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16/11/2017

This article appeared in the Cape Times of 16 November 2017 written by Siyavuya Mzantsi.

SOUTH AFRICAN International Maritime Institute SAIMI chief executive officer Malek Pourzanjani says he is hopeful that the country's maritime sector will reach their target of creating one million direct jobs and contribute R177 billion to the GDP by 2033. "At the moment we are looking at 20 000 jobs, so we are working towards a million jobs by that time and the GDP contribution at is about R55bn. We are looking at rising it to R177bn, which are the targets. For me what is most important is creating more jobs in particular for young black youth," said Pourzanjani.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the national maritime conference held at Cape Peninsula University of Technology's CPUT Granger Bay campus yesterday "One of the shipping companies which is here is a Norwegian company, but they have gone to a village in the Northern Cape and have employed, and are training, people. They are going to stay in the village 20 years," he said. The two-day conference, which ends today, has brought together local and international maritime experts to discuss how South Africa is keeping up with technological advancements in the maritime industry and how technology could further advance education and training to meet global demand.

Pourzanjani said the country had not yet tapped into the benefits available in the oceans economy, which is a pillar of President Jacob Zuma's policy plan to create jobs and grow the economy. "As a nation we need to be ship boarders. As a nation we need to be suppliers of man power. Our unemployment rate is really high at 33%. At the same time there is desperate shortage of people to work on ships. That is where we come in and train.

Within Operation Phakisa, my organisation carries the skills development right across the board from oil and gas, marine tourism, agriculture and fisheries, marine transport and manufacturing," he said. Out of the conference, he said, SAIMA wanted to achieve the changes they needed to make in the county's maritime education and training. "We have got three maritime universities. One of them is CPUT, one of them is DUT and the Nelson Mandela University They are here, they are listening. When this finishes we will be working with them. My organisation will be going to the Department of Higher Education and Training, requesting more resources including staff, so that we could achieve those targets. The number of people going to these universities needs to increase." Most of the challenges that the industry had were related to government policies, added Pourzanjani.

World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Doumbia Henry said: "There is significant disruption on the horizon. Many of the jobs currently available are forecast to become obsolete a few years from now On the plus side, many new jobs will be created. "As maritime countries, we should examine the needs of new technologies and tailor our maritime education to meet these needs and those for a sustainable future. "It is not enough, and short-sighted, to educate tomorrow's leaders based on today's labour market."

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