STATEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN OF THE KZNSB BOARD
KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence Board Chairman, Mr. Sipho Mkhize.
Amongst other Public Entities under the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), the KZN Sharks Board (KZNSB) is a vital and strategic role player in the success of tourism in the KZN Province and our mandate to eco-protect bathers from shark attacks throughout the KZN coastline has resulted in the ever increasing number of tourists that grace our shores.
The KZN Sharks Board maintains shark safety gear at 37 localities (Municipal beach areas) from Richards Bay to Port Edward and is the only institute of its kind in the world. In the fulfilment of our vision, we have charged to lure the tourists’ influx into the Province of KZN. The KZN Province is renowned of its warm waters and its favourable weather which is almost forever summer.
The related survey shows that, of approximately 85% of the tourists coming from different continents, ±60% tourists usually visit the beaches along the KZN coastline following the warmth in terms of waters temperatures, safety and importantly, the bather protection against shark attacks proudly rendered the KZN Sharks Board.
It is believed that, due to the above, most of these tourists would have flown from their respective countries to South Africa, KZN Province in particulars, book themselves in the hotels, hire the shuttles from the airport to their places of interest, spend money at the shopping malls and restaurant, that has had a lucrative effect to the GDP of our Province, the KwaZulu-Natal. Our protected beaches become a vehicle that create a gateway for exploring strategic economic and employment opportunities within our Province.
Global and National Economic Impact Discharged by KZNSB
We have a vibrant Outreach Programme that is both educational and entertaining that targets various Provinces around the country including but not limited to KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Free State.
The KZNSB’s target market includes amongst other groups, the school learners, casual visitors, tourists and general members of the public.
This type of activity is rendered in fulfilment of the Government’s Educational Priority, the aim of these outings is to attract all our targeted publics to visit the Board’s educational programmes offered on site and also to foster a greater interest in the marine biology, sciences in general and to guide particularly the higher grades of the opportunities for employment in the maritime sector.
As the KZN Sharks Board is the Internationally renowned Entity, it has been flying its flag aloft during the International Trade Expo platforms that usually take place on a yearly basis. The KZNSB has attended Internationally organised Business Trade Shows in countries like Berlin Germany, World Trade Market in London, New York Times Travel Show, Tourism Indaba etc. This prototype platform has incredibly benefited the Entity in many ways, namely: all the Board’s activities, offerings and programmes have been depicted globally.
These platforms have placed the Board’s mandate on the universal map that, the KZN Sharks Board has become a world leading institution for innovation, business and education in marine and maritime engineering, engineering sciences, and other relevant maritime disciplines, at the heart of Umhlanga in KZN Province. KZNSB offered the opportunity of fusing and co-locating world-class research and education with leading International business experience and expert knowledge, and be a place where innovative, technical and hands-on practice and design from the leading edge of research for the marine and maritime industries will also be undertaken. KZNSB aims at educating the future generations of maritime professionals as well as developing and training today's maritime graduates and professionals.
The Sharks Board has and will continue driving innovation through synergy between a world-class Institution and a world-class knowledge intensive business, stimulating technology & knowledge transfer, and regeneration through high quality jobs and inward investment. It is key that, KZNSB is the organisation of its kind in the KZN Province, and will always serve as an imaginative response to National, Regional and Local government policy framework - Institutions developing the South Africa’s knowledge economy and contributing to Local and National prosperity through or by offering a unique opportunity to create an integrated knowledge-based community.
When engaging with the outside world through Trade Expos, the following are targeted public markets:
- Travel Agencies.
- Tour Operators.
- Tourism Information Centres.
At KZNSB a programme is a combination of different competencies, thus ensuring that graduates attain the best possible opportunity for employment, and this provides the crucial differentiation between KZNSB and the many other private training providers. The practical sensibility and the breadth of the KZNSB programmes are unparalleled in the maritime training sector in South Africa.
Rationalisation of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Public Entities
There has been a going concern leaving the Entity with lots of uncertainty and instability following the Rationalisation of Entities as governmental initiative. The KZNSB has been identified amongst those Entities to be Rationalised as part of the cost containment measure the National government has embarked upon. The Executive Council had in December 2017, resolved that the functions of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB) and the Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (Ezemvelo) should be merged and carried out as a single institution.
At the beginning of the sixth administration the Department for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) was requested to suspend the implementation of the executive council resolutions and rather investigate the possibility of incorporating the KZNSB into the Department itself.
The investigation was concluded and accordingly presented to the Economic Sectors, Investment, and Ministerial Task Team on Rationalisation of Public Entities (MTTRPE) of the provincial executive council chaired by the member of the executive council (MEC) responsible for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs. The MTTRPE cluster directed that the rationalisation process be continued in line with the resolutions that had been previously taken by the executive council.
Growing KwaZulu-Natal together:
As agreed in the EDTEA Joint Management Committee (JMC) for rationalisation, the implementation of the resolutions will be executed in accordance with the attached project implementation plan. Until such time that the Bill for the incorporated functions is passed by the provincial legislature, both entities shall remain separate legal entities and have been budgeted for as such. The planned submission date of the Bill to the provincial legislature is 31 March 2021,
EDTEA’s SONA Budget Speech Vote Policy:
Towards the end of last year 2019, we were humbled to be bestowed an honour to host the World Congress on the Drowning Prevention. It was befitting that this conference was held in KwaZulu-Natal which boasts the longest coastline.
During this conference, delegates heaped praises on the KZN Sharks Board, especially in terms of ensuring the safety of our beachgoers. We have never had shark-related incidents, as a result we have seen a steady increase of national tourists.
It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between tourism and safe bathing at our beaches. About 98% of our tourists visit beaches for recreational purposes. Therefore, the role played by Sharks Board in protecting the tourism sector cannot be over-emphasised.
Through a specialized Research Division, the KZN Sharks Board continues to further explore other alternative scientific methods to Shark Safety Gear such as nets & drumlins which are currently in place. This has led to a catalytic and lucrative project called a Shark Repellent Technology.
COVID 19 Pandemic:
Towards the latter part of 2019/20 financial year, distressingly, the entire world has been adversely hit by the COVID 19 and the South African President, His Excellency, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa declared it as a Disaster under the Disaster Management Act.
The KZN Sharks Board started a new financial year with such enthusiasm and umph with so much focus in terms of its Mandate i.e. Bather Protection, Scientific Research, Shark related Educational Programmes and Beach Tourism.
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.
Without too much details, a great loss has been suffered and experienced the hardest as there has been no self-revenue yielded between the COVID 19 start to date. The KZN Sharks Board sustainability does to an extent depend on various revenue generation streams identified by the Board.
It is on that note that, on behalf the Board, we would like to thank every business partner for your valued support and contribution towards a bigger picture. 2019/20 financial year hasn’t been an easy year, a lot happened, but, the KZNSB has always striven towards the attainment of the Clean Audit Opinion, inspite/despite the persistent declining economic climate and distressing circumstances.
To the honourable MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Treasury Department, thank you profusely for your provision and sustenance throughout the years.
Mr. Sipho Mkhize
Chairman of the Board
KZN Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence