STATEMENT BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL MEC FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM & ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: MR. SIHLE ZIKALALA (MPP)
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs: Mr. Sihle Zikalala (MPP)
KZN Sharks Board has delivered it mandate successfully as there has not been any shark attack incidents at protected beached along the coastal line of KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu-Natal is the only coastline in South Africa protected by shark safety gear. The importance of providing bathing protection from shark attack cannot be underestimated especially when one considers the effect that shark attack has recently had on the coastal resorts of Western Australia.
Bathing beaches safe from shark attack are critical to ensure that both local and international visitors are comfortable when visiting our Province. The KZN Sharks Board mandate to protect our beaches and bathers throughout the province’s coastline has resulted in the ever increasing number of tourists that grace our shores. This mandate is fulfilled through the installation and maintenance of shark safety gear, deployed to prevent shark attacks at 37 localities from Richards Bay to Port Edward.
As part of its extended mandate KZN Sharks Board has expanded in order to respond to changes in the province’s economy – The entity has been directed to incorporate and focus on maritime skills development as part of its extended mandate through its the Maritime Centre of Excellence. The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board designs, develops, partners and delivers nationally and internationally recognized qualifications.
The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board has embarked on a monthly beach clean-up campaign. Beach cleaning presents an efficient means of maintaining a safe and high quality beach, play, sporting and other leisure area. This campaign contributes to Operation Pakisa in the form of keeping clean beaches that are compliant with the blue flag beach status requirements. We are to remember that visitors and tourists flock to beaches that are associated with Blue Flag Beach status.
While the primary objective of the entity is to guarantee the protection of bathers from potential shark attacks on the coastline through the installation and maintenance of shark nets, it continues to undertake marine related research initiatives on the life patterns of various shark species. This includes their reproductive biochemistry.
The growing awareness about changing climatic conditions also has a bearing on the operations of the board and thus forcing it to cast its net far wider than its primary terrain.
Through clinical dissections of sharks we have to know the genetic profile of different shark populations in terms of their movement and kinds of preferred feeds across the oceans. The capacity to undertake research activities require constant provision of both financial resources and world class scientific skills.
The KZN Sharks Board, as all the other Ten (10) entities of the EDTEA family, needs to operate within the parameters of the national Industry Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path, National Development Plan and the Provincial Growth & Development Strategy which all seek to energize the performance of our various sectors of our economy.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to all retired by rotation, the Board of Directors, the Chairman, the Chief Executive Officer, management and staff.
Mr. Sihle Zikalala (MPP)
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs