South Africa’s largest maritime and coastal security event has been summarily canned just over a week before it was to take place apparently because organisers do have not a marketing permit from the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC).
Event manager for Maritime Africa/MCSA (Maritime Coastal Security Africa 2015) Richard Stubbs said having to cancel the event at short notice “came as a shock to everyone including us as organisers and we have not taken the decision (to cancel) lightly”.
“The problem relates to the Conventional Arms Control Act and the NCACC who need to grant registration and marketing permits for all shows that have controlled items on display. The legislation has not applied to other events of this nature across the world. However, if we run the event we have been warned that we are contravening the NCAC Act which gives too much risk to event participants, sponsors and our business.”
He added consultation with senior representatives of the organising company, Spintelligent, and its legal representative was “currently underway”.
According to Business Day’s Cape Town correspondent the cancellation of an event which would have put the blue economy, part of the Presidential Operation Phakisa economic initiative, firmly on track was because a criminal investigation was currently underway in connection with last year’s Maritime Africa event.
A spokesman for Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, who chairs the NCACC, is reported as saying: “During 2014 a criminal investigation was initiated against the organisers of the show for not having been registered with the NCACC in providing its services to assist in the marketing of controlled items.
“In view of the matter being with the National Director of Public Prosecutions, the NCACC is not in a position to issue the company with a registration certificate for the very same matter that is under investigation.”
Stubbs said a permit had been applied for earlier in the year and no response received until this week.
Earlier this year Spintelligent presented the Land Forces Africa conference and exhibition in Pretoria where large amount of military hardware were on display but Stubbs was not prepared to comment on that event as legal opinions were being sought.
This would have been the fifth Maritime Africa/MCSA event.
The organiser of a large South African aerospace and defence conference defenceWeb spoke to was not aware of any permissions needed from the NCACC and had no difficulty in setting up their conference over the last two years.