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Eastern Cape to be partner in Oceans Economy

The Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism has been selected as a partner in the development of the implementation plans to unlock the potential of the Oceans Economy nationally, MEC Sakhumzi Somnyo announced today.

He told the Bhisho Legislature during his Policy Speech that the department would be committing a full time resource to this initiative.

The MEC said it was “regrettable” that while the Eastern Cape has one of the longest coastlines in the country, the marine (oceans) economy was a sector that has not received a lot of focus.

He said that the National Department of Environmental Affairs had in 2013 released a study that indicated that South Africa’s marine resources could be optimised to realise an additional GDP of R129 to R177 billion and approximately one million jobs by 2033.

Pointing out that some sectors in the ocean economy “will achieve their potential through current policies and plans other sectors will require individual strategic and implementation plans to unlock their potential value.

“For these sectors, the National Cabinet has approved the development of detailed implementation plans with the objective of accelerated growth.”

The MEC said the South African government had also entered a partnership with the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) of the Malaysian government to conduct and oversee ‘’LABS’’ in SA.

A ‘’LAB” was a methodology used by PEMANDU in Malaysia to achieve Big Fast Results (BFRs) though a structured approach and stringent deadlines.

Marine and aquaculture development, he said, were areas that warranted attention as they had the dual benefit of environmental protection and economic benefits, adding that there has been increased interest in aquaculture farming in the Coega and East London industrial zones and “market potential is abound”.