Despite the mandatory changes in the formation of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB), the Board continues to be strategically and legislatively charged with the responsibility to protect bathers against shark attacks along the KZN coastline, conduct scientific research, inform and educate the general members of the public about the work rendered by KZNSB and also to be at the fore-front when it come s to beach tourism in KZN as most tourists influx is generally lured to KZN province following the bather protection KZNSB proudly and successfully provides for over 5 decades to date.
It suffices to mention that, the KZNSB’s world renowned Maritime Centre of Excellence established in order to further address and/or develop skills and capacity in the Maritime trade, and importantly, assist skilled workers with job search within the maritime fraternity has since been transferred to Moses Kotane Institute effectively 01st April 2019.
The KZNSB mother Department, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (EDTEA) has been working alongside and assisting the Board with the transfer of the Maritime Centre of Excellence Unit in a seamless and tactical way possible.
As a result of the above, the Business Development Division has yet again been charged with the responsibility to re-align the dimensional change/s as the above-mentioned initiative would have brought about the new facelift in terms of the Board’s Brand, Identity and Image worldwide.
Whilst the National Tourism Sector Strategy, the Marketing Tourism Growth Strategy for South Africa, Provincial Growth and Development Strategy (PGDS) and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Annual Strategic Plan continue to play a pivotal role in terms of how the Board’s Mandate should be carried out, the Board’s primary goal has been to define a Marketing Framework for supporting the organization’s business intents.
It is believed that, the development and implementation of the KZNSB’s Marketing Strategy assists the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board in formulating meaningful Marketing and Communication practices which has to a large extent helped fostering the advancement and growth of the organization. This has resulted in an increased foot-traffic, targeted markets both individuals and groups entering the KZNSB gates during Educational Shows offered on site, clients making using the Venue Hire Facilities for their events, Boat Tour experience offered at Wilsons Wharf off-Durban Harbor Golden Mile, visitation to static and informative display area (Museum) and visitor’s shopping from the Board’s personalized Fathoms Curio Shop, electronic advertisements flighted through KZNSB’s LED Billboard and importantly, the Bather Protection Services offered along the KZN coastline.
The identified revenue streams above have been translated into lucrative revenue generation strides which have in-turn helped with the sustainability and continuity of the KZNSB’s Mandatory services worldwide.
The KZN Sharks Board’s Activities, Offerings, Programs and Stakeholder Management:
KZN Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence identified various strategic platforms that present the opportunities to the Board to showcase, engage, network and interact with the public at large and work closely with some relevant potential partners to further explore areas of collaboration which would in-turn, increase foot traffic and revenue for the Board.
These interventions referred to above, consist, amongst others, Local, National and International Trade Expos with Travel Agencies, Tour Operators and relevant Stakeholders as the target market, educational and business promotional exhibitions which are aimed at school learners, tourists and general members of the public.
The KZN Sharks Board Corporate Social Investment (CSI):
The KZNSB approached and was funded by EDTEA to roll out the KwaMbonambi/UMfolozi River Project. This enterprise development projects' objectives are to facilitate the growth of the agribusinesses (currently operating as small holding farmers). The project commenced with training for fifteen (15) young people. The candidates were trained on boatbuilding, skippers license, learn to swim, VHF radio license, coastal and marine tourism, and youth leadership. The candidates built nine (9) boats during their practical training.
The next phase of the project entails building a slipway/jetty and the amphitheatre. The handover of the boats is yet to take place and the construction of the amphitheatre will help the Zululand neighbouring schools and general members of the public to experience the Educational Programmes offered by the KZNSB without having to travel long distances. The success of this project will grow the current businesses and open new avenues for coastal and marine tourism and access to the wider maritime supply chain thereby bringing about much needed transformation in the maritime sector.
The Outreach Programmes has been the cornerstone of the KZN Sharks Board. This is where the Business Development Division embarks on a programmes to have the schools from different Provinces (i.e. KZN, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Free State to mention) visited and recruited to attend the KZNSB’s Educational Programmes offered on site.
Apart from school visits, the Outreach Programme also visits strategic places to conduct shark dissection presentations and further engages on other related campaigns which usually take place along the beach site and get involved in radio and television interviews/promotional engagements etc.
The Outreach Program has on the other hand accomplished great success in exposing the youth in the maritime sector by stimulating interest in the maritime learning programs Sharks Board offers. The program forms part of the implementation of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence’s Marketing Strategy and Operation Phakisa, aimed at positioning KZN as active participants in growing the county’s maritime economy.
The KZNSB believes in having the bather protection orientated type of educational information well disseminated throughout the community at large to benefit even those (The Previously disadvantaged communities) that unfortunately cannot afford to visit its educational programmes conducted inside the premises. The school learners (All grades), Tourists and general members of the public are the Sharks Board’s target markets.
COVID 19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic and its Impact to KZNSB:
The KZN Sharks Board has been adversely hit by a worldwide Pandemic called COVID 19 and this was declared by the South African President, His Excellency, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa as a Disaster under the Disaster Management Act, this took place just before the end of the 2019/20 Financial Year.
The KZN Sharks Board’s Mandate is fully dependent on the people’s movement which consists of for example the schools, holiday makers, tourists, casual visitors, and general members of the public. Effectively from the 27th March 2020, due to COVID 19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, there has been zero movement of people in South Africa. All borders, harbours, airports, airlines, holiday resorts, places of interest, both private and public transport have been put on halt as a result.
In addition to the above, Budget cuts, roll-overs and relinquishing of some funds back to Treasury and shutting down the Entity’s core-business (Bather Protection throughout the KZN Coastline), other relevant activities, cancellation of the well planned strategic interventions, outreach programmes, lucrative business trips have left the Board with no revenue having been generated.
Even though, this Pandemic took place just before the end of March 2020, its adversative impact will more on the new Financial year 2020/21.