Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, has told a briefing ahead of his departmental budget vote in the National Assembly more than 4 500 jobs had been created in the various projects making up the blue economy sector of Operation Phakisa.
It was launched by President Jacob Zuma north of Durban late in 2014 as one of a number of fast track components to boost the national economy.
Radebe told the Cape Town briefing R7 billion has been allocated to Transnet National Ports Authority to improve ports. The money will be spent on rehabilitation and maintenance of proclaimed harbours in Gansbaai, Saldanha Bay, Struisbaai, Gordons Bay and Lamberts Bay, as well the establishment of three new harbours at Boegoebaai in Northern Cape, Port St Johns in Eastern Cape and Hibberdene in KwaZulu-Natal.
Phakisa is seen by government as integral to the National Development Plan (NDP) which includes growing the oceans economy as one of its nine points.
Unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s ocean focuses on six priority potential growth areas. They are marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, marine protection services and ocean governance, small harbours development and coastal and marine tourism.
SAnews, government’s new agency, reports the country’s work to grow the ocean economy is making “strong progress” and is currently focusing on four of the six prioritised areas.
Marine transport and manufacturing is one of these and South Africa’s shipbuilders are expected to show their worth during the third quarter of the year. This is when announcements are expected from Armscor, the state defence and security acquisition agency, on the successful tenderers for seven new hulls for the SA Navy. In terms of the tenders the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will acquire a new hydrographic vessel and three each of inshore and offshore patrol vessels.
The proposed Marine Spatial Planning legislation will, according to the news agency, ensure co-ordinated and sustainable use of the oceans.
“It will also allow South Africa to guard against illegal activities in the ocean space,” the agency said.