Weekly Press Review – 16 January 2017

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. More than 600 African labourers and 12 officers died in the tragedy. According to the press, the SAS Amatola will leave South african waters, in a relatively rare journey to European waters, on a special mission to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi.

The SAS Amatola will take part in naval exercises with the Royal and German navies and a ceremony will be held to commemorate the fallen vessel.   Some relatives of the dead will be flown out to take part in the ceremony.

Also making headlines this week is the news that a R800 million project to build ships with China in an upgraded naval dockyard in Simon’s Town is on the cards, despite the navy requesting that the Chinese be kept out.

The project is being pushed by the council on defence and involves the reserving of a large share of the construction work for state arms manufacturer Denel and its Chinese joint venture partner, with Simon’s Town dockyard as a preferred construction site.

Also making headlines this week are concerns regarding the low numbers of successful prosecutions of perlemoen poachers in the Overstrand area.

According to the press between April and October 2016, 43 suspected poachers were arrested, but only five were successfully prosecuted.

Michael Cardo, DA-LP said that he is extremely concerned about the few successful prosecutions.

“A prosecution rate of 10 percent is too low. We need better law enforcement along with a holistic approach towards community development to ensure that perlemoen poaching is extinguished,” he said.

Also making headlines this week was the sad loss of Captain Rodney Young MBE. Captain Young was the highly respected Master of RMS St Helena. He was holidaying in Seychelles at the time of his death.

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Weekly Press Review – 28 November 2016

 A possible Chinese takeover of the naval dockyard in Simon’s Town has made headlines this week. The navy is facing an internal revolt amid the possibility that China may soon build vessels inside South Africa’s naval headquarters.

An Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between state-owned defense equipment firm Denel and China’s Poly Technologies resulting in a large investment by the Chinese firm in the Simon’s Town facility in return for boatbuilding business.

Poly Technologies is Denel’s bid partner in two navy tenders: Project Biro and Hotel; and there is widespread unhappiness over irregularities relating to these deals, including a long delay in announcing the winning bidders. The question being asked is why Denel is being accommodated when they have absolutely no maritime experience?

Concerns about political interference have surfaced in a memo circulating in the naval community. One of the issues raised states: “Denel’s task is to manage the dockyard and maintain the ships of the fleet, not to build ships without a shipbuilding yard of their own and use a national facility like Simon’s Town naval dockyard instead.”

Poly Technologies have offered no comment and Department of Defense spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the department was not aware of any concerns.

The Cape Times ran a feature this week entitled: Maritime –SA’s new gold. Amongst the issues addressed were the new business opportunities available in South African aquaculture, how bilateral relations are advancing the Blue Economy and how South Africa is the new gate way to the Antarctic, as the only African country with a scientific base in Antarctica.

Weekly Press Review – 30 October 2015

Shipbuilding was in the news this week as Minister Rob Davies took the opportunity to highlight its potential contribution to the economy at the launch of a new vessel built at the Damen Shipyard Cape Town Facilities.

Smit Amandla Marine (SAM) partnered with Damen Shipyards to build two new vessels at a cost of R150 million.

SAM took on the local boat building challenge and made the decision to build the two vessels locally as part of their obligations in the National Industrial Participation Programme.

Rob Davies, Trade and Industry Minister, said, “We’ve identified that we have an opportunity to more or less triple the number of people employed, as well as the contribution to the GDP between now and 2033 from the oceans economy and one of the sub-sections of that is boat and shipbuilding.”

Smit Amandla Marine director Paul Maclons said, “While it is often more cost-effective to build these vessels in the East, it made sense to explore other options and support client and country priorities, with our company investing significantly into the local economy.”

The naming ceremony for one of the vessels took place on Thursday.  The vessel was named the Aukwatowa.

Also making headlines this week was the announcement that South Africa’s state-owned aerospace and defence company, Denel, will be launching its maritime division, with the aim of becoming a strategic partner to the South African Navy.

The launch will take place at the upcoming Maritime Africa Conference and Exhibition taking place at the CTICC in November.

Ismail Dockrat, chief executive of Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime said, “Maritime Africa is a fantastic opportunity for Denel to launch our maritime division in public and articulate our aspirations within the sector.”

Also in the news this week is another abalone arrest which took place in Hermanus.  The a 52-year-old man suspect was arrested and dried abalone with an estimated value of R1.2 million was confiscated.

According to the press the threat to the survival of the African penguin is so great that conservation organisations are planning to take drastic action to try to save this species from possible extinction.

The plan is to set up an artificial penguin colony on the southern Cape coast.  According to Christina Hagen, of Birdlife South Africa, the two sites being considered for the colony are De Hoop Nature Reserve and a stretch of state-owned land at Keurboom near, Plettenberg Bay.

The proposal for the artificial colony will be discussed at the World Seabird Conference in Cape Town next week.

Seabird, Cape Nature, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Sanccob will be part of the discussion to decide on the best location for the artificial colony.