An envisaged reorganization and alignment of education and training in South Africa’s maritime sector is a welcome development, but role players would be well advised not to waste South Africans’ time with skills sets that won’t lend them jobs, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation was warned.
The warning came from the department’s head of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy), Mr Mpumzi Bonga while addressing delegates to a two-day conference organised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in Durban last week.
The indaba, in Durban on Monday and Tuesday, according to SAIMI, was organised against the backdrop of a realization that while the oceans economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent was being probed anew as the future frontier of economic development, South Africa is inadequately prepared as it does not have the manpower with the skills to match present and anticipated future demand in the sector.
According to SAIMI acting chief executive, Mr Odwa Mtati: “In order to activate the potential, we need the skills to match the demand….”
However, Mr Bonga in an overview address of the overall performance of the Government driven Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) since launch in 2014, said investment performance had so far exceeded expectations, but it was simply not creating the number of jobs anticipated.
He said investment to date in the targeted maritime sector subsectors had risen to above R40-billion – about R9-billion above target – in the five years since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) and yet anticipated job creation on the other hand, had only yielded less than 10 000 direct jobs – a far cry from the 77 000 jobs hoped to be created.
Even with indirect jobs accounted for, Mr Bonga said the jobs creation picture in the maritime sector remained dismal. The mismatch in growing direct investment and job creation by the sector in the five year period, he said, could be explained by the fact that the bulk of the investment generated to date had been by the off shore oil and gas subsector, directed largely at seismic surveys and exploration, which required very highly specialized skills and fewer people to perform.
Even so, he said it was barely an acceptable fact that the maritime sector in general, and specifically the targeted subsectors, were not delivering on the promise the launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) gave at inception.
“Continued implementation of Operation Phakisa reveals that we have attracted so far R41-1-billion and less than 10 000. The anticipation was to grow the GDP contribution by R171-billion and create a million jobs by 2033. Now, this is five years on and not the 16-17 year horizon that we used for planning.
“In today’s terms, we were supposed to have grown the GDP contribution by R32-billion this year, and created 77 000 jobs. If we look at a leniarity constant between investment made and the GDP we can happily say we have exceeded the investment that was expected. But can we say the same of job creation, and the answer is decidedly, no!” he said.
A star performer in investment attraction was the off-shore oil gas and MPG subsectors which were responsible for the large bulk of the R41.1-billion investment made to date. Laggards on the hand included the maritime transport and manufacturing and the tourism subsectors – the subsectors with the greatest potential to create jobs.
Part of the reason this was not happening, Mr Bonga suggested, was an apparent mismatch of skills with jobs requirements, coupled with very slow transformation of the sector in terms human capital population demographics.
“The reason I am bringing this up is so that we should sober up when we plan the skills development that we are planning for, and to remind us that as when we do what we do, we be mindful that we do not have the luxury of time, as the majority of people out there are becoming restless. There is no room for mistakes.
“Whatever skills we plan for, South Africans will not take kindly if you gonna plan to train them in skills that will not be beneficial to them, skills that will not change their material conditions, ” said Mr Bonga.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Crucially, 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.
The launch in Port Elizabeth of a new national ratings practical training for aspirant seafarers is among new and ongoing initiatives to expand the skills base in the country’s maritime sector, thereby giving more youth opportunities, according to the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
Launch of the practical aspect of the ratings training took place at the port of Port Elizabeth on Thursday when the first group of 20 youths – 11 males and nine females – boarded the SA Agulhas to join in on its two weeks ocean sojourn on the Indian Ocean on a scientific research mission.
The SA Agulhas, the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel under the command of SAMSA, will be sailing some 300 km into sea along the eastern coast of South Africa, from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, on a charter to the SA Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF).
The scientific research mission will involve retrieval of data from a number of scientific buoys deployed in the coastal waters to monitor the Agulhas current and its role in climate change.
It is the first of two missions in 2018 for the SA Agulhas and for which it was recently dry-docked for fine tuning as well as refurbishing at the port of East London.
The scientific research missions for which the vessel is chartered offer an excellent opportunity also for the country’s growing cadre of young cadets undergoing training to become qualified seafarers.
This time around, focus by SAIMI along with its partners including training services providers, has been turned on practical training for ratings – a new category of skills development for aspirant seafarers that is being piloted and aimed at growing the pool of employable South African seafarers.
The ratings training is funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA). According to SAIMI, the 20 youths that boarded the SA Agulhas on Thursday are part of a group of 45 candidates in the pilot project.
In a joint media statement, SAIMI chief executive officer Professor Malek Pourzanjani said getting a project of this nature off the ground was the result of strong partnerships and collaboration, involving both public and private sector role-players and training providers.
“Special mention should be made of TETA as the funder and SAMSA as the owner of the vessel for providing this valuable opportunity for the trainees to gain sea-time,” he said.
Malcolm Alexander, TETA’s maritime education training and development practitioner, said: “We are pleased to see this pilot training project taking shape with the trainees being able to gain practical experience at sea aboard the SA Agulhas.
“The project expands TETA’s involvement in maritime sector education and training at a practical skill level and is a positive for the maritime sector and oceans economy growth.
“It also grows the pool of South African seafarers available for local and global employment.”
According to SAIMI, the current group of trainees is being managed by the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and the Sea Safety Training Group.
Marine Crew Services is also a partner to the project, having agreed to place trainees in their managed fleets for further training.
The next phase of the project, according to SAIMI, will entail building the capacity of TVET (Technical Vocational Education & Training) Colleges to offer the training.
Weighing on the project, SAMSA Chief Operating Officer, Sobantu Tilayi described the initiative as forward looking.
“As part of our commitment to address the high unemployment rate, this rating training provides a wider scope of maritime training and skills development.
“It addresses the gap for career opportunities. Young people would be able to find jobs in areas such as maintenance of the vessels, its equipment and gear, in rigging and deploying equipment, and handling and securing cargo.” he said.
Mr Tilayi said the SA Agulhas which SAMSA owns and manages, was particularly well suited for its training role, and its recent refurbishments at the dry dock, was testimony of its strength and calibre.
By supporting the hands-on aspects of maritime training, the project partners are contributing to skills development as outlined in the South African government’s Operation Phakisa plan to fast-track the growth and development of the oceans economy, he said.
(The following report and headline photo first appeared in Creamer Media’s Engineering News and with exception of all photos except the headline, is reproduced here, as is, with permission from Creamer Media )
TheSA Agulhasis back in the now-refurbished Port of East London’s Princess Elizabeth dry dock, with improved facilities, for her lay-up maintenance plan after her previous visit in 2013.
The contract to undertake maintenance on the 40-year-old vessel was awarded to local ship repair company East London Shipyard, and should take between four to six weeks to be completed during April.
Work includes repairs and maintenance on the bow and stern thrusters, tail shaft, steering gear, compressors, cranes, deck machinery and hull.
“More than 80 direct jobs have been created during the project including employment for marine engineers, electricians, riggers, welders, fitters, painters and supervisory staff,” said Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of East London ship repair manager Leigh Carls.
Carls added that the dry dock is also undergoing refurbishment and the project is at an advanced stage with R21-million invested to date and 70% of the work completed so far, including new switchgear and crane rails.
“Work began in 2015 with a phased approach being followed to enhance all critical components and allow for the dock to be functional throughout the upgrading process,” he noted.
The dry dock refurbishment, in support of ship repair and marine manufacturing, is part of TNPA’s contribution nationally towards government’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative, which aims to unlock the economic potential of the country’s oceans by, among other things, accelerating investments into ship repair facilities and marine engineering capability.
In the port of East London, Operation Phakisa focuses on the ship repair and boat building industries.
TheSA Agulhas is the fifth commercial vessel to make use of the dry dock over the past six months and was one of the star attractions at last year’s East London Port Festival, as well as the People’s Port Festival in Port Elizabeth earlier in the year.
Two of the SA Agulhas 20 cadets that returned with the vessel earlier this year, Ayanda Miya and Mluleki Khwela with President Cyril Ramaphosa at the opening of 2018 installment of the sitting of South African Parliament in February
Deputy Transport Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (Left) and (former) Transport Minister Mr Joe Masangwanyi (Right ) with Ayanda Miya and Mluleki Khwela – two of the SA Agulhas cadets that returned with the vessel from a trip to Antarctica over 80 days in November 2017 to January 2018. They were invited for the opening of South Africa’s Parliament in
The vessel, which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s dedicated training vessel, returned from a three-month trip to Antarctica at the end of February.
Recently appointed Port of East London manager Sharon Sijako said on Monday that attracting more ship repair business to the port was an essential aspect of the new aggressive strategy to expand the port for the benefit of the region.
On Friday, 06 October 2017, South Africa’s government leader, President Jacob Zuma gave a report back on the progress being achieved with the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative that was launched three years ago.
The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Executive Mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality,
Captains of Industry,
Representatives of civil society, labour and academia,
Fellow South Africans,
We greet you all.
In July 2014, we gathered here at eThekwini, to explore the potential of the vast ocean space under South Africa’s jurisdiction and launched Operation Phakisa: Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans.
I made an undertaking then, that I would periodically report back on progress being made as we seek to derive greater economic benefits from our oceans.
Operation Phakisa is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian Government very successfully in the delivery of its Economic Transformation Programme and the Government Transformation Programme.
We renamed the programme Operation Phakisa, to highlight the urgency with which we want to deliver on some of the priorities encompassed in the National Development Plan 2030.
It is an innovative, pioneering and inspiring approach that is designed to enable us to implement our policies and programmes better, faster and more effectively.
Operation Phakisa is being implemented in the ocean economy, in the improvement of clinics, in rolling out information and communication technologies in education as well as in the agriculture, mining and tourism sectors.
The first implementation, which is the focus of attention today, is Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans.
We brought together in the Oceans economy project, representatives from government, industry, labour, civil society and academia to collaborate in unlocking the economic potential of our oceans.
A lot of progress has been made and I am happy to report back today.
Unlocked investment worth R24.6-billion
I am delighted to announce that thus far we have unlocked investments totalling twenty four point six billion rand (R24.6-billion), with a Government contribution of fifteen billion rand (R15-billion). Over six thousand five hundred (6500) jobs have been created through this Oceans Economy segment of Operation Phakisa.
This would not have been possible without the concerted effort and support of all our partners, especially the private sector.
It demonstrates again that if we work together, as a collective, we can achieve much more.
The largest contribution to the total investment in the oceans economy was from infrastructure development, mainly in our ports, manufacturing, mainly in boat building, aquaculture and scientific surveys in the oil and gas sector, having been facilitated through Government incentives.
From our own analysis, the total ocean sectors contribute approximately four point four percent to South Africa’s GDP, with the largest contribution coming from the value chains.
When I visited the Port of Durban this morning, I was impressed that we are building specialised super tugboats at Southern African Shipyards.
This is a one point four billion rand (!.4-billion) project. This is a demonstration of South Africa’s capacity and capability to build specialized vessels locally.
Seven of the nine tugboats have already been built as part of this project and around five hundred jobs had been created.
The South African Navy seeks to build their complex and specialized hydrographic survey vessel to map the sea floor, an investment of approximately one point eight billion rand.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would also like to announce today, that we intend to establish the KwaZulu-Natal Boatbuilding Park as part of this maritime vessel industrial complex at Bayhead in the Port of Durban.
The boat-building sector has long been recognized in our strategic plans as a major opportunity to stimulate new investment, exports and job creation.
The park is planned to be a world-class space for the production and repair of leisure and commercial boats. It will be the single largest boat building facility in Southern Africa.
It will also accommodate emerging and Black-owned boatbuilding companies and key suppliers.
The project represents an investment of more than two hundred and fifty million rand and will have the capacity to produce up to one hundred and fifty boats annually, mainly for the export market.
The Park will have Marine Skills Development Centre to provide on the job and practical training for the unemployed and youth.
The Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy programme has yielded further significant results in its various focus areas and I wish to highlight and elaborate further on some of these.
In the Marine Transport and Manufacturing Focus Area, the Port of Durban has seen the completion of the Outer Dry Dock Caisson to improve safety. The upgraded Durban Dry Dock will be key to attracting ship repair business to Durban.
It features the latest state-of –the –art technologies and has provided job opportunities, learnerships and artisanal training at this facility.
Earlier this year I reported on the major developments in the Port of Port Elizabeth with the refurbishment of the slipway, the reconstruction of the lead-in jetties and the acquisition of the boat hoist which made a significant impact in the fishing industry.
At the Port of Cape Town, the Burgan Fuel Storage Facility, a substantial private sector investment of over six hundred and sixty million rand (R660-million), has recently commenced operations, to augment the fuel supply and energy demand in the Western Cape.
A Cruise Terminal concession to fund, design, build and operate has been awarded to the V&A Waterfront Company in the Port of Cape Town, which will see an increase in cruise-liners docking in this port and bolster the tourism market.
In the Port of Saldanha Bay, the new Sunrise Energy Liquid Petroleum Gas Facility, through a concession issued by the Transnet National Ports Authority, has also commenced operation.
The construction of the Offshore Supply Base berth at the Port of Saldanha has been completed as part of the establishment of Saldanha Bay as an offshore oil and gas support hub.
In the Offshore Oil and Gas Focus Area, fourteen exploration rights, six production rights and two technical cooperation permits have been issued.
The establishment of an Incident Management Organisation for joint Government and industry response drills, in cases of oils spillage or accidents, is far advanced.
We can say with confidence that for the first time, a research cooperation agreement between Government and industry will facilitate joint research and surveys.
In order to further enhance the maritime sector, the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy has recently been finalised.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our fish resources are becoming more limited and are also being exploited to the maximum. In this regard, promoting the Aquaculture Focus Area has become extremely crucial.
The initial target of twenty four (24) catalyst projects has been exceeded and we now have thirty six aquaculture projects.
These projects are not only from the marine species but are also from inland freshwater fish.
Over fifteen (15) Small Medium and Micro Enterprises had been empowered. The Strategic Environmental Assessment for the aquaculture sector has commenced to facilitate aquaculture development.
In order to streamline authorisations and approvals, the Interdepartmental Authorisations Committee consisting of all the relevant departments, reviewed business processes to reduce timeframes for approvals, including decisions on leases.
The timeframes have already been reduced from eight hundred and ninety days to two hundred and forty days.
In terms of the Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance, the Draft Marine Spatial Planning Bill and associated Marine Spatial Planning Framework, which will serve as areas for nurseries, have been completed.
Consultations have been concluded on eighteen (18) of the envisaged twenty two (22) Offshore Marine Protected Areas. These will cover approximately four point four percent (4.4%) of our Exclusive Economic Zone.
With regards to policing and protecting our Exclusive Economic Zone, Joint Operations continue to be conducted in all four coastal provinces as part of the coordinated enforcement programme with numerous arrests and confiscations that happened.
The National Ocean and Coastal Information System is being piloted as a decision support tool in respect of vessel tracking.
We are now in a better position to locate vessels, especially the ones entering our waters illegally and those engaging in illegal activities.
Furthermore, we can now signal an early warning for the occurrence of harmful algal blooms or red tides.
This detection and early-warning has a major positive impact on the West Coast Rock Lobster industry.
In addition, the National Marine Pollution Laboratory has been established at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape and will be responsible for the water quality analysis programme, along the South African coast.
Dear colleagues and stakeholders,
The development of Small Harbours has the potential to unlock economic opportunities along the coast and stimulate local economies.
To exploit this potential, we have commenced with preparations for the planned National Small Harbours Development Laboratory.
Investor conferences are being held in the coastal provinces as a build-up to the National Lab engagement.
Already, critical capital and maintenance projects of approximately four hundred million rand has been identified, to modernise and develop the twelve proclaimed fishing harbours.
We are also happy to report that the outcome of the Coastal and Marine Tourism Lab has been approved by Cabinet, thus taking Operation Phakisa in the tourism sector forward. Our aspiration is to grow a world class and sustainable coastal and marine tourism destinations.
These will enhance South Africa’s competitive advantages in nature, culture, and heritage, with the potential to contribute twenty one billion rand to the South African Gross Domestic Product and more jobs for our people.
Six (6) tourism development nodes have already been identified, where our integrated approach will be implemented.
These include, firstly, two nodes in KwaZulu-Natal which cover Durban and surroundings and Umkhanyakude District. The second is two nodes in the Eastern Cape, from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay and East London, Port Elizabeth and surroundings.
The third node is in Cape Town and surroundings, in the Western Cape. Lastly, there is one node in the Northern Cape, covering Port Nolloth, the West Coast and surroundings.
Through the Blue Flag Beaches Programme two hundred youth blue flag site ambassadors have been identified. One hundred and twenty two women and seventy eight men will be trained in safety, environmental management, infrastructure maintenance checks and environmental education.
Compatriots and friends,
We will not be able to grow the Oceans Economy without skills development, research and technology and innovation.
The newly-launched South African International Maritime Institute at Nelson Mandela University coordinates the skills development programme.
Our training programmes include cadet and seafarer training, marine engineering, various apprenticeships as well as specialised training.
The Marine Youth Development Programme of the South African Maritime Safety Authority has also facilitated the training of one hundred and twenty five young people from Orange Farm, Port St Johns and Buffalo City Municipality in hospitality and seamanship. This will help them gain jobs on international cruise liners.
We are pleased as well that many high schools now offer maritime subjects.
Eighteen schools in this province, KZN offer maritime subjects. The Department of Basic Education is working with the South African International Maritime Institute to designate dedicated maritime schools.
We have gone quite a distance indeed in unlocking our oceans to find economic value and jobs for our people.
We truly appreciate the contribution of all sectors – business, labour, academia and government, to make Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy successful thus far.
This month we recognise and celebrate the life of our national liberation hero, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who sacrificed life’s comforts so that South Africa could be free.
In his memory, let us work together in a true Phakisa spirit and as partners, and build a truly prosperous South Africa, without poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
A joint initiative between government, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations to not only skill but create job opportunities in the maritime economic sector will pay off for 97 Eastern Cape youths this week, when they are officially sent off to join tourism cruise vessels sailing across the world.
A ceremony to wish them well in their new venture into the maritime world is to be held on Wednesday in Port St Johns, an Eastern Cape town on the spectacular Wild Coast region of the Indian Ocean, midway between East London and Durban.
The joint partners in the MYDP Eastern Cape initiative include the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, and Harambee.
More than half the youths due for send-off on Wednesday – some for their first jobs ever – are from the O.R Tambo District Municipality, and precisely Port St Johns; an area that is targeted this current year for a series of maritime sector related projects, primarily by SAMSA, for both maritime awareness and associated youth skills development and local community social upliftment.
But perhaps crucially, the SAMSA inspired and driven MYDP’s impact in the O.R Tambo District Municipality occurs against the backdrop of a Government announcement last week that Port St Johns has been declared one of six nodes in the country to be targeted for an Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) marine and coastal development programme over the next five years.
In a statement last week, Department of Tourism Minister, Ms Tokozile Xasa said following to Cabinet approval earlier this month, the Coastal and Marine Tourism Plan would be implemented in a nodal or cluster approach that would prioritize destinations rather than individual tourism projects or products.
She said the identified nodes/clusters in the first phase of up to five (5) years) would involve five geographic areas encompassing (Node 1) Durban and surrounds and (Node 2) Umkhanyakude District including Umhlabuyalingana and surrounds – all in the KwaZulu-Natal province; (Node 3) Port St Johns to Coffee Bay and (Node 4) East London, Port Elizabeth and surrounds – in the Eastern Cape province; (Node 5) Cape Town and surrounds in the Western Cape province and finally, (Node 6) West Coast and surrounds in the Northern Cape province.
Meanwhile, regarding Wednesday’s event in Port St Johns, according to SAMSA on Tuesday, the successful placement of the 97 youths on cruise vessels worldwide beginning September 2017, is a major achievement as it exceeds an original target of 50 youths originally planned for the first send-off.
“We are pleased that the EC project has been a resounding success. We completed the entire preparation process at the end of last week with MSC interviewing the final 128 candidates that successfully completed the training program.
“MSC Cruises has agreed to place 97 candidates in this year’s intake that starts from 1 September. This number far exceeds he initially agreed target of 50, which was our SLA with the client, Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape. This means we exceeded our target by 80% or we had an 180% achievement,” said SAMSA Programme Manager for Operation Phakisa initiatives (Marine Transport and Manufacturing Delivery Unit), Mr Sizwe Nkukwana.
Mr Nkukwana along with some senior SAMSA management headed by Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr Sobantu Tilayi will join Eastern Cape Premier, Hon. Phumulo Masaulle – MPL, Eastern Cape provincial government officials, local traditional leadership, officials of the O.R Tambo District Municipality at the send-off ceremony tomorrow, which will characterized by a colourful display of AmaMpondo cultural activities including dance.
‘’The time to work with young people, to alter positively their future prospects and fortunes is now. As an entry point it is good that these young people are getting this kind of exposure and opportunity, to actually work on cruise liners to gain that international outlook and experience.
“It is also important that we do not position to only take up the lower layers level jobs in the sector, but we must move to empower these young people to go on to captain these ships, to be the engineers and ports officials and so, in essence, we must strive to penetrate all sectors including scarce skills in the maritime space’’, says Premier Masualle.
The event to be held at Port St Johns 2nd Beach – notorious for some spectacular shark attacks these last few years – will be beamed live on SABC radio and television (MorningLive as well as on Umhlobo Wenene, Trufm and local radio stations).
The ceremony in three stages; a media session, a maritime exhibition and formal send-off, begins at 7am in the morning through to 2pm in the afternoon.
Port St Johns, a small coastal town along the Indian Ocean in the Eastern Cape, almost midway between the port cities of Durban and East London, is beyond itself with excitement over a series of programmes intended to equip local youth with maritime related skills and possible creation of badly needed jobs.
The multi-stream maritime related skills development programme also involving a degree of corporate social investment, is driven by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) along with partners including the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Harambee, as well as the Eastern Cape provincial and local municipalities.
The basic maritime skills development initiatives relate to coastal marine tourism in two streams; cruise tourism under a Maritime Youth Development Programme, and a Coastal and Marine Tourism and Youth Leadership path involving youth training in sea diving, life guarding, and related skills.
Training under the programmes began in early July involving an initial group of 50 youths in the cruise tourism stream, and about 35 youths in the Coastal and Marine and Youth Leadership stream.
The cruise tourism youth skills development stream, formally launched by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape Government and Harambee in East London on 14 July, anticipates the placement of the youths on cruise vessels around the world by as early as September 2017, after which a second and third batches of youths will also undergo training.
The other stream involving the 35 youths and involving the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, is also already underway with training, with completion also earmarked for August 2017.
Alongside these youths skills development initiatives in marine and maritime related basic skills, is an assessment process of various tourism facilities in the area, inclusive of accommodation and hiking trails for possible assistance in promotion in tourism markets.
The initiatives come also against the backdrop of Port St Johns, located in an area of some 1,291 km² that falls under the O.R Tambo district municipalities, having been earmarked as the host for this year’s country celebrations of the World Maritime Day in the last week of September.
When once formally confirmed as host, this little town along the Eastern Cape’s 800km coastline – the second longest of the country’s four provinces bordering the oceans – and known more for its picturesque landscape through which the Umzimvubu River meets the sea, as well as pristine beaches and hiking trails that are a constant hit with domestic and foreign tourists alike, it will be the first time that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event is held at a coastal town outside of South Africa’s major commercial port cities.
The staging of the World Maritime Day in Port St Johns in September according to the town’s mayor Ms Lindelwa Rolobile, may also just be the catalyst needed to draw more attention to the area’s potential for bigger contribution to the country’s maritime economic development currently pursued under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative.
The town quietly harbours hope for development of a small fishing industry launchpad. There are claims that it had been promised.
However, Ms Rolobile believes that in addition to tourism – in a coastal area also known worldwide for some spectacular shipwrecks over the years, including the sea cruise vessel; the Oceanos – Port St Johns can also be a hub for small to medium sea craft manufacturing.
An elated Ms Rolobile has described the much needed focus in the area by SAMSA as exciting and a long needed intervention particularly with regards youths skilling and possible creation of much needed jobs in an area of the country where youth unemployment is extremely high.
Speaking during the launch of the MYDP strand of the programme in East London recently, Ms Rolobile praised SAMSA for living up to a ‘promise’ it had made to the town back in 2012.
She also applauded the partnerships the organization has established with various other players in pursuit of realization of the socio-economic enhancement initiatives.
Meanwhile, one of the youths from Port St Johns involved in the marine and maritime basic skills development programme, Mr Siphamandla Masikode, committed to making the best of the opportunities that were emerging for youths in his hometown.
Involved in the cruise tourism skills development stream under the Maritime Youth Development Programme, Mr Masikode said he considered himself lucky to have made it into the first group of 150 youths and hoped he would make it also in the first 50 who started formal training a week ago.
The formal confirmation of the winning bidder to construct a new modern multi-million rand worth cruise terminal at the port of Durban by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) this past week has been roundly welcomed in the country’s marine tourism sector.
Adding to the round of applause at the weekend was the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a state agency that has been instrumental over the last few years in the drive to promote development of particularly the country’s coastal and marine tourism subsector as a critical part of the country’s economic development agenda.
The reaction came in the wake of TNPA on Wednesday (May 31, 2017) announcing KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) as its preferred bidder for the design, development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the new cruise terminal facilities at the port of Durban on a portion of land measuring 27 800 meters at “A” and “B” Berths at point precinct, for a period of 20 years.
KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd is a joint venture between MSC Cruises SA (a subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) and Africa Armada Consortium (a black empowerment partner).
For the full story of the actual TNPA announcement, Click Here, or Here
In Pretoria at the weekend, SAMSA said the formal announcement of the winning bidder for development of the new cruise terminal at the port of Durban was a major boost for the country’s coastal and marine tourism.
“It is an impressive, bold and great step for tourism, and particularly so for the maritime sector and the general oceans economy,’ said the organization.
With coastal and marine tourism now having been included in the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) labs since about a year ago, SAMSA continues to contribute to plans development for the country’s maritime economic sector in general.
“The final formal go ahead given the construction of the new cruise terminal in Durban marks the beginning of more similarly exciting developments the country can expect,” said SAMSA.
Cape Town based vessels operator, seafarer recruitment and training company, Marine Crew Services (MCS) has responded to the South African Government’s call to increase employment and training opportunities for South African seafarers by registering a modern, multi-purpose platform supply and support vessel (MPSV) on the South African Ships Register.
The 93.67m MPSV, Greatship Manisha, is owned by Greatship Global Offshore Services Pte Limited. MCS has bareboat chartered the 4221 ton vessel to service its two-year contract with PetroSA.
While this is the first vessel to be registered by MCS under the South African Flag, it is not the first time it has employed South Africans on foreign-owned vessels.
“In fact, MCS, as the only private South African manning company with ISO 9001 accreditation, has for the past 14 years successfully trained and placed in excess of 880 South African and African officers, ratings and cadets on local and international vessels, among them the highest number of sea-going, black female seafarers in South Africa,” says Mr Lester Peteni, MCS Chairman.
The company also provides bursaries to Lawhill Maritime Centre graduates to enrol for tertiary Maritime Studies students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
According to MCS, the South African government, cognizant of the important role played by the maritime industry in South Africa – and its potential to provide training opportunities and employment for young South Africans – has introduced a number of initiatives with the aim of growing South Africa’s Oceans Economy under Operation Phakisa.
One of these initiatives – which also forms part of the 2017 Maritime Transport Policy – is to encourage more vessel owners to register their vessels under the South African Flag.
The local registration of the vessel adds to a steadily growing number of ships – four in total – now carrying the South African flag and which development contributes towards addressing a number of challenges facing both the maritime economic sector as well as the general economy.
Among the pressing challenges is the security of trade -estimated at 96% of South African exports – almost wholly dependent on ships owned and regulated in foreign countries.
According to the Maritime Policy (currently in draft format), South Africa’s share of fleet ownership in terms of volume is 2.233 thousand deadweight tonnes (DWT). Ship ownership currently stands at 0.13% of world total. National flagged fleet represents less than 0.01% of world total.
The other pressing challenge is the education, training and skills development of especially seafarers whose complete training requires placement onboard trade vessels.
According to Mr Daniel Ngubane, Group CEO of MCS. “The registration of the Greatship Manisha on the South African Ships Registry, supports this initiative and offers several important advantages.
“These include having the opportunity to provide employment for South African officers and ratings and most importantly, being able to offer young South Africans, who have completed their theoretical training, the opportunity to obtain the required, practical, seatime experience which forms part of their international qualification.”
Two South Africans have been serving on the ultra-modern vessel – which was previously registered in Singapore – and the move to the South African Ships Register will lead to a further seven South African seafarers joining the vessel upon registration. “Our aim is to have a 100% South African crew complement on this vessel and this will be achieved as South Africans with the requisite experience and skills in operating this type of vessel become available, “ says Mr Ngubane.
The South African crew complement will also include a Second Officer, Third Officer, Fourth Engineer and 6 ratings. Provision has also been made to take six South African trainee cadets on board once the vessel has been recognised by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) as a designated training vessel.
The seven years old supply vessel, manned by a total crew complement of 17, will be deployed off the coast of Mossel Bay.
Says Mr Peteni, “Although Singapore is widely considered as a more attractive ships register, the decision to move the Greatship Manisha onto the South African register is not only a perfect example of private companies and government working together to achieve a common goal, but it has been taken in the interests of supporting the growth of the South African maritime industry and Greatship should be commended on supporting this move.”
According to Mr Peteni, South African seafarers are highly regarded internationally and demand for senior South African officers is particularly high.
“Furthermore,” he says: “South Africa offers world-class training and certification standards which not only allows us to employ high quality seafarers on South African registered ships, but also creates an opportunity for South Africa to play a more active role in the global seafarer supply market.
“We at MCS, believe there is enormous potential to support Governmental aims by creating awareness of career opportunities at sea, thereby increasing the number of trainee seafarers, as well as the number of training berths made available to them. Registering this vessel on the South African flag represents a step in the right direction, and we are looking at adding further vessels to the SA Ships Registry in due course,” he says.
For the past 13 years, MCS has worked closely with international shipowners and managers to provide berths for South African cadets, a collaboration which Mr Ngubane describes as ‘highly successful and mutually beneficial ’as it has given them the opportunity to gain seatime while providing vessel owners and managers with additional certified, qualified and English speaking manpower.
South Africa’s maritime economic sector development programme, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will need to speedily live up to its name and ‘hurry up’ sooner than later if it is to draw any significant investment into the sector, in the process laying conducive conditions for business development and job creation, Mr Christopher Sparg, Managing Director of Dormac has warned.
Mr Sparg was among 60 odd maritime sector industry principals gathered for the event in Kalk Bay on the eve Mr Zuma’s SONA speech and in which he was expected to share Government’s perspective and goals about the specific programme.
The idea, according to SAMSA was to allow for the sharing of views and engagement with Government policy owners many of who were in the city for the opening of Parliament.
In his speech, Mr Zuma made reference to Operation Phakisa as among key priorities areas of government’s focus in overall economic development activity. Highlights of planned action included the inclusion of marine tourism as part of the package, and also the dedication of Simonstown as the “government garage for all state-owned vessels, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.”
From a maritime economic sector industry perspective however, the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014, essentially to speed up processes towards unlocking bottlenecks and creating a conducive environment to increased investment, business development and job creation, was simply not living up to expectations, charged Mr Sparg.
“We’ve yet to experience the speed about which Operation Phakisa was launched” said Mr Sparg, adding that this was leading to uncertainty and frustration among especially those already invested in the local economy.
Mr Sparg leads Dormac Marine and Engineering, a division of Southey Holdings that is a major player in the country’s ship repair, industrial fabrication and oil and gas maritime fields.