12 June 2013 –
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal – June 12, 2013 – Government heavyweights, maritime experts, graduates and entrepreneurs will today participate in a top level maritime jobs summit organised by the South African Maritime Safety Authority in Durban.
The job summit forms part of the three day South Africa Maritime Careers Expo and Job Summit which would have seen twelve thousand schoolchildren from around the province being educated on maritime as “a career less ordinary” since Monday.
At a SAMSA gala dinner last night, the organisations’ CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele said it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure that South Africa had a thriving maritime industry. “We can’t be a sector which is lazy to take up the challenge when …70% of our GDP is dependent on the ocean.” A maritime skills study completed in 2011 showed that the sector could create up to 400 000 jobs and make a significant dent in the country’s unemployment rate. “Surely it’s a number big enough for us to (want to) realise,” said Mokhele.
South Africa’s maritime industry is heavily understaffed, with less than 10% of the 45 000 necessary positions filled. With growth and development just around the corner, the maritime industry has the potential to employ over 160 000 people over a period of four years, making it potentially one of the biggest areas for growth and employment in the country.
This provides a crucial area for growth so that South Africa’s ports and trade sector are able to fully develop and meet international standards. Mokhele challenged everyone in the country to take up the challenge of capitalising on the possibilities in the maritime sector in order to improve living standards and reduce unemployment. “…those who want to predict the future need to be the ones who design it.”
Mokhele said currently South Africa was a supplier of raw commodities to the world and the only way to be a leader in the maritime industry was to create institutions to help the country move beyond that. “Before us is a mission impossible…central to that is how do we create a university that serves the maritime industry.”
Mokhele said initially no one believed that South Africa would be able to have a dedicated training vessel. However, SAMSA had managed to acquire the Agulhas for this purpose and the vessel had been all over the world, even Antarctica, making it the envy of many other countries.
“South Africa is a country of power, dreams and people with a can do attitude,” said Mokhele. He stated how difficult it had been for so many graduates with maritime skills who had to give up their dream of being on the sea and work as petrol attendants and in retail stores because of the former lack of training opportunities. By the end of today at least 12000 pupils would have attended the careers expo and many of them also had the chance to tour the Agulhas. In the past two days thousands of learners have attended the expo.
Photographs and media releases relating to the summit can be accessed from here.
Samukele Ngubane (email@example.com), cell +27785560965
Shoaib Wahed (firstname.lastname@example.org), 031-2085525/cell +27735258723
Farhana Ismail (email@example.com); cell +27827876987/0312085525)
Issued on behalf of SAMSA by FBI Communications and Blue Leaf Communications