Operation Phakisa Ocean Economy, South Africa’s maritime economic sector development programme, will need to speedily live up to its name and hurry up sooner than later if it is to draw any significant investment into the sector, in the process laying conducive conditions for business development and job creation, warns Christopher Sparg, Dormac Marine and Engineering Managing Director.
He was speaking during a SAMSA organized industry networking session held in Cape Town.
Sparg was among 60 odd maritime sector industry principals gathered for the event in Kalk Bay on the eve Zuma’s SONA speech and in which he was expected to share Government’s perspective and goals about the specific programme.
The idea, according to SAMSA was to allow for the sharing of views and engagement with Government policy owners many of who were in the city for the opening of Parliament.
In his speech, Zuma made reference to Operation Phakisa as among key priorities areas of government’s focus in overall economic development activity.
Highlights of planned action included the inclusion of marine tourism as part of the package, and also the dedication of Simonstown as the government garage for all state-owned vessels, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.
From a maritime economic sector industry perspective however, the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014, essentially to speed up processes towards unlocking bottlenecks and creating a conducive environment to increased investment, business development and job creation, was simply not living up to expectations, charged Mr Sparg.
“We’ve yet to experience the speed about which Operation Phakisa was launched,” says Sparg, adding that this was leading to uncertainty and frustration among especially those already invested in the local economy.
Sparg leads Dormac Marine and Engineering, a division of Southey Holdings that is a major player in the country’s ship repair, industrial fabrication and oil and gas maritime fields.