South Africa’s oceans economy on the move: President Jacob Zuma

Pretoria: 10 October 2017

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 report back event was held in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal. Below is his speech (also available here: (http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/speeches/address-president-jacob-zuma-update-stakeholders-implementation-operation-phakisa%3A-oceans)

 

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

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.

IMG_5382The 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.

IMG_5424The 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.

IMG_5844Earlier 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.

20170419_101108.jpgA 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.

Saldanha Oil & Gas
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

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.

DSC_0597The 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.

IMG_2179With 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.

IMG_6157To 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.

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SHARING CAREER INFO: Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga interacting with learners at the 2016 Transport Week Career Expo held at the Sci-Bono Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The newly-launched South African International Maritime Institute at Nelson Mandela University coordinates the skills development programme.

SAIMI letterheadOur 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.

Compatriots,
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.”

End

Enkovukeni: (not) a bridge too far!

Initiative to alleviate community plight now a Presidential Project – Deputy Minister of Transport

Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in black outfit) and some senior government officials at provincial and local government level in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi on board a boat donated by private sector companies to the water-locked community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal on Friday
Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in black outfit on the far right) and some senior government officials at provincial and local government level in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi on board a boat donated by private sector companies to the water-locked community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal on Friday

Pretoria: 11 September 2016

After wading through crocodile, hippopotamus and rhinoceros infested waters for decades – more than five centuries by one account – the community of Enkovukeni, a small village patched on a forested hill surrounded by deep lakes waters on the one side, and the pulsating waves of the Indian Ocean on the other, at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, might soon have a bridge at last.

That is if the South African government which has taken focus of the area fully for the first time, can negotiate a few treacherous corners inclusive of international conventions governing the management of the country’s first ever World Heritage Site; the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park in which the village is tightly locked in.

Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address the cmmunity of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalinga on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Friday
Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address the community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalinga on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Friday

On Friday, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga accompanied by members of top management of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a group of private sector representatives and provincial and local government officials in KwaZulu-Natal; met the villagers with their traditional leader, Inkosi Tembe and she gave an undertaking that national government would look into the plight of the community.

They told her in unison, without a second thought; they wanted a bridge, along with a ‘two-lane’ road.

The desperate request is based on the fact that an only entrance by a vehicle into the area – stopping short of a kilometer to the village, on the banks of an oft swollen lake – is a three to five kilometer long single-lane shifting sand pit barely two meters wide, running rugged through a thicket on which only off-road vehicles are able successfully to grind.

Folklore has it that a few locals who’d ever managed to buy a vehicle, any type of vehicle; have never ever been able to take it home. Boating on the heritage site lakes is also apparently highly regulated.

Marooned by lake and ocean waters all around and with barely any road to speak off in a thicket, Enkovukeni vehicle owners never ever take them home, when they have managed to nearby their village - that is when they have survived tyre punctures in the sandpit single lane that makes for a road in the area.
Marooned by lake and ocean waters all around and with barely any road to speak of in a thicket, Enkovukeni vehicle owners never ever take them home, when they have managed to arrive nearby their village – that is when they have survived tyre punctures in the sandpit single-lane that makes for a road in the area.

On Friday, Ms Chikunga however described it as a bizarre situation that should not obtain still in the new South Africa, and committed that government would fully investigate the possibility of constructing a bridge across some part of the lake in order to provide more secure and safe mobility for the community.

But that will partly require working past a basket of international conventions along with domestic laws, rules and regulations governing the management of the Isimangaliso World Heritage Site.

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Information on the park’s website states that the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 “in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.”

It states: “The 332 000 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old vegetated coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.”

The deputy Minister’s visit of the area on Friday was the second since August 14, 2016; following to an initiative by the Pretoria headquartered South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with private sector partners in the Durban region’s maritime sector to assist the Enkovukeni community with mainly water based transport.

According to SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the initiative was sparked by a news report earlier this year that depicted the living conditions of the community as dire due to an almost complete lack of not only transport, but anything else to enhance its life to a level others in surrounding areas generally take for granted.

As part of its community outreach programme under the annual Nelson Mandela International Day (2016), the authority mobilized support for help among some private sector companies that could lend a hand, in the form of boats that could be donated,.

To date a handful agreed, among them the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, shipping group Smit-Amandla Marine, Dormac, Subtech, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment FBI Communications and some others.

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Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga helping launch officially the first of possibly three boats donated to Enkovukeni villagers at Umhlabuyalingana on Friday.

The event Friday was to both hand over the first of possibly two or three boats the community would be donated with in order just to be safe enough for day to day travel, including school children who have to cross the lake daily to attend school, the sick who need medical help and the elderly who have to collect their social grants.

It was also for government at all three tiers to consult further with the community on how best it could be further assisted.

Ms Chikunga announced that government had taken serious note of the situation such that it was now being undertaken as a Presidential Project under the direct control of President Jacob Zuma.

Members of the Enkovukeni village community, listened attentively of Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga on Fiday.
Members of the Enkovukeni village community, listened attentively of Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga on Fiday.

Mobilization, she said; had begun by the Department of Transport (under her directive) to involve and engage fully no less than seven other national departments – Public Works; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Basic Education, Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Small Business, Trade and Industry, Energy Affairs, and Arts and Culture; but also the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in efforts to focus their attention to action to alleviate the plight of the Enkovukeni community.

“When I visited the area for the first time on 14 August 2016, and held talks with Inkosi Tembe and some members of the community, I promised I would be back with a progress report. Today, I am back not only with a report back, but also with tools and equipment intended to alleviate the plight of this community. The boats are not a total solution, but are a start.

“As promised, I have since taken your situation to the Office of the President with a proposal that this situation be undertaken as a Presidential Project, and he has agreed. The next step proposed is the establishment of an inter-Ministerial Task team involving deputy Ministers of the respective departments in order that we package a comprehensive programme that will deliver on the issues requiring address.

“The Director General in the Office of the President is currently arranging for the first of such meetings,” she said.

A community member sharing the villagers' frustration with the Isimingalisa Heritage Site management with government officials at Enkovukeni on Friday
A community member sharing the villagers’ frustration with the Isimingalisa Heritage Site management with government officials at Enkovukeni on Friday

Ms Chikunga said the involvement of as many national government departments as was possible was a necessity to ensure that as many challenges facing the community as possible were noted and where possible addressed holistically as soon as possible.

These included skills development for especially fishermen, small business development in particularly tourism as well as aspects related to arts and culture.

In addition, housing assistance and electrification, school nutrition and related matters, land management and general development needed specific and urgent attention, she said.

Ms Chikunga promised to return to the village within the next few weeks to deliver shoes to school going children (estimated at about 150) as well as certain basic necessities to families.

End

 To listen fully to Ms Chikunga’s address (mainly in isiZulu), as well as the rest of the officials and community members, please click on the audio clips and video links provided below. The clips are in order of the programme as presented on Friday. 

Clip 1: Welcome Address, Inkosi Tembe

Clip 2: Outreach Programme broad outline – Mr Sobantu Tilayi (SAMSA aCEO)

Video

Clip 3: Outreach Programme Specifics – Ms S. Molemane (SAMSA Board Member)

Clip 4: Boat donation – Mr Vincent Zulu (KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board)

Video

Clip 5: Community Response – Mr Ngubane

Clip 6: Local government speaker – Ms B.T Tembe

Clip 7: Key address – Ms Sindisiswe Chikunga (Deputy Minister, Transport Department)

Video

 

 

 

 

Mandela Bay Chamber of Business excited over maritime sector focus on Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth was South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma’s choice for the 2016 Presidential National Progress Report on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in April. This week the city hosted yet another national maritime sector event with international flavour. 

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
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

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

While national traditional media might be paying little if any attention to it, the Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce (Port Elizabeth) can barely hide its appreciation for the national and international attention the region is increasingly drawing in domestic and international maritime sector initiatives.

The chamber’s chief executive Kevin Hustler was remarking on the staging early this week of yet another maritime sector development oriented event in Port Elizabeth with much international flavour, a two-day seminar on national maritime sector cluster development involving thought leaders mostly from South Africa and Norway.

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

The event, at a venue situated along the city’s pristine Blue-flaggedDSC_0148 Humewood beach and about a kilometre east of the port of Port Elizabeth, held under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) theme, also provided the venue for the signing of a historical bilateral agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University that involves the setting up of an academic institute to focus on illegal fishing studies and management strategy development.

Mr Hustler was among about 200 delegates that attended on Monday, alongside which was the city’s Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan but who could only address the delegates on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan (Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The Mandela Bay Chamber represents the largest membership number  of businesses in the city inclusive of three major vehicle and components manufacturers in the city, Volkswagen South Africa, General Motors South Africa and Ford Motor Company South Africa.

The Chamber is also a stakeholder and key role player in the region’s Maritime Cluster set up some four years ago.

To hear Mr Hustler’s remarks during a brief interview during the two day seminar, Click Below

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.

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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

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.