A group of local fishermen were lucky to escape with their lives this week after being accidentally fired upon by a warship involved in military exercises offshore of Cape Agulhas. According to the press, the incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning during a joint naval exercise between the SA Navy and the German Navy. It is believed that the fishing vessel was mistaken for one of the small radio-controlled vessels being used as a targets during the exercise.
Luckily no one was injured and both the SA and the German Navy have stated that they are aware of the incident and will be releasing a joint statement once the incident had been thoroughly investigated.
Also covered in the press this week was the visit by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to to the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. The minister was informed that workers would require a dramatic skills upgrade if they hoped to benefit from employment opportunities on the oil rigs at Saldanha Bay.
Peter Jordaan, Saldanha Bay councillor said, “There is a misalignment of the skills required and supply of skills. Besides the normal qualification for welding, people working on oil rigs also need the American Bureau of Standards qualification and, because of this, many local guys would not qualify to work on an oil rig.”
The department is in the process of establishing a plan to assist with the required skills training.
Forensic report findings reported in the press this week have described the policy regarding small scale fisheries as ambiguous and contradicting the National Development Plan.
These findings were revealed by a forensic report carried out by Emang Basadi Legal and Forensic Services and commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to review the work of the fisheries branch.
The report stated: “Allegations of departmental interference are common and in some cases likely to be true. Currently it is perceived that only some individuals are benefitting.”
More damning evidence against a process that has been fraught with problems from day one.
Meanwhile, also featured in the press this week are the discussions taking place between the ministers of fisheries, environment and transport to establish a single and co-ordinated structure to manage the fisheries research and patrol vessels.
DAFF minister, Senzeni Zokwana said, “In some instances we have been found wanting in the processes. We will look at a possible well co-ordinated process by which all three departments can have one structure that manages them.”
The press has also assisted in promoting the South African Navy Festival taking place in Simon’s Town this weekend. With 12 national and international navy vessels to be seen, as well as dog shows and live music, there is guarantee to be something for everyone.
“The reason we hold this festival is to present our work and ships to the public,” said Lieutenant Leverne Benjamin.
Covered in the press this week was the official opening of the Transformation Display at the SA Naval Museum in Simon’s Town. The display is designed to showcase the previously unrecognised contributions made by soldiers of colour through history.
Vice-Admiral Johannes Mudimu set the wheels of change in motion in 2005 when he became Chief of the Navy. Mudimu was the first black chief appointed and, at the time of his appointment, felt that the museum was not offering a balanced perspective of race and gender within the navy.
Lieutenant-Commander Leon Steyn, museum curator said, “The museum had a mainly white-dominated historic display, and although this represented a good history, it did not represent all the races who were part of the navy’s history.
“Back then, whites and coloureds were integrated when they were at sea, sharing each other’s bunks. It was sad because once they reached shore, they would have to go back to living apart because of apartheid’s rules and regulations.”
With the opening of this display the role of many people and events who contributed to the transformation of the SA Navy will receive the recognition that they deserve.
Steyn hopes that the new display will also open healthy discussions and debate regarding South Africa’s rich and varied naval history.
Perlemoen arrests have made headlines again this week with another five people being arrested after a raid on a house in Kuilsriver. Three Chinese nationals and two Zimbabweans were arrested at the scene where wet and dry perlemoen to the value of R3.2 million was discovered. The five appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Managing director of Maersk Line South Africa, Jonathan Horn’s comments with regard to South Africa no longer being the only gateway into Africa have also made headlines this week.
At the group’s global results report in Durban, Horn pointed out that ports in both east and west Africa were catching up with South African ports.
“If you look at the emerging markets of West and East Africa, they are slightly smaller, but their growth rates there are increasing significantly and on a much higher level. South Africa is certainly not the only gateway to Africa anymore,” said Horn.
Also making the news is the strike by Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) members at two crayfish packaging companies in Hout Bay and Saldanha. The strike is due to a dispute over the manner in which worker-related negotiations should be conducted.
The factories are Inkosi Keta Marine in Hout Bay and the Live Fish Tanks on the West Coast. Fawu national fishing sector organiser, Zolani Mbanjwa said, “We, as Fawu, are pushing for collective negotiations with the two companies. The dispute started when we tried to consolidate the recognition agreement for both companies under one agreement. But the companies refused to enter into the agreement.”
Keta marine’s labourer relations manager, Frederi Steyn-Visser said the issue had been referred to the CCMA for a resolution.