South Africa’s Marine and Coastal tourism strategy development gets into full swing

Pretoria: 13 April 2016

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Tourism Lab members are gathered in Johannesburg to thrash out the strategy to unlock the economic potential of the sector.IMG_0720

The formalization of development of a comprehensive marine tourism and leisure subsector strategy for South Africa as part of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign formally got underway in Gauteng this week, where participants from across public and private sectors and related will sit in three groups through the process for about five weeks.

The three groups of the Marine and Coastal Tourism Lab of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) – numbering between 15-20 people each – gathered in Johannesburg on Sunday and began work earnestly on Monday.

The Marine Tourism and Coastal Lab of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign is one of five such other labs that have been operational since launch of the campaign by President Jacob Zuma in Durban on October 15, 2014.

IMG_1075

At launch, according to President Zuma, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) is in line with the goals outlined in the National Development Plan, to promote economic growth and to boost job creation.

The campaign, pursued jointly between the public and private sector as well as higher education and research institutions, was launched with an economic growth target of five percent per annum by 2019.

South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean and yet we have not fully taken advantage

According to President Zuma, the basis for pursuit for development and full integration of the country’s maritime economic sector into the general economy was that inherently, South Africa is a maritime country.

“Our starting point,” he said: “was that South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean and yet we have not fully taken advantage of the immense potential of this untapped resource. The oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion rand to the Gross Domestic Product and create just over one million jobs by 2033.”

IMG_0902Marine tourism meanwhile, ranks among the top four sub sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector projected for phenomenal growth in the next two decades.

It contributed R19-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, with projections currently indicating yields as high as R44-billion in 2020 and rising rapidly to R134-billion in 2033, generating between 800 000 and 1-million jobs.

The 2013 projections reflect on marine tourism as likely to be the second largest subsector contributor to South Africa’s GDP by 2033, after marine transport and manufacturing, followed by oil and gas as well as construction.

SAMSA rejoices at the elevation of marine tourism also as an important initial aspect of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy)

A South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) preliminary study conducted in the last three years found that the marine tourism and leisure subsector was extremely diverse, covering a wide range of marine assets and tourism, recreational and leisure pursuits.IMG_0709 (2)

SAMSA in essence kick-started the process of developing an enabling environment towards development of a comprehensive marine tourism and leisure sector strategy that would dovetail for integration into the country’s tourism development programs. As part of the initiative, a year ago the organisation together with private sector partners, launched the country’s first national Ocean Festival held at the Cape Waterfront in Cape Town.

Sitting in Johannesburg from this week, the Marine and Coastal Tourism lab is anticipated to expand greatly on the work already done by SAMSA towards a fully integrated strategy for the country, both coastal and inland.

Reacting to the start of the marine tourism lab, the organisation this week expressed excitement over the development. “We are very excited as this will unveil some of the plans and ensure coherent approach to  addressing problems that are inhibiting us to reach our true potential of being a marine and coastal tourism destination and be counted among the best in the world,” said SAMSA in brief statement.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) delivery labs are described as designed to “create transparency, debottleneck and help resolve the most critical challenges facing a sector, and hence achieve key milestones faster than in a “business as usual” context.”

“The main goal of the labs will be to produce a highly detailed (3-feet level) and costed implementation plan, including solutions, detailed execution plans with responsible owners across organisations, timelines and targets,” said a statement.

It said the three labs for the Marine and Coastal Tourism subsector would run in parallel, each with 15-20 participants carefully selected from key stakeholder groups (across public, social, private sectors and academia).

“The invited cross-organisational team works full-time in one location for five weeks. The lab will have an open, collaborative, intense problem solving atmosphere, and will be supported by a team of facilitators.”

End

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) goes full steam ahead

Eastern Cape steals national limelight on progress of South Africa maritime economic sector development

Port Elizabeth: 08 April 2016

IMG_1811
“SIYAQHUBA (We are making progress)” (From Left) Eastern Cape Province Premier, Mr Phumulo Masaulle with Nelson Mandela Metro Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan at the port of Pot Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016. The pair flanked South Africa President, Mr Jacob Zuma during his inaugural national public report on the progress achieved to date with Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) since its launch in Durban in 2014.

The Eastern Cape province asserted its lead in the stakes for the country’s maritime economic sector revival when Government used the region on Friday (08 April 2016) as the host of the country’s inaugural national progress report on the implementation of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy).

Flanked by no less than five Cabinet Ministers along with some Members of Parliament, representatives of the Eastern Cape provincial government led by their Premier, and Nelson Mandela Metro local government council led by its Mayor; President Jacob Zuma used the port of Port Elizabeth on Friday to give a most comprehensive and first formal public report of progress achieved to date since launch of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) program in 2014.

Even as dire the current economic conditions, Mr Zuma sounded highly optimistic but especially about the both the progress being achieved as well as its positive outcomes in the not so distant future.

South Africa’s economic growth is predicted likely to grow by no more than a percentage point in 2016, or less; due to factors emanating from both internally and globally, and that recovery may be a year or three away.

However, while this might point to a gloomy economic picture in the short term, it was no reason for pessimism in the medium to long term as the situation also presented a golden opportunity for investment in sectors lacking concentration, among them the country’s maritime economic sector, long neglected until about half a decade ago.

"SIYAQHUBA" - On hand to deliver the Government's first public report on the progress achieved so far with Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) were Cabinet Ministers that included (From Left), Mr Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Water Affairs, Foresty and Fisheries; Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs; (centre right), Mr Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency) pictured here while waiting for their turn for interviews for a national television breakfast show in Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016.
“SIYAQHUBA” – On hand to deliver the Government’s first public report on the progress achieved so far with Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) were Cabinet Ministers that included (From Left), Mr Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Foresty and Fisheries; Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs; (centre right), Mr Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency) pictured here while waiting for their turn for interviews for a national television breakfast show in Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016.

Prior to his taking the podium almost two hours later than scheduled at the eleventh hour, under a mega marquee that housed as many as 10 000 people, erected at length east to west to counter the notorious PE wind, and yet barely 20 meters from the seashore in the industrial area of the port of Port Elizabeth dominated by the dusty mounds of manganese ore and a foul smell of kerosene from megaliter storage tanks of liquid fuel – a set of features of the port long at issue will local residents and business – the Cabinet Ministers, Directors-General, and some leaders of State Owned Enterprises in his tow; sought to unpack the story from early morning.

In the lead under the blinding lights of national television cameras was Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe; followed in no particular order by fellow Cabinet Ministers that included Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa; Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana; Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Lynne Brown as well deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, and who were ably assisted by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masaulle as well as the Mandela Bay metro council leader, Dr Danny Jordaan.

Theirs was largely confined to a national television audience hosted by SABC2 Breakfast Show anchored by Leanne Mannas, thereafter by the SABC News Channel boxed in the pay television network, DStv, the latter which also carried live the President’s report from lunch-time.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: Part of the port of Port Elizabeth under the spotlight on Friday
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: Part of the port of Port Elizabeth under the spotlight on Friday

Prior to Mr Zuma’s main delivery of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) progress report, the Government delegation led by Transnet officials at the National Ports Authority were taken on a tour of the harbour for a view of various new upgrades and particular infrastructure developed to expand business investment opportunities in the maritime economic sector in the region.

These included a new jetty slipway, as well as a new 90 ton boat hoist for boat repairers said to be only the second of its kind in the country. The entourage also boarded and toured a new a multi-million rand worth tug named Tug Mvezo, delivered from Durban only a few days earlier. The tug is named after the village near Mthatha recognized internationally for being home to global statesman, South Africa’s first president under the democratic dispensation, Nelson Mandela.

With the inspection and tours having taken longer than anticipated, Mr Zuma finally arrived at the mega marquees to a thunderous applause of song and dance from a crowd of people officially said to have touched the 10 000 people mark, and rendered rather most colourful by the dominant yellow, green and black colour attire made up of ANC T-shirts with a mixture of ANC leaders’ faces including Mr Zuma.

It was not inconsistent.

The Port Elizabeth metro (encompassing Uitenhage, the seat of German carmaker, Volkswagen; and nearby Dispatch, a town in between)  is named after Nelson Mandela and its Main Street is now known as Govan Mbeki – in honour of one of the stalwarts of the black liberation struggle, and father to Mr Mandela’s successor as country president; Mr Thabo Mbeki.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: Part of the audience of 10 000 people that came to listen to President Jacob Zuma's report at the port of Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016.
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: Part of the audience of 10 000 people that came to listen to President Jacob Zuma’s report at the port of Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016.

The audience for Mr Zuma on Friday also varied by age, from the youngest – several below the age of 10 years old and some of whom momentarily lost contact with their minders – to the reasonably old; and a number of whom also occasionally dozed off in the contained steamy heat of the sun and sea made no less uncomfortable by the indifferently tight walls of the giant marquees.

With children losing contact with their minders in a decidedly irritating frequency, Programme Director, Mr Mlibo Qhoboshiyane – a member of the Eastern Cape provincial government responsible for Local Government and Traditional Affairs; at one point threatened to have ‘locked up’ any parent whose child was found to have lost contact with – to the applause of the audience.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: President Jacob Zuma delivering his report television live from Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: President Jacob Zuma delivering his report television live from Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016

In his speech, Mr Zuma said Government was relatively pleased with the progress being achieved under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) program, but especially the Maritime Transport and Manufacturing lab, as earmarked infrastructure development involving significantly billions of rand of Government investment was gathering speed across ports in the country, from Saldanha Bay at the far western end of the Western Cape Province to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.

But crucially he said; was the need for speed in the creation of job opportunities and alongside which was a programme for education, training and skills development for many aspirant maritime economic sector career seekers.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: School pupils from one of two High Schools in the Eastern Cape now delivering maritime economic sector dedicated education curriculum
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: School pupils from two High Schools in the Eastern Cape, George Randall High and Ngwenyathi High Schools in East London, the first such public schools to deliver maritime economic sector dedicated education curriculum

With regards the latter, Mr Zuma pointed to two recent significant developments; the enrolment for the first time ever of two public high schools in the Eastern Cape – the George Randall and Ngwenyathi High Schools in East London – for delivery of maritime economic sector education curriculum, and which was preceded two years earlier by  the establishment of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) to focus on education, training and skills development as well as academic research into the sector.

Aptly, SAIMI – an initiative spearheaded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in partnership with, among others; the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the Department of Higher Education, is the first institution of its kind in the country wholly dedicated to human resources academic and vocational skills development and upliftment precisely for the country’s maritime economic sector, and located in the Eastern Cape; a region of the country reputably the ‘second poorest’ even as endowed with 900km of a coastline – the second longest after the Western Cape.

Only four of South Africa’s nine provinces are along the 3200km coastline stretching from the Atlantic Coast to the west, the Southern Ocean to the south and the Indian Ocean to the east, and therefore with a direct claim to an Exclusive Economic Zone of the oceans that stretches for more than 1.5 million square kilometres.

The location of SAIMI in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; reportedly funded currently to the tune of about R300-million, is largely due to the region’s eminent interest in contributing significantly to the revival of the country’s maritime economic sector.

IMG_0310
The Cape Orchid, the first commercial cargo vessel registered to carry South Africa’s flag in 2015 since about 30 years ago. (Image: SAMSA)

From a sea trade or transport perspective, the province lays claim to three major ports, two in Nelson Mandela Bay and another in East London, in addition to a sprinkling of fishing harbours dotted along the coastline between Plettenberg Bay at the western border with the Western Cape province, through to East London.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University at which SAIMI is accommodated, and one of four universities in the province, had notably long taken a lead in expressing interest in efforts for the revival and placement of the country’s maritime economic sector central in South Africa’s socio-economic development agenda.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy Progress Report: (Right) Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Vice Chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz with (From Left), Eastern Cape Premier Mr Phumulo Masaulle and Mandela Bay Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan at the port of Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016.
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy Progress Report: (Right) Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Vice Chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz with (From Left), Eastern Cape Premier Mr Phumulo Masaulle and Mandela Bay Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan at the port of Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016.

The university is reportedly the first in the country to establish a functional relationship with the Malmo (Sweden) based World Maritime University and on the basis of which South Africa has been dispatching annually scores of Masters and Doctoral students for maritime studies since 2013.

With the location of SAIMI in the windy city, the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel the SA Agulhas has found home here, as has the first commercial cargo vessel registered under the country’s flag, the Cape Orchid domesticated in the city.

Indeed, on its first voyage abroad, loaded with tons of iron ore destined for China last October, the Cape Orchid had also taken on-board a batch of cadets for training for a period of six months. Two of these young men were from villages in the mostly rural Eastern Cape.

On Friday Mr Zuma said the Eastern Cape remained poised to make even greater contribution to the country’s maritime economic revival – and about which he said most people countrywide knew little to nothing about until recently – and urged for collaboration and co-operation to ensure Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) delivered on its goals.

To the extent that the Eastern Cape gained the recognition it deserved in this regard, Friday was a good day in Port Elizabeth and it was a good day for the Friendly City.

IMG_1858 (2)
An elated ANC supporter brandishing two dolls dressed in the party”s colours during President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Port Elizabeth on Friday,  08 April 2016.

At least that was impression on the faces of many among the thousands that came to welcome Mr Zuma’s report.

Mr Zuma said he would be back in the city in a week’s time, but this time for the launch of his party, the ANC’s local government election manifesto.

South Africans go to the polls for local government elections on 03 August 2016.

Lookout for the audi-visuals of the event on this blog later on.

End

SOUTH AFRICA’S MARITIME ECONOMIC SECTOR NOW FIRMLY ON THE NATIONAL AGENDA!

The port of Cape Town, one of the country's busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa's 3900km long coastline.
The port of Cape Town, one of the country’s busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa’s 3900km long coastline.

Pretoria: 22 February 2016

South Africans might hurriedly get used to and settle permanently with the knowledge that their’s is a maritime country whose vast oceans remain central to its economic development into the future, according to Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.

IMG_1648
Department of Transport Deputy Minister: Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga told mourners at a funeral of a senior manager of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo; in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend that the development of the country’s maritime economy – long suffering neglect yet with abundant economic resources – was now firmly in government’s national agenda and that no effort was being sparred by the State to ensure that requisite infrastructure, along with appropriate human skills were invested upon.

According to government estimations, South Africa’s oceans inclusive of an Exclusive Economic Zone equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers along a coastline equivalent some 3900km, have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and create more than one million jobs by 2033.

Ms Chikunga is the designated cabinet minister for co-ordination of South Africa’s maritime economic sector development and which effort is being pursued through the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme – a joint initiative between the State, the private sector as well as educational and research institutions.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) was launched in October 2014 targeting for rapid development over the next five years, five subsectors of the country’s maritime economy; Off-shore Oil and Gas, Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Marine protection services and Ocean governance, Aquaculture and Marine Tourism.

Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head, Centre for Maritime Excellence
Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence

Ms Chikunga bemoaned the premature death of Ms Nhlumayo, an executive head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence; whom she described as having been a major contributor to both the country’s tourism strategy development as well as a key national figure in the promotion of development of the maritime economic sector.

Ms Nhlumayo (45), also a PhD candidate in maritime economy studies at the Sweden-based World Maritime University, as well as a multi-award winner inclusive of the Institute of People Management (IPM) “Business Leader of the Year 2015”, died of cancer on 11 February 2016.

Ms Nhlumayo had been central to development and implementation of national human resources skills development initiatives for particularly the maritime sector and had been instrumental in forging relationships between national and international education institutions inclusive of the World Maritime University that now has direct links with the Port Elizabeth based Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Since 2012 as many as 22 South Africans have read for Masters and Doctoral degree in maritime studies at the World Maritime University. In addition, several other South African youths, supported by SAMSA; are enrolled for maritime economy studies in Vietnam. Similar opportunities are currently being explored with institutions in the Phillipines.

IMG_0310Ms Chikunga said Ms Nhlumayo’s death was unfortunate as it came at a time when SAMSA was gathering speed with several of its promotional programmes of the country’s maritime economic sector and which has now seen commercial cargo vessels carrying the country’s flag for the first time in more than 30 years.

Two of these were registered late in 2015, while according to SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; 12 others are currently awaiting approval.

For Ms Chikunga’s full remarks, view the video clip: (Warning: the deputy Minister’s entire speech is in isiZulu)

Setting sails for a brighter future!

Pretoria: Wednesday, 25 November 2015

EXPLORING LIGHTHOUSES: Mr Morakabe Seakgwa (red tie), Senior Manager, Projects Co-ordination at the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence, along with Ms Cloris Ngwenya (seated left at top of the table) SAMSA's CME Co-ordinator, having a leisurely chat with members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce at the Pretoria home of the Philippines Ambassador to South Africa on Monday.
EXPLORING LIGHTHOUSES: Mr Morakabe Seakgwa (red tie), Senior Manager, Projects Co-ordination at the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence, along with Ms Cloris Ngwenya (seated left at top of the table) SAMSA’s CME Co-ordinator, having a leisurely chat with members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce at the Pretoria home of the Philippines Ambassador to South Africa on Monday.

Deepening South Africa’s efforts towards rejuvenation of its maritime economic sector precisely through expanded education, training and skills development requires as much planning as it does focused engagement with partners, local and international.

It was with appreciation of that reality when early evening on Monday,  a delegation of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) joined a Philippines business delegation at the Pretoria home of the Philippines’ Ambassador to South Africa for a casual yet exploratory chat about possible links that could benefit both countries in the field of maritime.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and appropriately, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

Led by its president, Teresa B. Chan, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce delegation had been in the country since November 18, meeting its business chamber counterparts in Cape Town and Johannesburg, before a brief tour of the region ending in Pretoria.

SAMSA’s interest in meeting the business group hinged on its knowledge and involvement in maritime economy development issues, specifically opportunities for cooperation in education, training and skills development and about which the Philippines is acknowledged globally.

To read more of this story go here: