Transnet and the Game of Thrones

Yesterday the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, toured the Port of Durban with the Chief Executive of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) ahead of the official launch of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy. There’s nothing altogether strange about that – but I did feel like I had missed a crucial episode of The Game of Thrones.

Richard Vallihu, who less than a month ago revealed the new TNPA building at the Port of Ngqura, was nowhere to be seen. Instead it was Shulami Qalinge that stepped up to the title of CE at yesterday’s proceedings.

It seems that there has been a succession to the title in the few weeks since the unveiling in the Eastern Cape, but with none of the usual official announcements from the State Owned Entity, the Department of Public Enterprises or even a Cabinet congratulatory notice. Why?

Minister Maswanganyi made it clear last night that the shift to promote women leaders in the maritime space was welcomed by his Department and Qalinge appears to come to the position with good and relevant experience within the logistics sector and Transnet.

TNPA is not usually shy with appointment announcements, but Qalinge seems to have flown in under the radar and ousted Vallihu who’s appointment was certainly officially announced in 2015 when he took over following the sudden departure of Tau Morwe.

Industry sources say that they too are surprised at the seeming secrecy around the appointment and report that news spread to them via the grapevine and not through official Transnet channels.

Indeed Vallihu is still listed in the position on the TNPA website and I am left questioning the validity of my own eye-witness account of yesterday’s proceedings as I scour TNPA as well as government statements for confirmation of the episode I seem to have missed.

Nevertheless, welcome aboard Ms Shulami Qalinge and may your time in the position help steer the Port Authority forward.

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Weekly Press Review – 27 November 2015

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, attended a World Fisheries Day celebration in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape this week.  According to the press, the minister said that fishing communities needed to be the custodians of the protection of marine resources.

The celebrations served to highlight the importance of maintaining the world’s fisheries, as fish is an important source of food for many worldwide. One in five people depend on fish as their primary food source.

With the holiday season just around the corner, South African harbours are preparing for a busy tourist season. TNPA Chief Executive Richard Vallihu was quoted in the press this week as saying that at least eight pleasure boats and 10 passenger ships are expected to bring tens of thousands of both international and local tourists to South African harbours over the next few months.

Some of the vessels scheduled to visit our shores include:

  • Nautica – Ocean Cruises
  • Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager – Regent seven Seas Cruises
  • MS Astor – Transocean Tours
  • MS Marina and Insignia – Oceania Cruises
  • Silver Cloud – Silversea Cruises, and
  • Europa 2 – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Also making headlines this week is the arrival of the Meteoro in Table Bay.  The vessel is one of the world’s most advanced offshore patrol vessels and has recently spent four months in the Gulf of Aden fighting piracy off the Somalian coast.

The deployment of the Meteoro forms part of the Spanish government’s commitment to Operation Atlanta, the EU’s counter-piracy mission started in 2008.

The vessel will host several official engagements during her stay in the Cape.