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

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Durban: 02 March 2019

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

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Minister of Transport; Dr Blade Nzimande

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) corporatisation

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

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

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

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

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

Transport innovation hubs

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

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

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

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

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

Focused education, training and skills transfer

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

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

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

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

Domestication of shipping and localization of content

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

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

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

For his full remarks on this topic, Click Here:

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

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Eastern Cape may need review of its coastal land use practices for maritime sector development success: SAMSA

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Port St Johns: 27 August 2017

Land use practices along South Africa’s 3200 km coastline, but particularly the 800km coastline of the Eastern Cape Province and precisely the Wild Coast on the Indian Ocean, may have to be revisited if currently declared marine tourism plans will achieve the desired effect, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) urged this past week.

The call came from SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi during a celebratory send-off event of some 97 youths due to be deployed on cruise tourism vessels worldwide from September 1, 2017.

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The 97 Eastern Cape youths selected for this year’s first intake of the Maritime Youth Development Programme (Eastern Cape) due to for deployment in permanent employment with MSC Cruise tourism vessels worldwide during their send-off celebratory event at Port St Johns on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 23 August 2017. They board their vessels from 01 September 2017.

The event on Wednesday (August 23) was held in Port St Johns on the Wild Coast, this year’s chosen venue for the World Maritime Day event in South Africa on September 28, 2017.

The send-off event of the 97 youths – almost double the original number of 50 targeted – was the culmination of a joint initiative- the Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) – driven by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape government and Johannesburg based non-governmental organization Harambee, to not only equip local youth with maritime skills, but to also help them find  employment.

 

The Eastern Cape ranks high on unemployment especially among youth, with the rate for particularly the Port St Johns area of the O.R Tambo District Municipality estimated at as much as 89%.

The group of 97, the first intake this year, will be taken on board cruise tourism vessels operated by MSC Cruises worldwide. It will be the first group under the MYDP programme in the Eastern Cape, but second nationally since launch of the initiative a year ago, with Gauteng Province.

Incidentally, the event in Port St Johns on Wednesday took place only days after national Parliament announced the formal approval of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Marine and Tourism Implementation Plan and among whose initial targets over the next five years will be the tourism area of Port St Johns, along with East London and Port Elizabeth.

The announcement was made on Friday, August 18 by Tourism Minister, Ms Tokozile Xasa.

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Part of the Eastern Cape’s 800km long coastline, with Port St Johns on the Wild Coast showing a the top.

The Eastern Cape has the second longest coastline – some 800km of the country’s 3200km coastline – after the Western Cape, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and in fourth place, the Northern Cape.

In her announcement, Ms Xasa described the Marine and Coastal Tourism Implementation Plan’s vision as encompassing an envisaged development and growth of “a world class and sustainable coastal and marine tourism destination that leverages South Africa’s competitive advantage in nature, culture, and heritage.”

 

This according to Ms Xasa was against the backdrop of projections that the coastal and marine tourism sector will contribute about R21.4-billion to the GDP and create about 116 000 direct jobs by 2026, in the process, helping alleviate poverty, inequality and unemployment, while contributing to sustainable livelihoods and development.

“These estimates,” she said: “are conservative as they are growing off a low 2015 base of R 11.9-billion direct contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 64 400 direct jobs.”

Ms Xasa said the Coastal and Marine Tourism Plan would be implemented in a nodal or cluster approach that would “prioritise destinations rather than individual tourism projects or products.”

The identified nodes/clusters in the first phase of five (5) years) would focus primarily on the country’s four coastal provinces, she said.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In Port St Johns on Wednesday, Mr Tilayi described the development as a major boost for areas such as those on the Wild Coast, inclusive of Port St Johns.

However, this had implications for land use practices in the areas, Mr Tilayi told both the Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Phumulo Masaulle and AmaMpondo King, His Royal Highness; Ndamase Ndamase both of whom graced the send-off event with their presence.

According to Mr Tilayi, the initiatives would go a long way in helping development of maritime sector related socio-economic activities in the areas identified and would require direct participation by local communities.

He pointed out, however, that land use practices along particularly the Wild Coast area would need focus and possible review, in order to enable wholesome and mutual benefit for all inhabitants.

 

Mr Tilayi did not enumerate particular problematic land use practices, save to indicate that SAMSA would soon engage with the local traditional leadership as well as the provincial government on the issues.

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Ms Lindelwa Kolobile. Port St Johns mayor

However, Port St Johns mayor, Ms Lindelwa Kolobile laid bare some of the challenges facing land use practices in the area. In her brief speech, Ms Kolobile said there was an increasing trend of unauthorized land occupation by residents and made an impassioned plea to both the Eastern Cape government as well as King Ndamase to intervene. To listen to her remarks, Click Here

About the departing local youth due for employment on MSC Cruise ships worldwide from September 2017, Mr Tilayi urged them and their parents to fully support the efforts being made in the area to alleviate both unemployment and associated high poverty levels.

To the youths – about 50 of the 97 from Port St Johns – he said their responsibility was not only to themselves but also their country which they had to represent well.

The youth also needed to recognize, he said; that their performance at work in the months and years ahead would reflect on the caliber of South African youth and where positive, increase the chances of more youths being employed on cruise ships and related opportunities in the maritime sector.

IMG_7051“You have to bear in mind that you, South Africans, are not only competing for work on cruise liners among yourselves, but are competing with several countries all over the world. If you conduct yourselves badly you will be fired, that is guaranteed.

“But remember this that, should you misbehave and lose the jobs due to poor behavior, you will have not only wasted your own opportunity, but will have also jeopardized chances for your fellow South Africans as well.

“So go out there, and makes us all proud,” he said, congratulating them for having secured jobs in the maritime sector.

For Mr Tilayi’s full address on video, Click Here.

For more coverage of the event in videos, please visit the Features Page

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

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Pretoria: 12 October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Maritime economy education and job opportunities spread to Johannesburg

Collaboration between the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the City of Johannesburg begin to pay dividends for the unemployed!

BREAKING GROUND: Senior SAMSA officials Collins Makhado (Left) and Benard Bobison-Opoku (Right) with Mayor of Johannesburg City, Parks Tau at the conclusion of a ceremony on Tuesday to dispatch a number of youths for maritime economic sector jobs training. The youth selected youth group will be trained as cadets on international vessels over a period of time.
BREAKING GROUND: Senior SAMSA officials Collins Makhado (Left) and Benard Bobison-Opoku (Right) with Mayor of Johannesburg City, Parks Tau; at the conclusion of a ceremony on Tuesday to dispatch a number of youths from Gauteng for maritime economic sector jobs training. The youth selected youth group will be trained as cadets on international vessels over a period of time.

Pretoria: 07 April 2016

The formal dispatch of a batch of youths from Johannesburg on Tuesday (04 April 2016) for specialized training in the country’s maritime economic sector with the backing of a local government for the first time has clearly signaled the increasing recognition and appreciation by the country of the critical role the maritime economic sector can play in South Africa’s overall socio-economic development.

The event Tuesday, under the banner of a programme known as “Vulindlel’eJozi” was a culmination of collaboration and co-operation that has developed between the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Johannesburg local government, Transnet, Harambee Youth Employment Creator, MSC Cruisers and others on the importance of spreading awareness and opportunity for the country’s youth also in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Orange Farm youths.jpgThe Vulindlel’eJozi programme launched in June 2015, in partnership with SAMSA and others inclusive of the presidential programme – Operation Phakisa,  is designed to empower the youth with entry-level job training and placement in various sectors, online further education and entrepreneurship skills development.

According to Mayor Tau, so far a total 15 124 young people have directly benefited from various opportunities created through the Vulindlel’eJozi programme. include 2 895 candidates who have been placed into opportunities in various sectors of the economy such as early childhood development, hospitality, information technology, retail, financial services and business process outsourcing.

As of this week,  the programme also opened doors to maritime career opportunities for 10 Orange Farm youths who will pursue career skills development enabling them to function profitably in any of a number of maritime economic sector jobs – be it fishing, ship building, marine conservation, cargo handling or the leisure sector.

The 10 youths had reached the final stages of training in swimming and hospitality under the Vulindlel’eJozi programme and had already been through comprehensive medical examinations and a series of interviews with MSC Cruises – one of the most prestigious operators in the world.

Mayor Tau said that there were several South African companies currently being negotiated with as partners of the programme. These include Unilever, Nando’s, Mindworx consulting, Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank, Imperial, Scaw Metals and Burger King.

The aim was to expand opportunities to as many as 200 00o youths.

A linked story: “Cruise ship job opportunities for Joburg youth”

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in the national spotlight in Eastern Cape on Friday

South Africa President Jacob Zuma to formally unveil the plaque of the launch of the SA International Maritime Institute in Port Elizabeth on Friday

Port Elizabeth: 07 April 2016

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

Progress achieved to date on the launch and implementation of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) comes under national spotlight in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Friday where South Africa President Jacob Zuma and some national and provincial government ministers hosts a function to provide feedback.

President Jacob Zuma is scheduled for the city Friday morning, flanked by among others, national Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Lynne Brown, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masaulle and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality Mayor, Danny Jordaan.

Preliminary information indicates that highlights of the event will include a government tour of port infrastructure developments at the  Port Elizabeth harbour early Friday.

This will be followed later in the day with a formal first visit by the President to the recently established South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), currently housed at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitican University’s Bird Street Campus.

SAIMI, an initiative of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), in partnership with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), was founded in late 2014  as a vehicle to promote and coordinate maritime education, skills development and research to support South Africa in harnessing the potential of its mostly untapped maritime resources.

Also, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the country’s most comprehensive maritime economy development focused programme was launched formally in 2014, with at least six subsectors of the maritime economic sector identified for specific focus for development investment in the following five years.

These comprise the Marine Transport and Manufacturing; Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration; Aquaculture; Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance; Small Harbours Development; and  Marine Tourism and Leisure.

The event in Port Elizabeth tomorrow starts early, preceded by a national report possibly to be televised live.

The SAMSA blog will keep you updated on the event in Port Elizabeth tomorrow.

Johannesburg is a freak city in a country largely maritime!

Pretoria: 07 November 2015

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A week ago, South Africa saw the launch of the country’s Marine Tourism & Leisure strategy aimed at providing for the first time a coherent road map forward for the sub-sector of South Africa’s maritime economic sector and the latter whose focused development, transformation and integration into the main economy is deemed highly important, as clearly articulated in the current Operation Phakisa: (Ocean Economy) national campaign.

IMG_0709Launch of the strategy by its developer, the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with partners Worldsport and the V&A Waterfront, supported by financial sponsors, Calulo Group and several others; occurred during an inaugural national Ocean Festival held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The country’s media covered the event and picked up on key salient points.

There were salient points all right! For one thing, an interesting fact to surface was that Johannesburg is effectively a freak city, given that all around the world, cities its size are all maritime based as developed on the basis of sea trade.

For this and various other interesting illuminations, it is worth revisiting the historical event last weekend to listen carefully to the officials that presided over it and whose speeches told more than traditional media could master in its highly limited space and time.

IMG_0725As it transpired, on the evening of Friday, October 30, 2015; close on 100 guests gathered in a splendidly decorated marquee featuring a nautical theme, to be treated to fine sea food, a bit of friendly banter, but importantly, to share in the enthusiasm of the officials behind the event as they explained the genesis of the Marine Tourism & Leisure Strategy, its positioning within the development framework of the country’s maritime economic sector, as well its objectives for the marine sub-sector.

Focus on maritime economic sector the way to go for SA

David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront
David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront

The list of speakers on the evening, (and who incidentally were all given no more than five minutes each!) included (in order of appearance) V&A Waterfront CEO David Green.

Summarily, according to Mr Green; it was high time South Africans took to the oceans, and made use of the resource for wealth generation and sharing…….

(Please do note that audio is bad at first but improves dramatically thereafter with all the clips. Also, a video version of the speeches will be loaded soon on the “Reflections” page.)

South Africa is a maritime country. Johannesburg is a freak city!

Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Meanwhile, according to SAMSA CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, the launch of the Marine Tourism & Leisure Strategy marked what he described as; “the beginning of a change that one day, when our time shall have passed, from another media somewhere, we will look back and say, we thought it was a party for one day, but it happened to be a day marking the beginning of the change we have all wanted for our country…..

“The biggest frustration for all of us in the maritime sector,“ he said: “has been a failure to move the consciousness of our nation to the fact that we are a maritime country, a maritime people, who live off a maritime economy.” Importantly, he properly contextualized the entire weekend activity in terms of South Africa’s grand plan for the maritime economic sector.

Take a listen……

The private sector wants in…

Mkhuseli Faku, chairman Calulo Group
Mkhuseli Faku, chairman Calulo Group

Up next was Calulo Group Chairman, Mkhuseli Faku whose group of companies largely operational in maritime sector he said was excited about the openness the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reflected in its keen invitation to private sector companies to get involved and work closely with State entities. Because of it, he pledged future support of initiatives of the nature.

The Ocean Festival will be all over South Africa come 2016…

Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO Worldsport
Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO Worldsport

The final word on the evening fell on SAMSA partner in the Ocean Festival initiative, Worldsport, whose leader, Bruce Parker-Forsyth unpacked the Ocean Festival initiative going forward….

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A fine evening of seafood, lighted boat parade, ocean sports and illuminating speeches for some 100 or so guests during the launch of the Ocean Festival and the country’s first coherent and comprehensive Marine Tourism and Leisure Strategy at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town