IMO bi-annual 32nd General Assembly (regular session) kicks off in London – Africa in the thick of it!

The start of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) bi-annual General Assembly’s 32nd Regular Session in London on Monday (SAMSA File Photo)

Pretoria: 07 December 2021

The start of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) General Assembly’s 32nd Regular Session, held as a hybrid model, in London on Monday marked both a low point and watershed moment for South Africa – the latter as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the former owing to its expected weighty contribution in this session.

The Assembly – traditionally meeting once every two years – is the highest governing body of the IMO, responsible for approving the international body’s work programme and budget, determining its financial arrangements and electing the IMO Council.

Durban, South Africa; was billed to be the next host of the 175 Member IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020, but that was postponed due to the outbreak globally of the Covid-19 pandemic, and whose grip remains tight in many countries across the world even this year. That effectively robbed South Africa of the opportunity of hosting the prestigious event on its home soil, and the African continent, for the first time ever.

However, on the upside, it has emerged that South Africa may still host the event in 2022.

South Africa, – a founding member of the IMO in 1959 but whose membership was then suspended during the apartheid era and only readmitted during the dawn of democracy in 1995 – plays a highly significant role as an IMO Member State from the African continent, inclusive of holding membership of the IMO’s 40 Member Council, thereby currently placing among only four maritime countries holding membership of the body from the African continent.

South Africa holds a Category C level membership of the IMO Council, along with the Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.

As it were, at this year’s gathering that began in London early on Monday, South Africa lived up to its reputation as a significant contributor at the IMO, playing a critical role in the nomination process of the next IMO Assembly regular session President, by lending its full weight behind a United Kingdom proposal of Mr Antonio Manuel R. Lagdameo of the Philippines as the next President of the IMO Assembly. Other supporters were Peru and Turkey.

With his election confirmed, Mr Lagadmeo will succeed a South African, and the first woman from the country to hold the position of an IMO General Assembly President; Ms Nomatemba Tambo, after her election to the position in December 2019. She was and remains South Africa’s High Commissioner to the UK since 2018.

South Africa Transport Ministry Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga during the IMO General Assembly’s 32nd Session that started in London on Monday and due to last until next Thursday

Leading South Africa representation at Monday’s first sitting of the IMO General Assembly was the country’s national Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga who during the first plenary at about lunchtime, announced the country’s support of the UK’s choice of Mr Ladgameo – an ambassador and permanent representative of the Philippines at the IMO – as the IMO’s next General Assembly president.

In her brief remarks announcing the country’s secondment of the nomination, said Ms Chikunga: “The resume presented by the distinguished delegate of the United Kingdom gives us the sense of comfort and confidence that His Excellency Mr Antonio Manuel Lagdameo has the required skills and expertise to preside over this important session of the Assembly successfully. On that note, Madam President, South Africa humbly second the nomination of His Excellency Mr Antonio Manuel Lagdameo as the President of this 32nd regular session of the Assembly.”

For Ms Chikunga’s brief remarks, click on the video below

Later, in her congratulatory message of Mr Ladgameo’s formal confirmation as president, Ms Chikunga said: “South Africa would like to congratulate His Excellency, Mr Antonio Manuel Lagdameo of the Philippines for elected as the President of the 32nd regular session of the Assembly. We have no doubt that he will lead this session with success and distinction.”

South Africa further delighted also in the election of Ms Linda Scot of Namibia as the 1st Vice President of the Assembly. Acknowledging her also as one of South Africa’s own – a claim based on Ms Scot’s academic education obtained at the Universities of the Free State and Cape Town – Ms Chikunga described the moment as a reaffirmation of “our role and commitment of the SADC to enhance the blue/oceans economy.”

South Africa also congratulated Mr Raphael of Italy as the 2nd VP, with Ms Chikunga stating that: “…we have no doubt that these two distinguished nominations will be of great assistance to the President of the 32nd regular session of the Assembly.

South Africa’s delegation to the last IMO General Assembly’s 31 Regular Session, led by South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula (Front Centre) during which Ms Nomatemba Tambo (Front: Right), South Africa’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdowm, was elected the General Assembly’s President. Her term ended this week

She added: “Madam President, South Africa would also want to take this opportunity and thank all the IMO Member States for electing the High Commissioner of South Africa to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency, Ms Nomatemba Tambo in 2019 as the President of the 31st regular session of the Assembly. Your tenure as the President of the 31st regular session befitted the 2019 theme of the IMO of “Empowering women in the maritime community”.

“We are most grateful to the IMO Member States and the Secretary-General who offered this prestigious opportunity to South Africa to preside over the last Assembly.”

South Africa’s Ms Nomatemba Tambo, the country’s HIgh Commissioner to the United Kingdom and IMO General Assembly’s Regular Session’s outgoing president

Meanwhile, in her remarks as the outgoing president of the IMO’s General Assemby, Ms Tambo reiterated the country’s full commitment to ensuring that work and programmes of the IMO are fully supported both by South Africa and the continent.

Expressing her own gratitude for the opportunity she had leading the IMO General Assembly, said Ms Tambo: “South Africa is a country with special interest in maritime transport and is strategically located in one of the major shipping routes. It is surrounded by three oceans: the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. 

“South Africa continues be a good partner with the IMO and as well as in the Djibouti Code of Conduct system to deter and curb the spread of piracy to our sub-region. In this regard, South Africa maintains the deployment of military craft along the Mozambique Channel as a deterrence against the spread of piracy, armed robbery and human trafficking. 

“This record of accomplishment of providing the port services to ships calling our ports, excellent coastal state services and search and rescue capabilities in the region are of critical importance to the mandate of the IMO and international shipping.

She added: “For my country, South Africa, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all Member States for your confidence in electing me in 2019 as the President of the 31st regular session of the Assembly. 

Next up for South Africa this week will be the election of Members of the IMO Council on Friday morning, an event during which the country is vying to ensure that it retains its Council membership and status.

The IMO General Assembly’s 32nd Session’s 11-day sitting ends on Thursday next week.

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Cooperation and collaboration key to successful implementation of SA’s Inland Water Strategy

Pretoria: 27 October 2021

The launch of the South African Inland Water Strategy by the Department of Transport on Friday (22 October 2021) might have marked a critical turning point in the effective and efficient management of the country’s inland waters – from rivers to dams and similar – but its successful implementation will depend largely on collaborative governance among all the parties involved.

At least that was the shared view of virtually all attendees to the event held on the banks of the Vaal River, at the luxurious Lake Deneys Yacht Club, some +-30 kilometers south of Vereeniging. Among them were senior officials representative of the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DEFF), the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), boating and sailing organisations including SA Sailing, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Free State provincial and local govenrments, and related.

Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga delivered the main address during launch of the Inland Water Strategy and about which she said it represented a major positive turning point as well as a clear framework for the effective and efficient management of the country’s inland waters, inclusive of clear regulations on the utilization of the facilities for the benefit of all citizens. The benefits, she said; included leisure, business investment as well as generation of much needed job opportunities and employment.

In terms of the Inland Water Strategy and whose launch this month formed part of the DoT’s National Transport Month, inland waters are made up of dams, lagoons, lakes, rivers and wetlands but exclude tidal lagoons and tidal rivers.On these, over 1,2-million small vessels of all shapes and sizes, operate – mostly for sport, recreation, tourism as well as fishing largely by local subsistence and recreational fishers.

According to Ms Chikunga, the launch of the Inland Water Strategy by the DoT on Friday came against the backdrop that legislatively, the Department of Transport is tasked with the responsibility to ensure that South Africa’s inland waterways are safe for public use. The strategy’s four major goals include: “safe and secure lives and property for all users and marine environment protection, standardised procedures and processes on all inland waters, improved maritime domain awareness on all inland waters as well as contribution towards alleviation of poverty of inland waters communities”.

Challenges however, in the absence of a formal Resource Management Plan, were noted to include unregulated boating activities that were resulting in accidents – some fatal – as was demonstrated recently by an incident in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal and which is still under investigation. In addition, environmental pollution from such boating activities had also triggered the spread of invasive aquatic hyacinth plants now clogging some of the dams.

To counter some of the challenges, but specifically those relating to effective management of boating use, the Inland Water Strategy incorporated the implementation of the Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007, with focus on basic safety requirements related to commercial operations, approval of commercial and passenger vessels, the reporting of incidents as well as pollution prevention.

It was in this specific area, said Ms Chikunga; that SAMSA – the country’s dedicated agency for maritime safety now including inland water spaces – would play a critical role, working in tandem with all interested and affected parties both in the public and private sectors.

“We believe that this stratregy could and will greatly assist in promoting a culture of safe and responsible boating when implemented in the spirit of cooperative governance among all three spheres of government and in partnership with the maritime industry, she said.

Ms Chikunga further said that in addition to the anticipated high safety and pollution free conditions generally in inland waters as envisaged in the strategy, a similarly crucial aspect was a need for the optimal utilisation of the country’s inland waters productively in terms of its general economic contribution through both investment and jobs creation.

For her full remarks (duration: 18 minutes), click on the video below

Inland Water Strategy launch address by Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

The South African Navy Hydrographic Office (part of the country’s national Defence Force) took advantage of the event to handover a set of dams navigational charts to the DoT, while the depatment and SA Sailing also used the opportunity of the event to ratify a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Meanwhile, SAMSA which has already been working on the implementation of the Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007 for a few years now – warmly welcomed the formal launch of the overall strategy especially with regards the extent of its formal inclusion of various other players critical to inland water safety controls, both in the public and private sectors.

Captain Vernon Keller. Deputy Choef Operations Officer: SAMSA

SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller who attended the event along with several senior SAMSA officials, among them the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane and SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James; said: “The launch of the Inland Water Strategy today (Friday) is the result of a collaboration of all the stakeholders to make boating safer on inland waters. It’s about cooperative governance among parties that include the South African Police Services, Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment, as well local municipalities and other agencies to all work together to make it safer.

“And so, from a SAMSA perspective, we are excited because it is now putting a spotlight on boating, and boating is normally one of those areas that is overlooked because people always focus on the big ships. There are also a lot of opportunities out there to develop youth and generate careers for them in small boating, like delivering yachts, or (getting) in the boat building or fishing industries, said Capt. Keller.

Ms Debbie James.Centre for Boating manager

For Ms James, however, the greatest opportunity and challenge for SAMSA was in ensuring the development and placement of measurements to ensure effective implementation of boating regulations for sound management of boating activities on inland waters evenly across the country, anchored on ongoing co-operation and collaboration among the various authorities and communicaties.

For its part, she said; SAMSA has since about two years ago started rolling out training workshops for both internal and external boat surveyors and boat safety officials in terms of the National Small Vessels Safety Regulations. Following to the launch of the Inland Water Strategy, this work would now be intensified, she said. For both Capt. Keller and Ms James remarks, click on the respective videos below (average duration +-3.11 minutes)

Remark of Capt. Vernon Keller. Deputy Chief Operations Officer: SAMSA
Remarks by Ms Debbie James. SAMSA Centre for Boating manager

Several other attendees to the launch event of the Inland Water Strategy also shared their views about the event relative to their assigned roles. In the list are SA Sailing deputy President, Mr Vernon Brown, SAPS Emergency Services Unit, Brigadier M. de Meillon; Depatment of Fisheries, Forestry and Environmental Affairs national coordinator, Environmental Projects, Ms Debbie Muir, as well as representatives of the Metsimahulu local municipality as well as the Free State provincial government.

For their respective full remarks, please click on the video below: (duration: +-35 minutes)

Remarks by officials representative of various institutions and organisations with interest or affected by the launch of South Africa’s Inland Water Strategy

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SAMSA clocks 20 in a trot and still younger for it!

Updated to include two videos of employees messages. (For these, please scroll down.)

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SAMSA celebrates 20 years in 2018

Pretoria: 26 December 2018

It is often stated as a truism that time flies past quite quickly when fun is had, and that the opposite is just as true when the going is tough. Whether or not there be any truth in the claims, what is an indisputable fact is that with each passing year of existence, gains are achieved and milestones reached.

The same is true of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which clocked its 20th year of existence in 2018 and whose founding in 1998 has led to a series of achievements and milestones reached in especially the country’s maritime economic sector.

It’s an ongoing story repeatedly told as events unfold and whose chunks and snippets are to be found on this blog – a communication platform established in 2015 for the express purpose of information sharing with the public about SAMSA and its activities in pursuing and furthering South Africa’s maritime interests consistent with its mandate.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Indeed, in a hour long interview with an international publication in March 2018 and which was subsequently repackaged in video format for this blog’s audience, SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi tells the story of SAMSA and some of its remarkable achievements and challenges in its 20 years of existence.

However, it is a history of performance commonly known and told also by stakeholders among them the main shareholder, Government, through the holding ministry, the Transport Department.

DSC_5781In the series of videos below, developed especially to mark SAMSA’s 20th anniversary during the course of the past year, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, in congratulating the agency, tells of her experiences with SAMSA, as do several others, among them chief executives and other senior managers of private sector companies, foundation education pupils as well as SAMSA’s own employees.

The seven (7) videos range in length from about two (2) minutes 30 seconds to about 10 minutes, all with congratulatory messages to the organization. In addition, Mr Tilayi shares a message to stakeholders that mark the milestone of a 20 years toll by SAMSA in promoting South Africa’s maritime interests, among other issues.

Video 1: Mr Sobantu Tilayi [2:37)

Video 2: Deputy Minister of Transport – Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga [2:30)

Video 3: SAMSA Stakeholders Group 1 [10:00]

Video 4: SAMSA Stakeholders Group 2 [5:20)

Video 5: SAMSA Bursary Holders (Simon’s Town Lawhill Maritime Centre) [6.30]

SAMSA Employees Messages.

 

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South Africa thanks AU for support at IMO Council elections: Chikunga

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South Africa’s Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga casting her vote for the country’s retention of its seat in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council during last week’s IMO Assembly elections in London. (Photo: IMO)

CAPE TOWN: 04 December 2017

South Africa has expressed appreciation for the continued support it is receiving from the African Union, this after the southern tip of Africa’s country lobbied successfully to retain its seat in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council in London on Friday.

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Gifts and wraps! Some of the items shared with IMO Assembly members by South Africa in London a week ago during its lobby for reelection onto the IMO Council

Despite South Africa having served on the IMO Council and its Assembly since 1995, deriving in part from a relationship established as far as 1948, election for a seat onto the IMO Council is not a foregone conclusion and the 40 Member States that serve on it have to wage a convincing campaign among the 176 countries that make up the United Nations maritime affairs body’s Assembly.

During the IMO Assembly’s  30th Regular Session in London last week, the situation was not any different. The IMO Assembly has been meeting in London since 25 November 2017 and will wrap up business for the session on Thursday this week, (06 December).

Voting to elect new Member States to the IMO Council for the 2018-2019 period took place last Friday – the 5th day of the 30th Regular Session of the Assembly and South Africa emerged among the 40 Member States that will now serve on the council in the next two years.

The IMO Council, – the supervisory structure of the IMO Assembly over two year periods between sessions – is made up of three categories of Member States;

 

South Africa retains its seat in IMO Council

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Representatives of Member States of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) during their biannual meeting on London this past week. The IMO Assembly meeting began on 27 November 2017 and will wrap up on 10 December 2017. On Friday, the Assembly elected 40 Members States including South Africa that will serve as its Council over the next two years. (Photo: IMO)

CAPE TOWN: 02 December 2017

South Africa has managed to hold onto its seat in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council, the organization confirmed in a statement from London on Friday.

This, according to South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga; means that the country will continue to serve on the body, representative of not only her own interests, but also those of the  Southern African Development Community.

The IMO, made up of about 180 Member States (or countries) is the United Nations specialized agency entrusted with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships globally.

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South Africa’s deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga casting a vote during the elections of the International Maritime  Organization (IMO) Council for the 2018/19 period in London on Friday. South Africa successfully lobbied IMO Member States to help it retain its seat in the council (PHOTO: IMO)

The IMO Council in turn, is the executive organ of the IMO responsible under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the organization. According to the IMO, between sessions of the Assembly that take place every two years, the IMO Council “performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.”

South Africa has served in the IMO Council for a number of years in the Category C slot of Members States.

Designated as Category C Member States are countries denoted as having “special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.”

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(PHOTO: IMO)

The IMO Category C Member States slot constitutes the highest number of countries  – a total of 20 – making up the IMO Council’s 40 members, and each of the countries in the category has to be voted in by other Member States in order to obtain and or retain its seat in the council.

The rest of the IMO Council members is made of up 10 Category A Member States denoted as being those with “the largest interest in providing international shipping services.” The final group of 10 is made up of Category B Member States that are classified as those  countries with “the largest interest in international seaborne trade.”

At this week’s IMO Assembly gathering in London, IMO Member States voted into Category A were China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.

Voted into Category B of Member States were Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates.

In Category C, for which South Africa bid successfully for retention of its seat, the country was joined by the Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.

Ms Chikunga
South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga addressing an International Maritime Organization (IMO) gathering in London on Monday. South Africa was bidding for retention of its seat in the IMO Council.

In her address of the IMO Assembly earlier in the week, Ms Chikunga whose South Africa delegation at the gathering included senior South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) senior managers, among them; chief operations officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; urged IMO Member States to vote South Africa back into the IMO Council in order to ensure that the country continued with its contribution to work of the organization.

Ms Chikunga noted that South Africa was the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council and in South Africa’s viewpoint, it was only correct that IMO Member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceanic states should support the country’s retention as a member of the IMO Council.

“The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general and the African continent in particular gets a fair voice in the international maritime affairs,” said Ms Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga further highlighted several other factors in which South Africa remains a central player towards the IMO and the world’s pursuit of particularly sustainable development of oceans economies.

In London on Friday, the IMO said elected Member States including South Africa will constitute the IMO Council for the 2018-2019 biennium.

“The newly elected Council will meet, following the conclusion of the 30th Assembly, for its 119th session (on 7 December) and will elect its Chair and Vice-Chair for the next biennium,” said the IMO.

Meanwhile, the organization confirmed that its 30th Assembly meeting in London which began from 27 November will continue through to to 6 December 2017 with all members  entitled to attend.

According to the IMO, “the Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the Organization’s 40-Member Council.”

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Ms SINDISWA CAROL NHLUMAYO LAID TO REST

South Africans join the world in paying warm tributes to Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo, executive head of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence.

Mourners attending Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo's memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, February 18, 2016
Mourners attending Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo’s memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pretoria: 21 February, 2016

Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo was laid to rest during a funeral service held at her rural village home at Emvutshini, Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

Ms Nhlumayo, 45, an Executive Head of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence since formation in 2011, died on Thursday, February 11, 2016; after a courageous battle with cancer.

Since her passing away a week ago, tributes have poured in from South Africa and abroad, with several institutions, friend and acquaintances, family and colleagues expressing anguish at her death, virtually all describing her passing on as a sad loss for the country, particularly in the tourism, human resources development and maritime economic sectors.

Mourners at Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her aunt Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo who both died of cancer on the same a week ago and were laid to rest at their Emvutshini home in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday, 20 February 2016
Mourners at Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her aunt Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo funeral service  on Saturday. The two women both died of cancer on the same day a week ago and were laid to rest at their Emvutshini home in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday, 20 February 2016

Incidentaly, Ms Nhlumayo, a PhD student candidate with the Sweden-based World Maritime University; passed away on the same day as her aunt, Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo; who also tragically suffered from cancer – for what proved a double tragedy for their family on the rolling hills of Emvutshini overlooking vast fields of sugarcane and banana forests a few kilometres south of Port Shepstone.

National Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, paying tribute to Ms Nhlumayo during her funeral service in Port Shepstone on Saturday, 20 February 2016.
National Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, paying tribute to Ms Nhlumayo during her funeral service in Port Shepstone on Saturday, 20 February 2016.

At their joint funeral on Saturday, among several dignitaries and high ranking officials attending were national Transport Department deputy Mininster, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, the National Heritage Council chief executive officer, Sonwabile Mangcotywa, Tourism Business Council chief executive officer Ms Matsatsi Ramawela, representatives of national government departments inclusive of the Department of Tourism, the Department of Higher Education, and the Department of Environmental Affairs, the local mayor as well as representatives of the local traditional leadership.

They joined the institutional leadership of SAMSA led by chief executive officer by Commander Tsietsi Mokhele and chief operating officer, Sobantu Tilayi as well as hundreds of mourners from across the country.

Ms Nhlumayo’s funeral service on Saturday was preceded by a memorial service held in Pretoria on Thursday and during which many people, from across the world, including the World Maritime University,  paid tribute to her memory.

For both these services, audio-visuals have been captured and are being shared along with photographs on the special page on this blog dedicated to Ms Nhlumayo’s memory, beginning with the shortened version below, providing highlights of the funeral in Port Shepstone on Saturday.

To view click here

 

Transport Department deputy Minister to man the roads this festive season

Pretoria: 09 December 2015

National Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga
National Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

Department of Transport deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga will not be taking a rest leave this festive season but will be spending some time on the country’s roads, assisting traffic safety authorities ensure that the country’s citizens and their touring guests remain safe well into the New Year.

But there is a catch. She’s adamant that people had better behave while driving or otherwise, she will ensure that anyone who exceeds 160km, or is caught driving while drunk on any stretch piece of South Africa’s roads, will simply be locked up until after everyone is back from holiday!

Speaking during a radio interview in Saldanha Bay on the West Coast earlier this week, Ms Chikunga said she would not be forsaking a time for a break only to smile at law breakers on the roads!

In fact, she could not be bothered if those caught for ignoring road regulations were CEOs of government entities. She would have them locked up, without a second thought, she said.

Don’t take my word for it, listen to her…Here

Legal wrangles likely to further delay port of Saldanha infrastructure development

Pretoria: Wednesday, 09 December 2015

Saldanha Oil & Gas 1

Planned development of the port of Saldanha on the West Coast could be further delayed by an ongoing legal wrangle between the Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Ports Regulator and private sector investors, Sunrise Energy and Avedia Energy, it emerged this week.

Ports Regulator & CEO, Mr Mahesh Fakir with Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga at the port of Saldanha on Monday
Ports Regulator & CEO, Mr Mahesh Fakir with Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga at the port of Saldanha on Monday

The possibility of further delays to the oil and gas port infrastructure development were highlighted by the Ports Regulator and CEO, Mr Mahesh Fakir earlier this week while attending a Presidential Imbizo week at the port of Saldanha to receive and evaluate NPA progress reports.
The Monday gathering involved stakeholders in the oil and gas industry of the maritime sector, government and involved parastatals’ officials including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The dispute apparently involves a contest over certain concessions made by the NPA to one of the private sector businesses, believed to be Sunrise Energy to build and operate a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) import facility in the port of Saldanha and against which Avedia Energy is reportedly most unhappy with.

The matter recently received a ruling of the High Court and about which Mr Fakir said the Ports Regulator might appeal against.

To read more on some particular details of the dispute click here or here

Below is Mr Fakir’s remarks on this and related issues:

 

SA Maritime Safety Authority applauded for historical ship registry in 2015

But the organisation will have to do more, fast; as “50 more” are needed: Deputy Minister

Saldanha Bay: December 07, 2015

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has received praise from Government for its speedy facilitation of the registration of cargo trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag in the past year.

The accolade came from national Transport Ministry’s deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga during a Presidential Imbizo week event held at the port of Saldanha on Monday.

Speaking during the open imbizo of the maritime economic sector (oil and gas subsector) chaired by the Transport Ministry and attended by the media, to receive reports on progress achieved so far with new infrastructure development being undertaken at the port of Saldanha, Ms Chikunga hailed SAMSA’s pace in achieving the registration of at least three cargo vessels in 2015 under the South African flag.

Ship registry is among priorities identified under Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) launched a year ago.

The first of the three private sector trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag was registered in September 2015, followed soon thereafter by two others.

Chairing the Presidential Imbizo meeting on Monday at Saldanha Bay on behalf of the Depatment of Transport was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sonwabo Tilayi
Chairing the Presidential Imbizo meeting on Monday at Saldanha Bay on behalf of the Depatment of Transport was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Ms Chikunga noted how she had put ‘tremendous pressure’ on SAMSA to “deliver” on the goal but went further to describe the feat as exemplary of the high pace denoted by Operation Phakisa (meaning “speed things up”) in implementing timely, programs and processes jointly identified by Government and the private sector as required for the country’s economic rejuvenation and growth, but especially the maritime economic sector.

“We made promises to the people of South Africa. We have to deliver on those.” She said, adding that while the ministry was happy with the development, the country needed more vessels registered.

“We now want to see 50 more registered and we want to know from the institution (SAMSA) how soon can we have that 50 in our books,’ said Ms Chikunga during a media conference.

However, the applause for SAMSA contrasted the mood of both the deputy Minister as well as private sector representatives that greeted a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved so far with development of the port of Saldanha.

The gathering was the first of several this week during which Government and private sector principals across sectors are meeting to thrash out challenges facing the economy and to come out with clear plans on how best to overcome these.

IMG_1172 (2)Ms Chikunga said the imbizo at Saldanha Bay on Monday had been convened to receive and evaluate reports by both her office as well as concerned maritime sector investors on TNPA’s progress with projects earmarked for the port of Saldanha in terms of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) plans for the Marine Transport and Manufacturing lab – one of five targeted for prioritization in the revitalization of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Precisely, in terms of the MTM lab recommendations, the port of Saldanha was approved by Government for the establishment of a purpose built oil and gas port infrastructure, with TNPA charged with facilitating rapidly not only the development, and unlocking investment in new and existing port facilities around the country, but also with creating and implementing a public procurement and localization programme, as well as developing a strategic marketing campaign and value proposition for target markets.

A composite map of the port of Saldanha reflecting the areas of the planned oil and gas infrastructure to be developed in the next few years
A composite map of the port of Saldanha reflecting the areas of the planned oil and gas infrastructure to be developed in the next few years

According to a presentation by port of Saldanha manager, Mr Willem Roux, the oil and gas infrastructure intended for development at the West Coast port, at an estimated investment of approximately R10-billion, include a proposed Mossgas quay extension, a general maintenance quay, a new oil and gas repair berth as well as an extension of the current iron ore berth.

This would be in addition to a long planned development of an Industrial Development Zone alongside the port.

It emerged at the imbizo on Monday the expectation was that with timely execution of the MTM lab related plan for the oil and gas port infrastructure by the TNPA, at least 3 000 direct and indirect jobs would be created each year since 2014 – a figure said should have doubled to 6 000 new direct and indirect jobs to date.

A round table robust discussion between maritime sector (oil and gas subsector) representatives, South Africa Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, business and civic society representatives duing the Presidential Imbizo Week event of Monday, looking at progress achieved in establishing port infrastructure for the oil and gas industry by Transnet's National Port Authority at the port of Saladanha on Monday
A round table robust discussion between maritime sector (oil and gas subsector) representatives, South Africa Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, business and civic society representatives during the Presidential Imbizo Week event of Monday, looking at progress achieved in establishing port infrastructure for the oil and gas industry by Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA)at the port of Saldanha.

However, tempers flared at times during the imbizo after it emerged that according to TNPA current plans as presented by Mr Roux, the key facilities of the development at the port of Saldanha earmarked for the oil and gas subsector would most likely be ready for utilization by about 2019 instead of the scheduled 2017.

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

This according to Transnet, was due in part to the need for the relocation of manganese ore from both the port of Saldanha as well as the port of Port Elizabeth to the Ngurha deep water port also in Port Elizabeth. This would take three years through to 2019 to complete, the parastatal reported.

The report did not go down well with neither Ms Chikunga nor the investment, business and local community representatives virtually all of whom saw the performance as ‘slow’.

Speakers all bemoaned what they described as a reflection of South Africa’s apparent inability to stick to undertakings, and instead seemed at ease with moving further time frames for delivery of identified infrastructure development programmes.

Business representatives said this practice did not only paint a bad image of the country in the investment community but was also proving costly to those investors already committed.

Saldanha Oil & Gas 1In addition, local business and civic society representatives were far from pleased that the number of jobs planned for the port of Saldanha infrastructure development were far from being realized – but especially that there were not even figures presented at the meeting to illustrate if any jobs at all had been created, in order to alleviate high unemployment in the community of just over 100 000 inhabitants.

It helped little that TNPA officials cited also ongoing discussions within the institution intended partly at ensuring that businesses currently utilizing the port ,such as mining; were not impacted negatively by the new projects.

An apparently frustrated Ms Chikunga responded: ‘If decisions take 14 months to make…by people sitting together every day, who therefore can organize one another and discuss, what do I say? What report do I take to the President…and you are expecting investor confidence?

“It cannot be that you are taking 14 months to sit and discuss. The second issue for me is that we do not respond quickly as South Africans, why is that? If are you are saying we as the Department of Transport are appointing people who do not know what they are doing, then tell us, so that we can look into the issue!

Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chiikunga (standing) making remarks during the meeting
Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chiikunga (standing) making remarks during the meeting

“We are a country like other countries. We must be able to respond quickly enough as other developing countries are doing. I am talking about Kenya. I am talking about developing African countries. A delay in an Operation Phakisa project has so much impact on other projects..and surely it should be frustrating investors even more because there is money involved,” said Ms Chikunga

Transnet's National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA's commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos
Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA’s commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos

TNPA Chief Executive Officer Richard Vallihu, however assured both Ms Chikunga and the business and local community representatives that deadlines on the projects would be met, and that a substantial number of jobs were assured to be created in this and various other current projects underway, inclusive of the deepening of parts of the Durban port.

With regards community benefits but especially in terms of jobs and related matters, Mr Vallihu said his institution was doing far more, as it had embarked also on investment in schools along its ports intended to offer skills development programmes for labour, specifically youth and women that would be absorbed in the maritime sector.

The imbizo wrapped up with a visit of the earmarked port area in Saldanha designed for oil and gas infrastructure development.

Clip One: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga outlines the purpose of the Presidential Imbizo (Transport sector/maritime sector)

Clip Two: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga responding to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved to date on the development of port infrastructure for the Oil and Gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

Clip Three: Transnet National Ports Authority CEO responding to concerns raised by both Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and business, investment and local community representatives at the imbizo.

For Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s media conference video remarks, click here

SOUTH AFRICA TO HOST IMO ASSEMBLY IN 2020

World’s maritime sector turns its eye on South Africa

Saldanha Bay: Tuesday, 08 December 2015

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South Africa’s stature as a significant international maritime economy player is due to gain considerable extensive global focus in the next five years following to confirmation of its agency as the next host of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in 2020.

The IMO’s Assembly is the highest governing body of the organization consisting of all member States. It meets once every two years and is responsible for approving the institution’s work programme, voting the budget and determining financial arrangements.. The assembly also elects the IMO council.

South Africa falls under ‘category C’ of the IMO Council as one of “20 States which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.”

Countries in the category include Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.

National Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga
National Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

The inaugural hosting of the IMO assembly in South Africa, involving possibly as many as 230 countries, was announced by national Department of Transport deputy Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga in Saldanha Bay on Monday.

She was hosting the first of a weeklong Ministerial 2015  ‘imbizos’ intended to facilitate direct interaction and robust engagement between senior Government officials, including Cabinet Ministers, with industry principals across the country’s economic sectors on current and planned projects.

Ms Chikunga is directly charged with supervision of among others, the maritime transport and manufacturing aspects of the nation’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) launched 14 months ago.

She said the IMO last Friday not only retained South Africa ‘member state’ status ahead of several African countries but also charged  the country with responsibility for hosting the rest of the global maritime countries’ assembly in 2020.

“We have recently returned – last Friday to be precise – from the International Maritime Organizaton Assembly (2015) where it was resolved and announced that South Africa will host the 2020 IMO International World Maritime Parallel event.

A mammoth task

“The announcement places a mammoth task to the maritime industry of this country to speed up the implementation of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) to enable us to showcase the same to the countries of the world, come 2020.

“We urgently need to establish a 2020 World Maritime Parallel Event Planning Task Team comprising of both public and private sector, which will ensure that South Africa and Africa’s opportunity is exhaustively utilized.”

Ms Chikunga said South Africa’s retention of its IMO Council membership status was “a victory (is) not only for South Africa but for our African continent.”

“The representation of Africa into these very influential organizations can never be overly emphasized. There is a massive potential for growth backed up by global statistics on Africa as the current epicenter in foreign direct investment given its young active population,” said Ms Chikunga.

IMG_0736She urged stakeholders in the maritime sector to begin preparing for the next IMO gathering due in two years’ time in preparation for the Assembly scheduled for South Africa.

Referring to the country’s new Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign she said it was geared towards ensuring focused investment in maritime economy infrastructure development as a catalyst and incentive for further and expanded private sector involvement. She urged for greater cooperation.

“For us to become global players we noted the importance of investing in maritime transport infrastructure to attract shipping and shipping services to our shores. To achieve the people’s social contract we need to pull together as stakeholders to move South Africa forward.”

Monday’s maritime sector specific Ministerial Imbizo at Saldanha Bay was based on the coastal town’s port having been earmarked as among three of the country’s major ports intended to contribute to the country maritime economic sector development through new infrastructure development.

Attending the event were a host of key public and private sector players in the maritime sector, including Transnet’s National Ports Authority chief executive officer, Richard Vallihu, Ports Regulator CEO, Mahesh Vakir, and others; mainly from the gas and oil subsector, and ship manufacturing and repair subsector.

Ms Chikunga said: “Saldanha is one of our very strategic ports identified for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) as an Oil and Gas repair hub for South Africa…and the success of the Saldanha Bay port project will translate into the creation of an estimated 15 000 direct and indirect jobs.

IMG_1266“In order to reach the target, come 2019, a minimum employment of 3 000 jobs per annum is required. This means we should at present be sitting on approximately 6 000 jobs created.

“Tantamount to this will also be a massive contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) that is estimated at R18-billion once it is fully functional.

“We are cognizant of the fact that delays will cost the nation tremendously, (and) it is thus important that both business, parastatals and government have to find speed on infrastructure delivery as it determines the speed of employment and economic progression.”

Clip: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga announcing the appointment of South Africa as a host of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in 2020.