Opportunities abound to support South Africa's growth through Operation Phakisa

Publication August 2015

On August 13, 2015 Norton Rose Fulbright directors, Malcolm Hartwell and Lizel Oberholzer, by invitation from President Jacob Zuma, attended the presentation of the progress report by the President on Operation Phakisa pertaining to the maritime sector, at the Presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

Wearing his former president of the Maritime Law Association hat, Malcolm, and Lizel, there on behalf of the Offshore South African Petroleum Association, sat in on President Zuma’s report back.

The report summarised Operation Phakisa and cherry picked some of the predictions with regard to the effect of a successful development of the maritime economy. The 2010 estimate produced by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Department of Marine Law in 2010 stated that the ocean economy could add R54 billion to the GDP, plus 316 000 jobs. By 2013 this estimate had grown to R177 billion.

Exploration and oil and gas is also high on the Agenda. The objective of the Oceans Phakisa offshore oil and gas exploration focus group is the drilling of 30 exploration wells in 10 years. Zuma said that if the plans went ahead, government would create 130 000 jobs, an annual contribution to the GDP of $2.2bn (approximately R28.14bn) while reducing the country's dependence on oil and gas imports during production. The bill is currently going through the parliamentary process and will be finalised immanently.

The President spoke about cargo exports, the oil and gas space and its potential to create jobs. On aquaculture, which is currently worth R700million a year, the government has estimations for growth to increase to ZAR3.4billion by 2019. The President reported that Operation Phakisa is being rolled out to mining with the laboratories starting in October this year. Mr Radebe, who is the Minister in the Presidency and who is responsible for the overall oversight for Operation Phakisa advised that they intend launching Operation Phakisa for basic education, probably in November or December this year. Insofar as mining is concerned, the President pointed out that 40% of the platinum mines and 31% of the gold mines are currently loss making.

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