July 13, 2023

Groundbreaking Oceans Economy workshops target traditional leaders and officials in coastal municipalities

The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), in partnership with Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council, International Ocean Institute (IOI-SA) and Eastern Cape Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs department (Cogta) are rolling out Oceans Economy and Oceans Governance workshops to capacitate Local Economic Development (LED) officials and traditional leaders in coastal municipalities.
The workshops are being rolled out to induct local government entities and its social partners to ensure Oceans Economy is supported so that there is greater understanding and efficient participation in the sector at local government level.

The first leg of the two-day workshop took place in Mthatha on 5 – 6 July 2023 where the Eastern Cape Oceans Economy Secretariat presented the Provincial Overview on Oceans Economy in the presence of 15 senior traditional leaders and 30 LED officials from Alfred Nzo and O.R. Tambo Districts Municipalities and Ingquza Hill, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nyandeni, Port St John and King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipaities.

The second leg of the workshop will take place in East London on 24 – 25 July 2023 and will target the Amathole District Municipality, its local municipalities of Mbashe, Mnquma, Ngqushwa, and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.

The third and final leg of the workshop will take place in Gqeberha on a date to be confirmed and will focus on target stakeholders in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, its local municipalities of Ndlambe, Koukamma, Kouga, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.

A case for the workshop

The Oceans Economy, particularly Operation Phakisa was initially introduced at national level leaving out these coastal municipalities which are the real sites of implementation. Their exclusion resulted in many of them not being able to offer the necessary support to individuals and or companies seeking assistance owing to their lack of knowledge and understanding of their role in the value chain.

This, then resulted to several request to SAIMI to provide awareness and workshops about what the Oceans Economy is about and the role of coastal local municipalities thereof in the implementation of Oceans Economy related projects.

The impasse between the environmental groups and government and or private sector regarding the use of Oceans as a catalyst for economic growth and development in South Africa has also influenced the conception of this project.

The project is meant to ensure the flow of information and understanding of Oceans Economy and various legislations that govern the use of coastal and marine areas in South Africa.

SAIMI and partner organisations in this project believe that empowering traditional leaders as well as LED officials with the relevant legislative framework governing the coastal and marine areas would help simplify the understanding and by extension the implementation of Oceans Economy in coastal areas with a much more reduced conflicts which arise as a result of misinformation in some instances.

About the partner organisations

SAIMI works to facilitate the development of the skills and knowledge base required to ensure the success of the “Blue Economy” maritime economic development initiatives such as Operation Phakisa.

ECSECC in addition to its Value Proposition of co-create visions, has a significant record of supporting and nurturing initiatives that contribute towards an inclusive economy which grows sustainably, creates decent jobs and is innovative.

Cogta’s mandate is to promote sustainable development by providing support to and exercising oversight over provincial and local government.

Objectives of the Oceans Economy and Oceans Governance workshops

The three workshops are being implemented:
• To share information and facilitate discussion that will contribute to institutional strengthening at local government level in support of the implementation of the Blue/Oceans Economy and maritime projects.
• To initiate the process of discussion towards the integration of the Blue/Oceans Economy in the local economic development plans of the coastal municipalities.
• To create awareness of available support services for Blue/Oceans Economy activities in the local coastal municipalities.
• To act as a catalyst for traditional leadership support and engagement in the Blue/Oceans Economy activities as custodians of land in their communities.

Lessons from the Mthatha workshop

During the session it was apparent that traditional authorities have vast knowledge about the ocean and that they have developed a solid relationship with the ocean through the ecosystem services offered by the ocean and areas adjacent to it. Furthermore, it became clear that there are many issues that are bothering target stakeholders in relation to the governance and management of coastal areas which to greater extent have been perceived to be excluding and displacing ordinary citizens who have been living and feeding themselves through the Ocean resources.

It also emerged that environmental conservation and protection entities, and departments play a key role in ensuring that target stakeholders of the workshop understand the balance between the developmental agenda and environmental protection. The presentation given in the workshop highlighted the importance of balancing the two approaches.

The desired outcomes of these workshops are to achieve the objectives outlined above. The achievement of these objectives will lay a foundation for a smooth implementation of Oceans Economy projects in the identified areas and reduce the level of conflict which are often as result of misunderstanding and misinformation about Oceans Economy projects, while also addressing the lack of proper and effective participation in the planning due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the Oceans Economy and what constitute it.

Stakeholder feedback

Xolile Nobuya, an LED official from Port St Johns Local Municipality descried the workshop as “useful, relevant, and an eye opener".

“It broadened our understanding of the Oceans Economy and maritime activities. Over and above the provincial perspective it also gave us a national and international perspective on how our actions and what we do here affect the people in the Western Cape and how and what those people do in the Western Cape affects us here in the province” Xolile said.

He said the workshop also focused on climate change and how this is going to affect some of the species in the water, “for instance we are seeing consistent rains in winter which are driving away some of the species we normally have in winter, and this has a direct impact on existing policy and license".

Nkosi Nzululwazi Sigcau who also attended the workshop said: “I wish we could have regular workshops and training of this kind with all traditional leadership because many of them were not there and they would have found the information shared there very useful more especially on these issues we are currently dealing with on the Eastern Seaboard Development. It was a very powerful workshop”.

About the Oceans Economy

The Oceans Economy is the sector that includes all economic activities closely linked to the ocean resources and environment and/or dependent to some meaningful degree on the ocean.

It is estimated that the Oceans Economy has the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2033 compared to R54 billion in 2010 and creating approximately 1 million jobs by 2033 compared to 316 000 in 2010.

The Eastern Cape Oceans Economy Secretariat is utilising the economic potential of the province’s 800km coastline to move the Oceans Economy agenda forward.

About the author

Issued by SAIMI


More Articles

July 28, 2023

South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) hosted a successful Maritime Winter School Awareness Programme

South Africa has been at the center of a surge in interest in respect of sea-going careers. The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in line with its mandate and role as advocate and coordinator of skills development in the maritime sector has initiated a new pilot programme. This is an ongoing exploration at testing the waters in ensuring that the South African system is strengthened and therefore ready to be able to respond to these opportunities that are coming into the Country.