Weekly Press Review – 11 December 2017

The rapid development of the ocean economy could grow the South African economy and create jobs. So said President Jacob Zuma at the inaugural Terminal Operator’s Conference held in Durban this week.

According to the press the two day conference brought together experts and investors involved in logistics, liner shipping, ports, terminals, inland transport and equipment manufacturers with the aim of discussing improving trade flows across the African continent.

“In 2015, the ocean contributed about R60 billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product and accounted for about 397,000 jobs. We believe that the future potential of the ocean economy is highly concentrated with the maritime industry.

“To grow intra-Africa trade, we need to see many coastal African countries investing in their ports and connecting infrastructure to link with inland countries,” said President Zuma.

What to do with the drunken sailors is the question being posed by some very unhappy residents in Simon’s Town.

According to the press the City of Cape Town has said that its legal and health departments have been called in to speak to the navy regarding the conduct of hundreds of cadets at Waterfall barracks in the once quiet suburb of Mount Pleasant, Simon’s Town.

To date, attempts by law enforcement officials to shut down huge weekend parties held by cadets at Waterfall have proved useless, with barrack management claiming that they do not fall under the city’s jurisdiction.

Friction between cadets and residents has resulted in screaming matches and even threats of violence.

“It would appear that the navy command are powerless to keep their own cadets under control,” said Simon’s Town ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock.

Navy spokesman, Commander KS Khasuli responded by saying, “The probabilities of members making noise cannot be disputed. To neutralise the noise level at the barracks the Military Police are conducting random rounds to ensure that members do adhere to domestic rules.

“Any act of ill-discipline will not be tolerated and decisive action will be taken against the perpetrator.”

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Weekly Press Review – 4 December 2017

A call by the Committee for Economic Opportunities has been made for further investigation into the sinking of the Tandi, which nearly sank off Robben Island on 15 September with 60 passengers on board.

According to the press, this is after an initial investigation conducted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) released their initial findings stating that the boat had taken on water causing the engine to fail, adding that the weather had had an impact on the incident.

Beverley Schafer, LLP and DA spokesperson, said that questions must be asked as to how a ferry boat like the Thandi can be allowed to operate when the tender requirements of SAMSA had not been completed on the vessel.

The West Coast rock lobster season officially opened on Saturday.

According to the press the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has allocated a total of 69.2 tons of West Coast rock lobster for the season.

Fishermen will be allowed to catch from 08.00 to 16.00 each day, with a limit of four lobster per person.

The season officially closes of 2 April 2018.

“Egypt is an example of what African countries can do for themselves without European influence.”

So says an article in the Cape Times this week commenting on the New Suez Canal constructed in response to increased world trade in 2014.

Taking only a year to build and running parallel to the original one, the project cost $8 billion, an amount raised by the Egyptian people in only eight days with the help of a bank opened especially for these contributions. Citizens of the country contributed to the project from their own pockets.

The New Suez Canal is aimed at increasing the Egyptian national income in foreign currency – an idea which South Africa could certainly take on board.

According to the press this week South Africa is leading the way in tuna fishing. Thus far little attention has been paid to the well-managed tuna fisheries sector amongst the many other activities that DAFF manages.

According to the article, in the world of tuna management, South Africa is fast emerging as a leading light and a role model looked up to by many developing nations.

Weekly Press Review – 27 November 2017

Deputy Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Bheki Cele was cornered by a group of small-scale fishers at a launch to mark World Fisheries Day in Saldanha Bay this week.

According to the press, representatives from various fishing organisations seized the opportunity to demand answers to their many grievances. Lambert’s Bay fisher, Ferdinand Fransman, speaking on behalf of The Collective said, “We had a meeting with you, the Minister Senzeni Zokwana and the Fisheries deputy director-general, Siphokazi Ndudane, in September.

“You gave us many promises that turned out to be lies. What we want to know today minister, specifically with the West Coast rock lobster, is what happens to our poor people after February?”

The department announced on 10 November that the total allowable catch (TAC) for 2017/18 fishing season for rock lobster would remain 1924.08 tons – the same as the previous season.

Another arrest was made this week after a man from Swellendam was caught in possession of perlemoen with an estimated value of R7.1 million.

According to the press, police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk said that the police and K9 unit were completing a routine patrol when they stopped a truck to search it. In a hidden area within the truck the police found 1,403,2 kg of perlemoen.

Mentioned in the press this week is the announcement by Barloworld that the listed distribution group has given notice of its possible exit from logistics if its business failed to improve its return on invested capital.

TNPA anticipates that more than 20 luxury passenger ships from 17 international shipping lines will visit South African harbours during the cruise season. According to the press, Cape Town and Durban will receive the largest number of passenger ships. Shulami Qalinge, head of TNPA, said that the two harbours are positioned as the country’s major ports for attracting passenger ships.

An investigation into the near sinking of the passenger ferry, Thandi, has cited weather conditions as one of the key contributing factors causing the incident that led to the rescue of 60 tourists en route to Robben Island.

The Robben Island Museum (RIM) says the report, carried out by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), has helped the organisation to evaluate its current safety procedures and to provide an even better and safer experience for all visitors to the island.

Weekly Press Review – 20 November 2017

The World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) says that West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) stock levels are now at an all-time low and could spell the end of the lone for the fishery.

According to the press this follows the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) decision on the 2017/18 fishing season that the total allowable catch would remain unchanged.

John Duncan, WWF-SA marine programme senior manager, said it was deeply concerning, adding,”This fishery is a critical source of income and livelihood for many small-scale fishing communities in the Western and Northern Cape.  Historically one of South Africa’s most commercially important fisheries, it has declined dramatically over the last 50 years as a result of overfishing to the point where it is now facing the very real threat of commercial extinction within the next five years.”

The share price of South Africa’s largest fishing company, Oceana Group, plunged nearly 14 percent on Friday after it reported that its profits in the year to September had plunged nearly 50 percent.

According to the press the shares on the JSE later in the day recovered to close 6.10 percent down at R80.

 

 

 

Weekly Press Review – 13 November 2017

Yet another perlemoen bust has made headlines this week, this time in the Mfuleni area where 5,553 perlemoen were discovered in 55 bags with an estimated value of R1 million.

In a separate incident a tip-off  led to the arrest of five people found in possession of perlemoen with an estimated value of R3.5 million. This included the equipment used by the suspects in the Mfuleni incident.

A total of 4,645 interested parties and residents from Langebaan in the Western Cape have signed a petition requesting that plans for an aquaculture plant in the Langebaan lagoon be abandoned.

According to the press, the planned aquaculture project, over an estimated 884 hectares in the town’s lagoon, is part of the government’s Operation Phakisa and is driven by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as private investors.

Jennifer Kamerman, spokesperson for Save the Langebaan Lagoon Action Group (SSL), says that the proposed area for the aquaculture development is predominantly used by small-scale fishers. The development will deny this community the right to fish in the lagoon.

“These people earn a living from the fish that they catch here,” says Kamerman.

SSL has said that they are not against aquaculture development in the area, but feel that it should be an inland development, not on the coast, and definitely not in the lagoon.

Weekly Press Review – 6 November 2017

Transnet is distancing itself from the kickbacks scandal currently rocking the state-owned rail and logistics group. According to the press, the scandal includes allegations that some of its suppliers paid third parties millions of rands in order to win tenders.

Chief executive, Siyabonga Gama said, “These allegations are made against Transnet suppliers, where it is alleged that some of them, such as SAP, McKinsey, CSR and Liebherr-Africa, were paying commissions to third parties after securing contracts with Transnet.

“We have requested these companies to indicate to us if any past or current employees of Transnet requested that they pay any kickbacks to them or any third parties.”

The Hawks arrested two people in connection with abalone poaching and seized R5 million worth of abalone in Brackenfell this week.

According to the press, spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha said that police arrested the suspects at a house doubling as an illegal abalone processing facility.

The suspects appeared in the Kuilsriver magistrates court during the week.

Two more suspects from Caledon were also arrested this week in possession of abalone with a street value of R5 million.

Also making headlines this week was the announcement by seafood group Sea Harvest that the company’s Australian subsidiary, Mareterram, had acquired two mackerel licence packages comprising of an established fishing fleet and support vessels for A$9 million (R53 million).

Weekly Press Review – 31 October 2017

 Transnet has instituted a group-wide investigation into its contracts and suppliers amid the rampant allegations of rent seeking and kickbacks at state-owned companies.

 According to the press, chief executive Siyabonga Gama said that the company was dealing with allegations of wrong-doing in its contracts, insisting that the problem was not about Transnet governance processes or integrity, but about suppliers.

According to the press this week, there is a growing optimism about the potential of Africa’s oil and gas development, given the sustained increase in crude oil prices.

Speaking at the open session of the 24th Africa Oil Week conference, held in Cape Town last week, Energy Minister David Mahlobo said, “This bodes well for many of the continent’s economies that had suffered when there was a downturn in commodity prices.”

Also making headlines this week is a statement from Premier Fishing and Brands saying that it would continue to grow its business both organically and through acquisitions in the future as it sought to diversify its portfolio.

“We will continue to grow our business organically and by acquisition, as well as focus on the expansion of our product basket to meet our customer’s demands,” said chief executive Samir Saban.

According to the press, despite the fishing season officially beginning on October 1, the delegated authority, Siphokazi Ndundane, has yet to determine the global rock lobster total allowable catch (TAC) for the commercial offshore and near-shore, small scale and recreational sub-sectors.

The Collective representing thousands of small-scale fishers from coastal near-shore fishing sectors says that the system used to allocate West Coast rock lobster fishing rights remains skewed and does not benefit small-scale and near-shore fishers.

Spokesperson for the fishers, Pedro Garcia, says, “When they eventually finalise the allocation for the TAC for the rock lobster, it will be percentages and not kilos. This will not address the imbalances in a system that still only caters for the commercial companies and keeps the indigenous and traditional fishers marginalised.”

Garcia added that the collective still felt that the best solution at this point would be to suspend the current allocations and implement interim relief for a period of three years.