Weekly Press Review – 16 October 2017

This week Armscor confirmed plans to buy a new torpedo system for its Heroine-class submarines to replace the existing ageing stockpile.

According to the press, it is unclear how many new-generation torpedoes will be purchased (at an estimated cost of R60 million each), but news of the acquisition coincides with a military budget crisis, with the navy unable to afford vital offshore patrol vessels. The government has also delayed a massive shipbuilding programme, Projects Hotel and Biro, which would create thousands of jobs.

“The value to the country of a torpedo weapons system is minuscule compared with building a ship,” said one arms industry insider.

Earlier this year naval chiefs confirmed severe operational challenges stemming from a R5 billion cut in military spending across the army, air force and navy.

Despite the fact that two major perlemoen poaching syndicates have recently appeared in local magistrate courts, the business of perlemoen poaching remains rife in the Western Cape.

According to the press the police arrested three individuals in possession with approximately R30,000 of perlemoen this week.  The men will appear in court shortly.

South Africa and Mozambique are developing more gas pipelines in order to meet the increasing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in both countries.

According to the press, Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Augusto de Sousa Fernando told delegates at the International Gas Co-operation Summit in Durban that demand had increased over the last 13 years. He added that South Africa had an opportunity to benefit from the development of LNG in the future by joining other countries in the region.

As part of National Marine Week WWF-Sassi has reiterated its message that whether we will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal of fish and chips in the future depends largely on the choices that we, as consumers, make today.

Sassi has compiled a list of the status of various fish. Each year this list is reviewed and species are added, removed or have their status changed, according to various species assessments.

Two Ocean Aquarium communications and sustainability manager, Helen Lockhart said, “Teaming up with SASSI this Marine Month provides a great opportunity to take the sustainable seafood message beyond the Aquarium and to focus on informing and empowering consumers during this month.”

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Weekly Press Review – 9 October 2017

The Robben Island Museum (RIM) has made headlines again this week rejecting reports that its ferry service is operationally inadequate saying “it is business as usual”.

RIM briefed the provincial standing committee on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture regarding the incident relating to the tourist ferry, Thandi, which capsized last month.

Committee chairperson Beverley Schafer said the ferry service was “operationally inadequate” to transport passengers.

RIM chief executive Mava Dada said, “We are supporting the SA Maritime Authority with their investigation. Our own internal investigation is also underway to identify any possible blind spots.

“Tourists and guests to RIM are assured that it is business as usual.”

This weekend saw the 29th annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet festival at the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press the festival is a cultural appreciation and fundraising event packed with all thing Portuguese.

Event co-ordinator, Alberto Goncalves, said, “The event is held to bless the boats and fishermen who go out to sea each year and has become somewhat of a social event. It is also held as a fundraising event for Portuguese welfare.”

The SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) successfully completed their farthest disentanglement operation this weekend.

According to the press SAWDN managed to free a 14 metre humpback whale entangled in rope over 40 nautical miles offshore of the Southern Cape coast.

Along with the National Sea Rescue Institute Plettenberg Bay (NSRI), the SAWDN arrived at the scene and found a juvenile whale anchored to the seabed with fishing rope around its tail.   The animal was freed and all lines were recovered.

SAWDN spokesperson Craid Lambinon said, “The cutting operation took 20 minutes. We are confident that the operation has been successful and the whale appears to be healthy.

“This is the farthest out to sea that a SAWDN operation has been conducted.”

Weekly Press Review

Police are investigating the robbery of a Gansbaai perlemoen packing and export enterprise. It is believed that the robbery was an inside job.

According to the press nine men arrived at the premises just after 11pm on Sunday night, showing a police identity card in order to gain access to the property.  They then loaded a minibus with an unknown quantity of perlemoen and left the premises, taking three security guards with them.  The guards were found unharmed in the Mitchell’s Plain area on Monday.

The company remains closed while the incident is under investigation.

A letter in the Cape Times this week written by Professor Kevern Cochrane, professor of ichthyology and fisheries science at Rhodes University, addressed the recent and ongoing protests by small-scale and nearshore fishers regarding concerns about possible reductions in the allocations of West Coast rock lobster in the 2017/2018 season.

According to Cochrane the protests centre on two main issues:  the total allowable catch of rock lobster for the coming season and how that will be allocated between the small-scale, nearshore, commercial and offshore commercial sub-sectors.

Cochrane expressed his concern regarding the response to these issues by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

“Rock lobster is a vital resource for thousands of fishers on the West Coast and it would be a disaster for them, as well as for the ecosystem, if the department allowed this already threatened species to decline further.

“History will judge whether the department was able to provide the leadership and guidance to reverse the current decline,” says Cochrane, offering four key steps that he feels the department should take in order to fulfil its social, economic and ecological mandate for  this species and the dependent fisheries.

These are:

  • Senior management must respect and adhere to the scientific advice on the TACs,
  • vague promises that controls will be increased in the future are insufficient,
  • the department should urgently convene a working group, and
  • options consistent with the goals of South Africa’s fisheries policy ned to be identifies, while minimising harm to those who bear the brunt of the necessary reductions in some quotas.

Weekly Press Review – 26 September 2017

Making headlines this week is the news that prominent local business woman, Chichi Maponya, has been accused of hijacking a ship-refuelling deal that was meant to benefit students and poor fishing communities.

It has been confirmed that Maponya, along with her co-directors at Plan BEE Fuel Distributors, are the South African partners in a joint venture with bunkering company, Aegean, to refuel ships off Port Elizabeth.

The deal replaces the Coega Development Corporation as the planned South African partner, who had planned to include several community beneficiaries in the deal – a deal that was authorised by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). Concerns have now been raised that former SAMSA CEO, Tsietsi Mokhele helped pave the way for Maponya and her Plan BEE partners to clinch the deal.

Mokhele, who resigned from SAMSA, is currently a director of Plan BEE.

Coega communications chief, Ayanda Vilakazi said, “We are advised that it was a classic case of opportunistic hijacking of a much-fought-for business opportunity for the Eastern Cape by Gauteng-based black business.

“They were favoured with inside information to usurp the transaction ….having successfully hollowed out the developmental and social impact intent.

“The partnership would have been ground-breaking in its own right and a paradigm shift in terms of the involvement of the South African government and the people of the Eastern Cape in the maritime industry.”

Maponya has denied any wrongdoing and has described the deal as a massive opportunity for the economy.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that Moller-Maersk has agreed to sell its tanker unit. Maersk tankers will be sold for $1.17 billion (R15.57 billion) to APMH Invest, a holding company of AP Moller Holdings, a controlling shareholder of Maersk.

Following a group of ten fishing organisations marching to the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) last week, a leading fisheries activist has said that DAFF deputy director-general, Siphkazi Ndudane, wasted an opportunity to provide relief to small scale and near shore fishers.

According to the press the group demanded the immediate suspension of the West Coast Rock lobster fishing rights allocation process. According to SA United Fishing Front chairperson, Pedro Garcia, “We felt that the deputy director had ducked and dived on some issues, but more importantly had an opportunity to make a decision on the West Coast rock lobster.

“If there are to be cuts in the allocations of rights, those should come form the larger commercial fishing companies.”

In response Ndudane said that the department is aware that many fishing communities struggle with policies that have been set in place, but the department is committed to serving the 300 fishing communities on the country’s coastline.

The share price of petrochemicals company, Sasol, tanked 7.32 percent this week. According to the press this is due to the announcement by the company that it will be replacing the debt-ridden black empowerment scheme Inzalo with its empowerment structure Khanyisa in a deal valued at R21 billion.

Weekly Press Review – 18 September 2017

The partial sinking of the chartered Robben Island ferry, Thandi, on Friday afternoon has made headlines this week.  According to the press, the vessel began taking on water while returning from the island and the 68 passengers and crew on board had to be rescued.

Senior manager of ferry operations at the Robben Island Museum (RIM), Sandresan Thandroyan, said, “Robben Island Museum is conducting its own internal investigation. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will also be conducting an investigation. RIM will support them throughout the process.”

The vessel has since been towed to Murrays Bay Harbour and stabilised.

Disgruntled fishers stormed the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) offices on the foreshore this week demanding the immediate suspension of the West Coast Rock Lobster fishing rights allocation process.

According to the press, local fishers want the West Coast Rock Lobster offshore allocations shifted from big companies to near shore and small-scale fishers.

The group, representing 10 fishing organisations, including the Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust, Kleinmond Integrated Fishing Forum and Mitchells Plain Fishing Forum, also demanded an immediate meeting with Minister Senzeni Zokwana and other senior officials to address the challenges faced by fishing communities in the area.

Premier Food and Fishing has changed its name to Premier Fishing and Brands Limited.

Chief executive Samir Saban said, “The name change ushers in a new and exciting era for the company following its successful listing earlier this year.”

As part of the International Coastal Clean-up Day started in 1986, the Two Oceans Aquarium invited Capetonians to be part of the 12 million volunteers worldwide and spend two hours picking up litter on Milnerton beach this Saturday.

According to the press, the event included a puppet show for children after the clean-up and volunteers were asked to download the Clean Swell app allowing them to become citizen scientists by tracking their clean-up achievements and at the same time provide valuable data to the Ocean Conservancy’s research data.

Weekly Press Review – 11 September 2017

The big news this week is the agreement signed between PetroSA and Russian company, Rosgeo, to develop oil and gas blocks in South Africa.

According to the press, the deal, worth $400 million (R5.17 billion), was signed on the sidelines of the ninth Annual Brics Summit in China and offers the embattled national oil company the opportunity to position itself towards future growth.

European media reports indicate that the deal is lopsided to the benefit of Rosgeo. According to Rosgeo ‘s chief executive, Roman Panov, the firm would own 70 percent of the project with PetroSA taking up the remaining 30 percent.

PetroSA would not confirm or deny this.

An internationally operated abalone syndicate, known as “The Enterprise” faced the music in the Western Cape High Court this week on 116 charges collectively.

According to the press, the state presented papers saying The Enterprise employed people to collect, clean, dry, freeze and store abalone, which was then packaged for export to Hong Kong using two front companies and using fraudulent documentation stating that containers were carrying pilchards.

They had been in operation for two years.

Members of the The Enterprise were found guilty of various charges, including contravening the Marine Living Resources Act.

The men are currently out on bail and will remain so until sentencing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Press Review – 4 September 2017

With the Western Cape facing an ongoing water crisis, two major companies are looking at desalination options for the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press, Growthpoint Properties and PIC (the Public Investment Corporation), equal joint owners of the V&A Waterfront, are investigating the feasibility of establishing a desalination plant to mitigate the risk to their investment caused by Cape Town’s water shortage crisis.

“The city would probably be keen for us to do something like that. We haven’t quite worked out all the risks, all the pros and cons and have to go through the process.

“But certainly in terms of supplying our own needs, we are looking at it pretty seriously at the moment,” says Norbert Sasse, chief executive of Growthpoint.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that South Africa will host the 10th summit of the Brics bloc in 2018, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Addressing the Brics Business Forum, President Jacob Zuma said that South Africa welcomed attendees of the forum to visit South Africa, saying that South Africa is a new frontline of growth and prosperity and that the country expected to realise inclusive economic development and further increase its trade with other Brics countries.

The Two Oceans Aquarium was involved in an unusual rescue operation this week. According to the press, aquarium staff rescued an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) from the Robertson Dry Dock next to the aquarium and released it back into the harbour at the V&A Waterfront.

The rescue operation involved several staff members from the Two Oceans Aquarium, and thanks to the help of Summit Crane Hire and H&I Construction, the team was able to airlift the sunfish out of the dry dock and back into the harbour.