Continued engagement and close collaboration remain the key ingredient to redevelopment and growth of the South African maritime economic sector, according to industry players.
This was restated by virtually all invited guests to this year’s SAMSA Annual Stakeholder Event held on the eve of the Government’s State of the Nation Address that marks the opening of the country’s Parliament on Thursday last week.
With South Africa still bogged down under the hard grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, SAMSA’s event last Wednesday evening was held virtually online and for the reason, attracted more people than ever before, as it was also streamed live on social media platforms.
In this report, packaged with video remarks of all the speakers that participated, we aim to present the full version of South Africa’s industry players’s views and responses on a whole range of issues concerning, affecting and impacting the country’s maritime economic sector. and central to whose key message was the need for continued close engagement and collaboration in the sector.
Among the issues, predictably, the outbreak and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019, and first experienced in the country from about February 2020, was top most. According to all speakers, the disruptive effect of the pandemic was felt by everyone but especially seafarers and whose struggle with it continues. Emerging strongly in this regard was the high level of cooperation experienced between industry and SAMSA in seeking to ensure alleviation of some of the pressing challenges that faced and continue to face seafarers.
Maritime industry participants, allocated per subsector, featured on topics that ranged from maritime law and regulations review – or poor lack thereof -; maritime education, training and skills development; shipping trends inclusive of South Africa’s plan for rescucitation of a domestic shipping fleet, to current and future ports regulations and plans, seafarers development and challenges, as well as oil and gas industry perspectives and matters affecting fishing.
Also outlined were SAMSA’s strategic objectives over the next five to 15 years within both the context of the country’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy under the Department of Transport as well as the agency’s legislated mandate of ensuring safety of life and property at sea, prevention and combating of pollution from ships and promotion of the country’s maritime interests.
The Department of Transport rounded up the presentations.
The video clips – and whose quality is disappointingly poor largely due to an online video feed that suffered low grade relay – are arranged in the order of 13 of the 14 speakers participating on the day – led by introductory remarks by (now former) SAMSA Acting CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi. The duration ranges between 4m 30 sec to 15 minutes, with the biggest number averaging under 5 minutes.
Industry responses and remarks
Legal Fraternity: Mr Andre Pike. Head: Ports, Transport and Logistics. Bowmans
Ports RegulatorSA: Ms Johanna Mulaudzi. CEO
Shipping: Mr Andrew Millard, Director, Vuka Marine
Shipping: Mr Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises SA
There is no gainsaying that South Africa geographically is, for all intents and purposes, a maritime country. But are South Africans a nation all at sea, without a single drop of water in sight?
This was one of the questions to arise at this past week’s two day conference organised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) at the Durban International Convention Centre, and to which question a clear answer seemed elusive.
One strong view to emerge though, and stated without equivocation by one delegate from the academic sector, Ms Theresa Williams, was that: “South Africa may be a maritime country, but South Africans are not a maritime nation!” And this, according to her, has serious long term implications for a whole range of issues, but particularly maritime education and training.
Conference attendees, among them top academics, researchers, teachers, seafarers, heads of public and private sector companies and institutions, government representatives and associated came from across South Africa to Durban at the invitation of the Port Elizabeth based SAIMI.
For one and half days they’d discuss how best the country could effectively organise and manage its education and training of a future workforce that’s suitably prepared to develop and advance the country’s maritime economic sector in the 21st century and beyond.
South Africa’s maritime features include a country of 59-million inhabitants on a land area at the most southern tip of the African continent surrounded by a 3 200 kilometres long coastline spanning three oceans, the Indian to the east, the Southern to the south and the Atlantic to the west, with as much as a 1.5-million square kilometres of an exclusive economic zone, and possibly soon to be extended.
Through that corridor thousands of world trade vessels pass, while some dock at the country’s major ports. The seascape is also full of flora, fauna and other natural resources and whose responsible exploitation could contribute to expanded economic activity and wealth creation leading to jobs creation.
The indaba, in Durban on Monday on Tuesday, according to SAIMI, was staged against the backdrop of a tanking realisation backed by a recent assessment study that while the oceans economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent was being probed anew as the future frontier of economic development, with a potential to generate domestically more than a million jobs and contribute as much as R177-billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next decade, South Africa simply does not have the manpower with requisite skills to match present and anticipated future demand in the sector.
SAIMI acting chief executive, Mr Odwa Mtati said: “In order to activate the potential, we need the skills to match the demand….Notwithstanding inroads that have been made at post-school education and training institutions in recent years, SAIMI’s 2018 Oceans Economy Skills Development Assessment (report) for South Africa highlighted a potential mismatch between current skills being produced and the actual industry needs.
EXCHAGING NOTES: (From Left: Ms Sobantu Tilayi (SAMSA), Ms Theresa Williams (MAISA), Mr Pieter Coetzer (SAMTRA), Ms Lyn Bruce (Klaveness) and Mr Victor Momberg (TETA) listening attentively to presentations during the Seafarer Development session of the SAIMI conference in Durban
“The study suggests that while the supply of skills is adequate in numbers, there is a disconnect between the type of skills being produced and those required by the industry hence the need for greater industry participation in shaping outcomes of the skills production system.”
Mr Mtati said the two day conference in Durban on Monday and Tuesday, under the moniker: “Forward Thinking for Maritime Education and Training Excellence” would hopefully produce ‘actionable outcomes to strengthen maritime education and training.’
“This conference offers a collaborative platform for stakeholders in industry, academia and government to review current maritime skills supply capacity against future demand, and to consider collaborative and collective ways to address deficits in the current system and close gaps,” said Mr Mtati.
This was repeated by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the chairperson of SAIMI’s advisory committee and Vice-Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela University that’s home to SAIMI, in her opening remarks of the conference, all contained in the video above.
Meanwhile, as the conference wrapped up on the second last day, Mr Mtati was upbeat and confident that the gathering had achieved some of its objectives.
In a brief interview as delegates dispersed, Mr Mtati said: “Our sense is that out of the many stakeholders that participated, there is an acceptance of the need for engagement in meaningful discussions. Going forward, one of the outcomes that we will pursue is the development of a collaborative model to ensure that all the voices are accommodated.”
Further, he said, there was a strong commitment made by some of the stakeholders to get directly involved in the establishment and implementation of solutions to some of the challenges identified. Click on the video below for his full brief assessment,
Parallel Session: Seafarers Development
The conference had been packaged in sessions, first a full plenary soon followed by two parallel sessions – one focused on seafarers development and another directed towards skills needs assessment for the off shore oil and gas sub-sector.
This blog, tagged along with delegates that engaged in the seafarers development session and below, it features all the contributions of the seven main presenters during the discussion.
The insights into seafarer development in South Africa were breathtaking in some instances as they were astonishing in another. Poor coordination in training and education, lack of funding and requisite infrastructure such as a ships for berths, a poor orientation of youths keen on seafaring and a general poor public awareness of the country’s maritime status, were among issues identified.
At the same time, major opportunities lay still for exploration and exploitation, and therefore much work lay ahead for those willing to put in the hours.
The videos of the main presenters are loaded below for a full perspective of the nature of the discussion. A video of floor contributors will follow soon.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi
Mr Abdrew Millard
Ms Theresa Williams
Mr Pieter Coetzer
Ms Lyn Blake
Mr Victor Momberg
Captain Ian Hlongwane
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) headed the session giving an overview of the country’s seafarer education and training landscape, along with a brief history of the challenges facing the sector.
Mr Andrew Millard, CEO of Vuka Marine gave a shipowners view of the seafarer landscape in South Africa with focus much on employer expectations.
Ms Theresa Williams of the Maritime Academic Institutions of South Africa focused on challenges and opportunities facing academic institutions currently offering maritime education and training, as well as dwelt at length on the nature of the youth in South Africa currently keen on maritime education. Pulling no punches, she says it is truly an uphill battle. Do note that Ms Williams’ contribution is in two parts, in two videos.
Mr Pieter Coetzer, Commercial Manager: South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) shares an independent cadets trainer’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the sub sector.
Ms Lyn Bruce, Project Coordinator at Klaveness Shipping also shared an employer’s viewpoint of the South African seafarer with specific focus on her company’s activity in contributing towards development of the country’s seafarers,
Mr Victor Momberg, Executive Officer of the Maritime Chamber of the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) spoke on the role of the authority and the need for Technical, Vocational and Education and Training (TVET) institutions to be enrolled into the maritime sector education and training network.
Captain Ian Hlongwane, Manager, National Cadet Programme at SAIMI shares SAIMI perspective on the conference.
Women empowerment but particularly the previously disadvantaged is gaining momentum in South Africa’s maritime economic sector, boosted this time around by the launch of a study bursary being offered to young black women keen on maritime studies.
The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the country’s newest institution entrusted with among other things; the country’s national cadet training programme, is behind the initiative announced two months ago.
In a statement (below), SAIMI announced the opening of applications for the bursary and whose deadline is 10 December 2018.
SAIMI Statement (Issued Wednesday, 21 November 2018)
WITH only two percent of the entire world’s maritime workforce consisting of women, a new bursary scheme announced by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) plans to unlock the oceans economy for women in South Africa.
The Sindiswa Carol ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo Merit Bursary is now open for young black women wanting to pursue a qualification at a South African university to develop their career opportunities in the maritime sector.
As head of the Centre for Maritime Excellence at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the late Nhlumayo played a pioneering role in putting maritime skills development on the map in South Africa, in particular by empowering women in the sector, and championed the establishment of SAIMI.
The Sindiswa Carol ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo Merit Bursary is offered for maritime, marine or related studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level at any tertiary institution in South Africa. The bursary is open to South African black women (African, Coloured and Indian) under the age of 35 years.
The bursary is available for a wide variety of maritime-related study fields including Marine Engineering, Oceanography, Logistics, Shipping, Ocean Governance, Environmental Law, Geological Sciences, Zoology and Marine Ecology to name just a few.
“Her role was pivotal in the promotion of women’s participation in the maritime sector. She also played a critical role in establishing SAIMI, and the bursary scheme in her name honours her contribution to growing South Africa’s skills capacity in the oceans economy,” said Mtati.
SAMSA Chief Operations Officer Sobantu Tilayi encouraged women to apply for the bursary scheme in Nhlumayo’s honour. “We thank SAIMI for acknowledging the legacy and role that Sindiswa played in the human capacity building of the South African maritime industry,” said Tilayi.
In 2013 she was a recipient of the Oliver Top Empowerment Award for Best Female Public Servant. At the time of her death in 2016 at the age of 45, she was enrolled for a PhD in Maritime Affairs at the World Maritime University in Sweden.
Recipients of the Sindiswa Carol ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo Merit Bursary will have the full cost of their tuition fees and textbooks covered. They will also be afforded opportunities to attend SAIMI conferences and other maritime-related events, as well as participate in organised bodies supporting women in maritime and science.
The closing date for applications to the Bursary Scheme is 10 December. To apply, download the application form from the SAIMI website:
South Africa’s youth would be well-advised to learn to be patient in their pursuit of success both in their school and tertiary level studies through to their working lives while steadfast in their ethical conduct, Dr Iraj Abedian, one of South Africa’s top economists told dozens of foundation level maritime studies pupils in Simon’s Town.
He was the main guest speaker at an awards event at the Simon’s Town School Lawhill Maritime Centre on Thursday evening during which top pupils were given recognition for their excellent performance in their maritime school studies and related performance during 2018.
Prior to addressing guests and pupils at the event, Dr Abedian assisted in handing out a number of awards to the top performing pupils.
Later in a speech titled: The Road Ahead in the Age of Disruption, and lasting about half an hour, Dr Abedian enumerated four of what he described as some key factors of success through hard work drawn from his own personal professional experience and which he said the pupils would be well advised to note and heed.
These were, he said: “commitment to excellence, patience, (a set of) clear core values and commitment to ethical practice, and a conscious embrace of uncertainty with enthusiasm.”
According to Dr Abedian, disruption was a constant and it needed to be embraced in the pursuit of success, and success, he said, was ‘not a destination but a journey’ requiring patience complimented by a conscious effort towards proper ethical conduct instead of a desire for instant gratification often characterized by bad behavior.
“In every corner of our lives, we see disruption. Disruption is not always bad. Very often it’s good, but the way we interpret it, we make it negative or positive,” he said.
Dr Abedian said the pupils had every reason to be grateful to their parents, the school as well as all those that supported them during and an important phase of their education journey, the foundation phase.
He said: “The acquisition of knowledge is a necessary condition for success. As if often said, success is not a destination but a journey, a journey of incremental accumulation of successes. In this journey, commitment to excellence is an important companion.This has to be a benchmark of your professional life.
“In addition to hard work and commitment to excellence, the next contributing factor to success is patience. I say this with a great concern in how today’s world of rampant pressure for instantaneous gratification, and unbridled pursuit of rapid accumulation of wealth in particular, as well as the ostentatious public display of opulence of wealth remains a great concern,” he said.
Dr Abedian said South African society currently was suffering from the latter culture of instant gratification and dominant to which was a penchant for corruption and fraud, as evidenced, he said, by a daily litany of corruption and fraud stories emanating from both the country’s private and public sectors as well as civil society.
For Dr Abedian’s full remarks, click on the video below.
Meanwhile, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – a long term supporter of the Lawhill Maritime Centre mainly through bursaries for mostly disadvantaged children keen on maritime studies at foundation level – joined several other entities, individuals and families this year in granting tertiary level bursaries to two pupils of the school in recognition of their excellence school performance.
The recipients were final matric year pupils Thabiso Rantsho and Sinazo Viti.
Presenting the SAMSA awards, human capital senior manager John Phiri who with Corporate Affairs senior manager Ms Nthabiseng Tema presented the awards, warned the pupils that discipline in their studies was also a key determinant factor to their success as the maritime sector, but particularly seafaring, was not for the fainthearted.
According to Mr Phiri, several former student and cadets that SAMSA sponsored in the past were now sitting at home without jobs due to lack of discipline he described as characterized by an undue and misplaced sense of entitlement.
For Mr Phiri’s full remarks, click on the video below.
Women education in South Africa’s maritime sector has been given a shot in the arm with the recent launch of a new merit bursary in honour of the late Ms Sindiswa ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo, a former South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) executive and reputably a pioneer in skills development in the sector.
The new merit bursary known as the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary, conceived, developed and administered by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, was launched recently and is now open for applications until end November.
According to Mr Odwa Mtati, Projects Manager at SAIMI, the new bursary is in recognition and acknowledgement of the pioneering work of Ms Nhlumayo in the field of skills development for the maritime economic sector while at the employ of SAMSA in Pretoria as head of its Centre for Maritime Excellence.
Ms Nhlumayo, also an academic and work performance multi-award winner, passed away in February 2016.
Significantly, said Mr Mtati, the new maritime education funding would target primarily women in South Africa as a means to increase their opportunities in the sector. The main reason was the apparently miniscule number of women in the sector, which he said constituted a mere two (2) percent of all workers.
“SAIMI is proud to announce the establishment of the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary to enable young black women to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in maritime-related fields and achieve success in their careers in the oceans economy.
“The bursary has been created to honour the memory of Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her substantial contribution to the growth of the maritime sector and skills development in South Africa. Her leadership, her passion for the maritime economy and commitment to empowering young people to enter maritime careers, made her a much-loved role model to many,” said SAIMI in a statement during launch of the new bursary in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago.
For Mr Mtati’s full remarks, click on the two minutes video below.
Meanwhile, the SAIMI initiative has been met with excitement and full support by SAMSA, describing it as a necessary and opportune intervention for women in maritime education and skills development, while also a highly significant and appropriate gesture in honour of its former employee, Ms Nhlumayo.
SAMSA is a pioneering founding member of SAIMI which was established in 2014. Key among its activities is the management of the country’s National Cadet Programme.
Reacting to the launch of the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary for women keen on maritime education and training, SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said: “Firstly we thank SAIMI for the initiative and we feel honoured to be associated with the name of someone such as Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo who was a colleague to me and a hard worker.
“The legacy that she left, having worked so hard to try and focus the whole issue of capacity building for the maritime industry, to support the maritime economy, required us to acknowledge her,” he said.
Crucially, it was the targeting of particularly women that the launch of the bursary remains highly significant, he said.
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (three minutes), Click on the video below