Pretoria: 20 August 2022
The launch in South Africa of a private-sector driven Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network (MIDTFN) could prove to be just the most appropriate step needed currently to inject much desired positive impetus on the country’s blue economy strategy outlined through the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) government programme launched all of eight years ago.
Precisely, the country’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) implementation by the Department of Transport and through which as much as R177-billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution could be unlocked in the maritime sector alone, and with it, the creation of close on a million jobs in the next decade, will need it.
At least that is the view of the more than three dozen maritime industry practitioners, business leaders and related whose ‘task forces’ representatives graced the launch event at Durban port’s upmarket MSC cruiseliner passenger terminal, along with senior officials of the Department of Transport and others a week ago.
Leading the private sector task forces grouping under the MIDFT Network umbrella body was its first president, Mr Prasheen Maharaj (Sandock Austral), deputies Mr Lindani Mchunu (V&A Waterfront) and Capt. Makhosi Mbokazi (Transnet National Ports Authority), along with Department of Transport (DoT) Chief Director for Maritime Policy and Legislation, Mr Dumisani Ntuli.
The goal of the formation of the network, according to both the network and the DoT is to provide a platform upon which the country’s maritime economic sector can combine seamlessly to form a social compact in execution of efforts towards rapid development of the country’s maritime industry which, by their own admission; lacks desired progress.
To ensure appropriate, equitable representation of all involved and interested, according to Mr Maharaj, the Network is a collective of work streams or ‘task forces’ representative of several subsectors for each of private sector identified priority investment and development areas in the country’s maritime industry.
During launch of the network in Durban on Thursday, 11 August 2022; six of these task forces – all led by private sector appointed representatives – were already in existence and operational.
Collectively, the network will serve as a conduit for joint effort and collaboration with Government and other maritime economic sector stakeholders in South Africa and abroad to drive investment and business development while contributing to resolution of the country’s triple challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty.
The six streams so far comprise;
- a Maritime Industry Value Chain Task Force championeed by Mr Durand Naidoo, chief executive officer of Lisen Nambi Group of Companies,
- a Maritime Industry Space Solutions Task Force championed by Ms Nokwanda Mkhize (researcher at Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone) and Mr Imraan Saloojee (executive director of The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability [RIIS]),
- a Maritime Industry Ship Repair Hub Task Force championed by Mr Karl Wiesner (Managing Director of the Sandock Austral Defense Engineering System [SADES]),
- a Maritime Industry Human Resources Task Force championed by Mr Nceba Mfini (Human Resources Executive at AMSOL),
- a Maritime Industry Scaling Up through industry-wide collaborations Task Force (MSuC-TF) championed by Dr. Nandipha Siwahla-Madiba (Non Executive Director of Freight Logistics South Africa), and
- a Maritime Industry Decarbonisation through Renewable Energy Task Force (MDtRE)-TF championed by Mr Thomas Roos (Senior Research Engineer at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research [CSIR])
In addition, the network works closely with a Maritime Industry Communication Forum.
In order to preserve clarity of messaging, in addition to capturinng the network launch proceedings as best as ambience conditions allowed in the huge cruiseliners’ passenger terminal hall, this blog also conducted interviews with both Mr Ntuli (DoT) as well as Mr Maharaj.
In the seperate interviews, they fully outlined both the purpose of the network and its anticipated impact on the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme as well as its underlying policy framework under the DoT’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy.
Curiously, what came out of both was a common message that neither government nor the private sector can do it alone. The country’s ailing maritime economic sector needs both to realise meaningful development through increased investment.
To listen to the interviews click on the videos below.
For each of the respective officials (Mr Ntuli and Mr Maharaj’s on stage presentations, click on the videos below.
The four Task Forces champions present at the launch event, also shared a few insights. To view and listen, click on the respective videos below.