Weekly Press Review – 26 September 2017

Making headlines this week is the news that prominent local business woman, Chichi Maponya, has been accused of hijacking a ship-refuelling deal that was meant to benefit students and poor fishing communities.

It has been confirmed that Maponya, along with her co-directors at Plan BEE Fuel Distributors, are the South African partners in a joint venture with bunkering company, Aegean, to refuel ships off Port Elizabeth.

The deal replaces the Coega Development Corporation as the planned South African partner, who had planned to include several community beneficiaries in the deal – a deal that was authorised by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). Concerns have now been raised that former SAMSA CEO, Tsietsi Mokhele helped pave the way for Maponya and her Plan BEE partners to clinch the deal.

Mokhele, who resigned from SAMSA, is currently a director of Plan BEE.

Coega communications chief, Ayanda Vilakazi said, “We are advised that it was a classic case of opportunistic hijacking of a much-fought-for business opportunity for the Eastern Cape by Gauteng-based black business.

“They were favoured with inside information to usurp the transaction ….having successfully hollowed out the developmental and social impact intent.

“The partnership would have been ground-breaking in its own right and a paradigm shift in terms of the involvement of the South African government and the people of the Eastern Cape in the maritime industry.”

Maponya has denied any wrongdoing and has described the deal as a massive opportunity for the economy.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that Moller-Maersk has agreed to sell its tanker unit. Maersk tankers will be sold for $1.17 billion (R15.57 billion) to APMH Invest, a holding company of AP Moller Holdings, a controlling shareholder of Maersk.

Following a group of ten fishing organisations marching to the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) last week, a leading fisheries activist has said that DAFF deputy director-general, Siphkazi Ndudane, wasted an opportunity to provide relief to small scale and near shore fishers.

According to the press the group demanded the immediate suspension of the West Coast Rock lobster fishing rights allocation process. According to SA United Fishing Front chairperson, Pedro Garcia, “We felt that the deputy director had ducked and dived on some issues, but more importantly had an opportunity to make a decision on the West Coast rock lobster.

“If there are to be cuts in the allocations of rights, those should come form the larger commercial fishing companies.”

In response Ndudane said that the department is aware that many fishing communities struggle with policies that have been set in place, but the department is committed to serving the 300 fishing communities on the country’s coastline.

The share price of petrochemicals company, Sasol, tanked 7.32 percent this week. According to the press this is due to the announcement by the company that it will be replacing the debt-ridden black empowerment scheme Inzalo with its empowerment structure Khanyisa in a deal valued at R21 billion.

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Weekly Press Review – 28 August 2017

The sale of Maersk oil and gas assets to Total made headlines this week. Total agreed to buy the oil and gas unit AP Moller-Maersk, paying Maersk with $4.95 billion (R65.03 billion) of its own shares and assuming $2.5bn of the company’s debt.

The board at Grindrod is investigating the possibility of a separate offshore listing process.

According to the press, Mike Hankinson, executive chairman of Grindrod said, “The Grindrod board has for many years reiterated the intention to separate the shipping business from the balance of the group, as it does not believe that the value of the shipping business is fairly reflected in the Grindrod share price.”

The company has said that it has appointed South African and foreign advisers to assist and it is expected that the listing process will be concluded within the first half of next year.

Despite Sasol announcing a 15 percent fall in headline earnings, Sasol shares traded in positive territory this week.

According the press, the stock moved 1.58 percent up in early trade with the shares settling 0,57 percent up at R392.80 at the close of the JSE on Friday.

Sea Harvest, the fishing division of Brimstone, is working towards the purchasing of a freezer ship valued at $15.5 million.

According to the press, Felix Ratheb, executive head of Sea Harvest, says the vessel is a necessity to ensure optimal use of the fleet.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) says that it is making progress in the fight against abalone poaching after two separate arrests last week and the confiscation of abalone worth approximately R13 million.

According to the press, the department says, “The protection of Marine Living Resources, including abalone, is one of the priorities of the department.”

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 – 30 January 2017

According to the press, chemicals and energy group Sasol’s share price fell 3.02 percent to R409.26 on the JSE this week. This after the company announced an expected 44 percent drop in its headline earnings.

The company has attributed the fall to currency losses and a strike at its Secunda mining operations.

The NSRI were in action this weekend. According to the press three crew-members were rescued and treated for shock after their ski-boat, the Mi Lady, capsized off Strand Beach.

The three Strand residents were in the water for more than an hour before they were rescued.

In a separate incident two men, aged 44 and 53, were rescued from a sinking yacht that they were transporting from Durban to Mossel Bay. The NSRI were once again called to action. The rescue involved the use of an NSRI rescue vessel, as well as an NSRI rescue helicopter.

Also making headlines this week was a shooting incident between to suspected perlemoen smuggling gangs, which took place near Gansbaai, resulting in the death of one of the gang members.

It is suspected that the violence between the gangs broke out due to inflated pricing of poached perlemeon by one of the gangs.

Cape Town maritime enthusiasts were treated to a splendid sight this week, as the Queen Mary 2 visited Table Bay Harbour for a brief two-day visit.

According to the press the 14 year-old vessel is the world’s only operational ocean liner (not cruise liner) and was originally built in 2002 to replace the ageing Queen Elizabeth 2.

Weekly Press Review – 16 September 2016

 Residents of the Overberg region are rejoicing this week as the Western Cape parliament is to finally address the issue of perlemoen poaching in the area.

According to the press, Debbie Schaffer, chairman of the committee for economic opportunity, tourism and agriculture in the provincial parliament said that she has invited representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), security institutions and experts from the perlemoen industry to address the committee with regard to the problem of perlemoen poaching as early as next week.

 Twelve fishers were forced to abandon ship when their vessel ran aground in Port St Francis this week.

According to the press the 48-foot Barcelona ran aground after facing strong winds and waves up to four metres. The crew sent out a mayday at approximately 3.44am. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) responded to the incident, along with various vessels in the area. By the time help arrived, the crew had managed to get ashore.

The captain of the Barcelona was treated for shock and hypothermia, but all other crew members were in good health, except for minor cuts and bruises.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is investigating the incident.

According to the press Sasol’s operations remain under pressure this week due to low global oil and commodity prices. The listed energy and chemicals group’s earnings have decreased by 55 percent for the year to 30 June.

In response Sasol has implemented a business performance enhancement programme and oil price response plan. The aim is to achieve costs and achieve cash savings.

Sasol joint chief executive, Bongani Nqwababa said that the company’s cost reduction and cash savings initiatives were exceeding targets, placing the group on a sound footing as it geared up its balance sheet.