Cape Town – Lack of investment in the maritime sector could undermine the benefits of South Africa’s recent joining of the Brazil, Russia, India and China trading block.
The warning was sounded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) chief executive, Tsietsi Mokhele, on Monday.
He was speaking at an all-important two-day International Investors Conference organised by the Department of Transport.
Mokhele called on the business sector to invest in the ship building and repairs industry in the country, as that was currently being done overseas. Coastal cities were also urged to put money into the maritime sector, with the aim of boosting regional integration.
Mokhele said the colonial set-up had left the continent with no skills to develop its own maritime sector. The capacity of South Africa to manage its maritime resources needed to be beefed up.
“Africa has zero ownership of shipping”, he said, highlighting that the continent was “importing everything.”
Mokhele said that at times, if one wanted travel to some parts of Africa by sea, they would have to go through Europe.
As a result of weakened coastal security around the continent, he said “you can over fish and pollute” without being detected.
Speaking at the same platform, Transnet chief executive Brain Molefe said they would partner with the private sector to meet their strategic objectives.
This, for example, included partnering in growing the skills base and identifying opportunities for black economic empowerment.
In the last five years, Molefe said they had invested R86.7 billion in infrastructure development and were posed to invest a further R110 billion in the coming five years.
Molefe said they were set to announce their financial results on 27 June. – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews