The Marine Spatial Planning Bill of 2015, has been approved by Cabinet, for public comment.

“The bill provides a legal framework to unlock the oceans’ economic potential by promoting cooperative spatial planning,” Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said last week.

Addressing the media during a post Cabinet briefing in Pretoria, Minister Radebe said the bill will assist the already existing Operation Phakisa institutional structures.

“It seeks to promote collaboration and a responsible ocean governance arrangement,” he said.

Operation Phakisa is an adaptation of the “big fast results” methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian government successfully in the delivery of its economic transformation programme.

The ocean economy has the potential to contribute R177bn to the gross domestic product and create just over one million jobs by 2033.

Council of International Maritime Organisation

In addition, South Africa will be represented in the Council of International Maritime Organisation, which is a major step towards realising the country and continent’s potential in the maritime sector.

“The participation in this body will support government’s programme of unlocking the country’s maritime potential through the Blue Ocean Economy Strategy and Operation Phakisa, which aims to create over one million jobs by 2033,” Minister Radebe said.

The council is responsible for adopting decisions on global maritime affairs, ranging from the Oceans Economy, rescue initiatives and safety as well as security matters at sea.

As part of government’s plans to unlock the potential of the oceans economy, the South African National Defence Force has begun upgrading the Salisbury Island Naval Station in Durban into a fully functional naval base.

“The upgrading of facilities will improve defence capabilities and also contribute towards the ocean economy,” Minister Radebe said.