Sobantu Tilayi acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said government through its rapid expansion Operation Phakisa program had identified marine transport and manufacturing activities, such as coastal shipping, trans-shipment, boat building, repair and refurbishment; offshore oil and gas exploration; aquaculture and marine protection services and ocean governance as key drivers to boost the economy.
SAMSA accordint to its CEO, seeks stakeholders working together for the country’s national economic cause rather than competing .Tilayi said maritime industry players needed to come to the table and fulfill their responsibility of contributing towards job creation.
According to an electronic mail press release ,the country hopes to transform South Africa’s ocean economy to create up to 650 000 jobs which are available in this growing sector.
.Tiyali who was addressing the country’s stakeholders in Durban recently said “Our government will explore the country’s natural advantage in maritime transport and manufacturing by capturing the benefits of growing volumes of cargo handling, sea and coastal shipping and supporting transport activities such as storage and warehousing.”
South Africa can utilise its location and expertise to increase its share of the global marine manufacturing market, including ship-building and repair, rig repair and refurbishment or boat-building, he added.
The statement added that ”Operation Phakisa is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian Government, successfully, in the delivery of its economic transformation programme”
Tilayi added that “We need to transform the industry so that it is inclusive. We must establish a maritime sector in which stakeholders work together instead of competing with each other. We need to exhaust all means possible to grow our maritime economy,” said Tilayi.
He said South African maritime ambitions must reflect a consciousness which recognizes the development of other maritime sectors throughout the continent, availing itself to assist other countries, especially coastal countries in the SADC region.
“We have to engage with industry and motivate them to play their role in job creation. It is very important for us to get as many people as possible to participate in the maritime industry. We need more seafarers,” said Tilayi.
Tilayi said it was established in the early 1990s that there was a general lack of interest in the maritime sector on the part of the country’s citizens and part of his vision as a leader was to see greater awareness about the maritime industry as a viable economic sector in the country.
He said the maritime sector ought to be an attractive industry for the country’s youth and more should be done to “open up” the industry.
SAMSA, at present is busy establishing a full database of maritime sector professionals as well that of unemployed maritime sector graduates to improve the flow of skills and labour within the country’s maritime sector.
“We need to open up the industry to more people. We are currently having discussions with tertiary institutions such as the Durban University of Technology and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to devise strategies of making provision for graduates to easily enter the sector.”
Tilayi is expected to expand on radical transformation plans for South Africa’s maritime industry at the ‘Second Annual Maritime Summit’ where he will deliver a presentation titled “Utilizing the strategic levers to promote radical transformation in the Maritime Sector”.
Sizwe Nkukwana, SAMSA Manager for Operation Phakisa, reiterated Tilayi’s pronouncements and further announced Parliament’s approval of the Maritime Transport Policy, currently before Parliament.
“The approval of the policy is a progressive step. The maritime industry has been pushing for the adoption of this policy since 2008. The policy is supposed to give direction with regard to the growth, development, transformation and effective governance of the maritime transportation sector in a way that benefits the entire country,” said Nkukwana.