Weekly Press Review – 29 May 2017

A gas explosion led police to a house in Mowbray this week resulting in the seizure of R2.8 million worth of illegal abalone.

According to the press, police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said that the seizure in Montclaire Road in Mowbray had dealt a blow to illegal trade in marine resources.

Neighbours alerted the police to the explosion.

“Police conducted an investigation on the scene and found plastic containers and buckets containing abalone. Protecting our marine resources remains the core of the mandate of the SAPS,” said Rwexana.

The three men arrested at the scene will appear in the Magistrate’s court once they are officially charged.

The blue economy has made headlines once again this week. According to Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller, head of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa’s blue (ocean) economy is an area of focus for economic growth and development.

Bohler-Muller, who recently attended the 3rd workshop of the Blue Economy Core Group in Mauritius, said that people were starting to talk about the blue economy and that the government was developing a strategy around it, stemming from Operation Phakisa.

Under Operation Phakisa, Oceans Economy, the government aims to grow the ocean economy’s contribution to South Africa’s gross domestic profit to between R129 billion and R177 billion by 2033.

Container shipping company, Maersk, says that the container sector is seeing an uptick in intra-Africa trade due to the fall of most long-standing internal trade barriers.

According to the press, David Williams, chief executive of Maersk Line Africa, said that the most recent progression in this regard was the increasing implementation of the one stop border post concept across the continent.

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Weekly Press Review – 22 May 2017

The big headline this week is the search and seizure warrant issued by the HAWKS at the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in Cape Town.

In response DAFF suspended a member of its fishing rights allocation process (FRAP) following a complaint that could amount to corruption.

The Hawks confiscated the laptop and cell phone of the unnamed member of FRAP. When asked whether DAFF felt compelled to reveal the identify of the person, Thembalethu Vico, DAFF’s acting chief director for monitoring control and surveillance, said that DAFF would be dealing with the issue internally.

Police have arrested a 42 year-old man in Crawford, Athlone in connection with perlemoen poaching. According to the press perlemoen, with an estimated value of R78 million, was discovered packed into fridges at a mortuary in Philippe East.

The man will appear in the Athlone Magistrates’ court this week.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of one of the worst South African maritime losses ever recorded. According to the press, on November 28, 1942, the Nova Scotia was torpedoed and sank in shark infested waters 48km east of St Lucia in Zululand.

The tragedy resulted in the death of 858 lives, many of them South African soldiers.

Weekly Press Review – 15 May 2017

The Western Cape ANC has called for an immediate suspension of the provisional rights allocation of West Coast rock lobster, calling for an urgent engagement with Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) minister Senzeni Zokwana.

According to the press the party says that they have been flooded with desperate calls from communities along the West Coast, Cape Town, Overberg and the Southern Cape.

ANC provincial executive member Linda Moss says, “The fundamental flaw in this process is that DAFF has not declared what the total allowable catch (TAC) for this sector is …. Normally there is a consultation process regarding the TAC split every year.”

A senior Sasol executive has voiced concern saying that the government should immediately resolve the uncertainty around the introduction of clean fuel specifications in order to ensure the sustainability of an industry that is a significant contributor to job creation and economic growth.

According to the press Sasol executive vice president of energy business, Maurice Radebe says that the industry contributes 8.5 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)

“Let us do our best to protect (the petrol and liquid fuels) industry for the sake of the economy,” says Radebe.

Weekly Press Review – 8 May 2017

PetroSA remains under fire this week. According to the press, Energy Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, has lashed out at the executives of PetroSA for paying themselves millions of rand in bonuses after suffering a financial loss of R14.5 billion.

Kubayi stated in Parliament that she would not privatise PetroSA, despite its poor showing, but would strengthen its capacity.

The recent downgrades of South Africa’s sovereign rating will not have a major impact on Transnet. According to the press this is due to the fact that only about 19 percent of the state-owned company’s expenses were foreign, said chief executive Siyabonga Gama.

Premier Food and Fishing (PFF) delivered solid growth in earnings for the six months ending in February 2017.

According to the press, the group’s operating profit increased by 12 percent to R18 million, from R16 million.

PFF chief executive, Samir Saban said, “Premier Fishing achieved solid performance and positive growth for the six months to end February as per our expectations.”

Africa is the continent most affected by climate change, and yet, according to the press, funds that are available for green projects, which could accelerate the economy, are simply not being used.

“Capital is available worldwide, but few renewable energy projects are ready for implementation,” says African Development Bank vice-president, power, energy, climate and green growth, Amadou Hott.

“Capital and technological innovations are extremely important and that is what we don’t have enough of in Africa,” added Hott.

Could SAMSA get a permanent CEO by the end of this month?

Acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, Sobantu Tilayi, recently jested that he could have pronounced himself as the permanent position holder when he stepped into the Minister of Transport’s shoes to deliver a speech at the eThekwini Maritime Summit during April.

But it’s no real laughing matter that the Authority has been without a permanent CEO for almost a year and I have been eagerly scouring each Cabinet meeting report as it is released to ascertain whether an appointment has been approved. Because, as Tilayi pointed out during one of his many conference appearances last month – his present contract expires at the end of the May so an announcement is surely imminent.

In a question posed by Choloane David Matsepe to the Minister of Transport in the National Assembly last week, the Minister was asked whether any CEO, CFO or COO positions were vacant in any of the Department’s entities – and what steps had been taken to fill these positions.

The response noted what the industry already knows – that interviews have been conducted for the position of SAMSA’s CEO and that one person is currently acting in this capacity. The Department’s response further notes that a recommendation is to be routed to the Minister for approval.

Perhaps this month’s Cabinet meeting briefing will include the name of a permanently appointed CEO for SAMSA.

Weekly Press Review – 2 May 2017

Making headlines this week is the allegation that President Zuma allegedly tried to silence a confidant who had information regarding how the president benefited from the arms deal, by asking him not to testify at the Seriti commission.

Pretoria lawyer, Ajay Sooklal, filed an affidavit in support of a high court application by Corruption Watch and the Right2Know campaign, which are challenging the findings of the Seriti commission of inquiry into the arms deal. The commission found no evidence of corruption.

The Kwazulu-Natal education department this week unveiled a ferry that will assist school children to cross the lakes that make up Kosi Bay in order to get to school.

According to the press, members of the island community have been struggling for years to cross the crocodile and hippo invested waters.

The vessel will allow easier access to and from the island and  another seven ferries, at a cost of R500,000 each, have been commissioned by the department.

It seems that positive solutions to the issues facing the fishing industry are just not on the cards and this sentiment seems to be felt by many involved in the industry.

This was the sentiment shared at the recently held Suidoosterfees, which took place in Cape Town last week.

According to the press, a panel discussion was held at the event, the first in the Jakes Gerwel discussion series. RSG presenter, Lynette Francis, led the discussion. The panel consisted of: Chris Nissen, from the Human Rights Commission, Prof. Moenieba Isaacs, University of the Western Cape, Pieter van Dalen, DA spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Western Cape and Pedro Garcia, chairman of the South African United Fishing Front.

Garcia feels that there are no solutions to the problems faced by the fishing industry.

According to van Dalen, the situation would be greatly helped if large fishing companies were encouraged to start fish farming, as this would help to ease the pressure on natural fish resources.

There is no political will to change things in the South African fishing industry was the general consensus of those involved in this panel discussion.

The discussion was supposed to be broadcast live on RSG, but technical issues prevented this from happening.

The first scientific expedition to investigate underwater mountains and the Walters Bank, south of Madagascar, got underway this week.

According to the press, the French vessel, the Marion Dufresne, departed on a 19 day voyage to investigate the unique life forms found in this area.

This week the Two Oceans Aquarium hosted six of the Miss Earth SA leadership programme semi-finalists as part of its World Penguin Day programme.

According to the press, several events were held across the globe to draw attention to the plight of these endangered animals.