Norway with the goal of establishing a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishing as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.

On Monday, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø in the company of South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom; visited the NMU for the signing of a bilateral agreement cognizant of the additional R1-million funding.

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Mr Alf Yngve Friiso, Counsel: Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa

Ahead of the signing ceremony, during the launch of an African Youth Waste Network early on Monday, Mr Alf Yngve Frisso, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa said the additional funding would go towards training of port security officers – a category of key personnel that was not covered in the initial funding bilateral agreement with the NMU.

“These people work 24 hours a day at the ports and a lot of them do not have training in identifying fish species and different types of fishing crimes. The additional funding will go to the NMU FishForce Academy in order to increase and enhance these officials level of knowledge and expertise.” he said.

The beneficiaries of the Norwegian government support would not be limited to South Africans only, but would include other African countries, he said.

For more on this, click on the video below.

Norway commits additional R2.8-million to fight against plastic pollution

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Ms Iselin Nybø, Norwegian Minister of Research & Higher Education

Meanwhile, Ms Nybø (38), on her first visit to South Africa, said collaboration between Norway and South Africa on strategic interventions in oceans management and related endeavors remained important to her government.

Addressing guests attending the launch of the youth network, Ms Nybø said she her government was impressed by both the initiative to rope in youth in the war against plastic waste pollution, as it was by the research, education and training undertaken by the Nelson Mandela University.

On plastic pollution, she said given realistic prospects that there would be more plastic at sea than fish in the near future, and that Africa would become the most polluted area of the world and a major contributor to plastic waste pollution, Norway’s government commitment to efforts to eliminate plastic waste pollution would be demonstrated through a direct investment of some 1.6-million Norwegian krone (R2.8-million) over the next three years.

To listen to Ms Nybø’s full remarks (about 08.20 minutes), please click on the video below.

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Ridding South Africa of plastic waste, the next frontier war; declares acting Minister of Environmental Affairs

20180603_134053Port Elizabeth 31 October 2018

Cleaning up and ridding South Africa of particularly plastic waste that eventually lands up at the country’s oceans to the disastrous peril of sea life, is going to be the next big war to be waged intensely by Government in collaboration with society, says Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom

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Mr Derek Hannekom. Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs addressing guests during the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday, 29 October 2018

Mr Hanekom confirmed this while attending the launch of an initiative to rope in and actively involve African youth in the war against plastic waste, as well as the signing of yet another collaboration agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Both the launch of the African Youth Waste Network by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) as well as the collaborative agreement signed between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela University on Monday to strengthen and expand education and training related to ocean’s management, are seen as key components to strengthening South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative to rejuvenate and grow the country’s maritime economic sector.

SST is Port Elizabeth based South African non governmental organization that is part of  the African Marine Waste Network launched in South Africa in 2017 with 42 member countries across the African continent.

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Pupils from Port Elizabeth’s Inkqubela Primary School who were part of youths from a few schools attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the Nelson Mandela University on Monday, 29 October 2018. The four, from their school’s environmental club also performed at the event.

The launch of the African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) on Monday is part of a comprehensive Norway government sponsored program by the African Marine Waste Network, led by SST, to actively fight the scourge of marine plastic waste across the continent.

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Mr Mongameli Bobani, Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay (seated, Front Left) was among high profile guests attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Port Elizabeth

Mr Hanekom, as acting Minister of Environmental Affairs following to the passing of away of Ms Edna Molewa recently, is currently responsible for the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched for years ago.

However, as also Minister of Tourism, effective waste management in the country is a major interest in his portfolio.

Mr Hanekom, in the company of Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybo among others, applauded the launch of the youth network initiative on Monday and expressed appreciation of the Norwegian government’s continued support of both the youth initiative as well as the Nelson Mandela University’s education and training campaigns.

He said South Africa, like most others countries in the world, faced a mammoth task of managing effectively the scourge particularly plastic waste in the country in order to curb and eventually prevent its negative impacts on both the environment as well as people’s health.

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Dr Karl Klingsheim, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa (seated front centre) was among guests attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. Norway is the major sponsor of a comprehensive programme that includes the youth initiative.

With over 50% of all plastic in the country being in the form of single use packaging, Mr Hanekom acknowledged that South Africa had lost momentum in the fight against plastic waste after the initial introduction of levies on consumer plastic bags years ago.

Now, he said, the forward strategy currently under consideration through policy would encompass three components; curbing plastic generation at source, implementing effective ways of plastic usage, and developing meaningful ways of managing plastic waste.

Mr Hanekom said the first component – dealing with plastic at source – would ‘without doubt’ draw the ire of plastic producers who would argue strongly against job losses.  However, he said this would not be an unusual argument, as had also been experienced in debates about strategies on renewable energies.

“Chemical weapons are a no-no! Chemicals weapons are not allowed and the whole world is against their production. There is no arguing that, well, we got to continue producing chemical weapons otherwise we are going to lose jobs. It does not work that way.

“You’ve got to bite the bullet at some point, and understand the gravity of what you are dealing with, and say if we can’t continue doing this, whichever angle you approach it from…..that somewhere, we have to take some tough measures.

“You will always lose jobs when you migrate from one sector to another. It is happening with coal mining.”

DSC_8121.JPGCrucially, he said, something needed to be done in South Africa to rid the country of mountains of plastic waste now entrapping and eliminating life in the oceans and increasingly threatening people’s lives.

The second component would require actively bringing about public awareness as well as engagement, while the third component would aim at eventually eliminating plastic waste through innovative economic schemes.

Mr Hanekom said: “In the next few weeks, as part of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) we will be launching a national clean up campaign. It will be a big national effort about awareness and about people being actively involved, from the President, Ministers, Premiers and MECs, MPs and all public representatives.

“When this campaign is formally launched by the President, what is going to be expected of all us public representatives at all levels, is to go out there, dirty our hands and clean up the country at the same encouraging communities to actively participate.” he said.

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