Southern African Shipyards (SAS) has been named Best Established Black Owned Business at the Black Business Quarterly Awards in Johannesburg at the weekend.
The ceremony, hosted at Emperors Palace, saw Black Owned Businesses being honoured for their contributions to transformation and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in the country.
Durban based SAS is today 100% Black Owned; 70% Black Women-Owned and 12% employee owned.
Founded by the late Don Mkhwanwazi and the company’s current CEO Prasheen Maharaj, SAS today competes on a global stage in the ship repair and ship building sector.
“When our peers note the good work we are doing at SAS, it is most humbling – and must mean that we are doing something right,” Maharaj said. “Every South African business not only has a moral obligation to redressing the inequalities of the past, but to building this wonderful nation of ours on a foundation of skills transfer and development,” he said.
Maharaj said he was particularly proud of the SAS Artisan training programme, where hundreds of young South Africans graduate as maritime professionals.
In a statement published by the International Monetary Fund it was revealed that South Africa faces low growth and low job creation prospects and that the increasing labour force is projected to exacerbate unemployment pressures, poverty, and inequality.
Maharaj said that taking cognisance of this challenge within the context of the oceans economy, the private sector and government needed to speed up efforts to grow jobs and reach the 1 million jobs target set out by Operation Phakisa in 2014.
“There needs to be a sincerer effort to have meaningful engagement between the private sector and government as ultimately the private sector will be the largest absorber of the skills base,” he said.
On the topic of women empowerment, he said that the industry needed to have meaningful conversations about females in the maritime industry.
Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, praised the Durban-based Southern African Shipyards for making giant strides in empowering women in maritime.
At a Women’s Day event hosted by SAS, she said, “With the manufacturing and maintenance of ships, we are looking at what can be done to create jobs. As a department we appreciate what SAS is doing. This is about growing the economy as much as it is promoting equality. You are not just building ships but building the nation.”
The company was recently awarded a multi-billion Rand contract to build a Hydrographic Survey Vessel (HSV) for the South African Navy which represents one of the most complex projects to be undertaken in the African continent in recent years.
Another milestone project was the Transnet Ports Authority (TNPA) contract to build nine tugs, the largest contract to be issued to a single company by the State Owned Entity – the project value was an estimated R1.4 billion.
Other companies nominated on the evening were Pioneer Foods, Life 4 U Foundation, Path Steward Foundation NPC, COEGA, Tipp Focus, Bonakude Consulting, Pamodzi Unique Engineering, Bathu and Boon Africa.