Employee success stories: Tembela Phike

Sea Harvest electrician, Tembela Phike, is determined to keep pace with technology by continually upgrading her skills. 

 

Thirty-six-year-old Tembela, or Tembi as she is known to her colleagues, first became aware of the field of electrical engineering when the Eastern Cape village where she grew up was electrified. 

 

“I got inspired by the lady who was climbing the pole,” reflects Tembi, remembering a female Eskom technician who worked on the electrification project. “I told myself that I wanted to become an electrician, but I didn’t know that the electrical field is broad. In my mind I thought becoming an electrician would mean working in the field of energy. I thought I could only work for Eskom, I didn’t know I could work for other companies too.”

Realising her ambition to work as an electrician took time and determination.  After overcoming financial difficulties, Tembi completed her National Certificate (N3) qualification and then secured a bursary to cover the cost of her practical education. But once she had completed her training, she struggled to find an apprenticeship, taking a job as a general worker to make ends meet. 

Tembi’s big break came in 2016 when she saw an advertisement for an apprenticeship with Sea Harvest. She applied and was appointed as an apprentice at the company’s large processing factory in Saldanha Bay.

“I qualified in 2019,” she says, “and then I got fortunate enough, or maybe because of my abilities, I got appointed as a permanent, qualified electrician.”

Today she works in the value-added part of Sea Harvest’s factory. Her job is to maintain and repair the industrial machinery used to produce a wide range of value-added products, including fish fingers and crumbed and coated fish portions. She is also responsible for maintaining the electrical fittings – mainly plugs and lights – in the building that houses the processing machinery. Tembi shares the work load with another electrician, working shifts according to the processing schedule of the factory. 

Not satisfied with what she has achieved so far, Tembi is continuing her studies and is currently working towards a Government Certificate of Competency in electrical engineering. The certificate is essentially a license that enables professional engineers to supervise the safe operation of machinery in a factory, or on a mine. Tembi also has plans to achieve a wireman’s license, a certificate that allows qualified electricians to work as electrical contractors. 

Driving her ambition is the knowledge that technology is advancing rapidly and she needs to keep pace with

“I’m looking to get qualified and (acquire) more advanced knowledge of PLCs,” says Tembi, explaining that a “programmable logic controller” is an industrial computer that has been adapted to control a manufacturing process.

Pointing to a motor she is testing and repairing, Tembi explains that in future the motor will not be operated manually, it will be programmed electronically. Her ambition is to gain the knowledge she needs to operate industrial computers used in manufacturing. In so doing, she hopes to secure her future in the electrical field

Employee success stories: Andisiwe Mangweni

Absolute commitment and a willingness to learn have enabled a young operations management graduate to create a career in the fishing industry. 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the possibility of securing in-service training seemed like a remote ambition, Andisiwe Mangweni was ecstatic to be offered a 12-month internship with Nalitha Fishing Group in Hout Bay.  

Recognising the opportunity she’d been given, Andisiwe rolled up her sleeves and on her first day at work joined Nalitha’s team of skilled fish processors on the factory floor. Her new colleagues schooled her in the preparation of prime quality hake for the export market and opened her eyes to an industry Andisiwe knew nothing about. 

“I remember on 26 December, Boxing Day, we were here packing baby hake,” recalls Andisiwe. “I was part of the team, packing with them, weighing the fish, writing the tallies and I had to compile the job sheets that summarised what was produced, the tonnage produced as well as the hours work. So that was my internship, I was just part of the production team.” 

Andisiwe needed the internship with Nalitha Fishing Group to complete a Diploma in Operations Management through Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), but her willingness to work hard and learn as much as she could impressed her managers. After 12 months she was offered a permanent job as Factory Operations Supervisor. 

Andisiwe’s new role has challenged her in ways she never imagined: 

“It’s nice working with people,” she says. “I never thought I would be able to do that. I never thought I have this ability that I see in myself now. So I would say that Nalitha brought out a side of myself that I didn’t know about.” 

“I studied operations management, but I never imagined myself managing people at my age, giving them instructions. So, it’s just a crowning achievement that Nalitha has done for me. They just gave me a big opportunity.” 

Finding the courage and an effective way to supervise men and women who are many years her senior, and usually more experienced than she is, was one of the biggest challenges Andisiwe faced when she began her job as a supervisor. She has also learned in detail about the different processing and storage requirements of the various types of fish that are processed by hand at Nalitha’s Sentinel processing plant in Hout Bay, and is informed about the demands of the food safety system HACCP, thanks to the mentorship of Quality Manager and HACCP Controller, Allison Arendse. 

Andisiwe is very aware of the struggles that many of her fellow learners at CPUT have encountered in trying to secure in-service training, and the difficulties that most young South Africans face in finding employment. She is grateful for the opportunities she has been given by Nalitha Fishing Group and excited to learn as much as she can so that she can grow professionally and build a career as an operations manager in the fishing industry. 

I’m putting all my best to make sure that I bring value to my job,” she says seriously, “I’m doing all that I can to make Nalitha a successful company.”  

FRAP is top of mind as 2021 draws to a close

By Felix Ratheb, Chairman of SADSTIA

There is enormous hope within fishing companies, large and small, that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) will end the year with a fair and rational allocation of rights across 12 commercial fisheries, the hake deep-sea trawl fishery among them.

As SADSTIA we have done everything within our power to assist the DFFE to meet the series of milestones necessary to ensure the fishing fleets can go to sea in early January as usual.

The pressure of submitting accurate and complete applications for rights by the 10 December deadline cannot be overstated, but the deadline has come and gone and SADSTIA members are now waiting anxiously for the outcome of the process. Collectively we hope for an outcome that will protect the livelihoods and secure the future of our employees, suppliers and the small, medium and micro enterprises (and their employees) that depend on a viable hake deep-sea trawl fishery. Equally important is a result that secures the global competitiveness of the fishery, bearing in mind that on international markets the South African industry is respected as a small but important supplier of high quality, sustainable, value-added whitefish products. Cape hake is known and appreciated in Europe, the United States and Australia. Exports make up just less than two thirds of all sales generated by the hake deep-sea trawl fishery, earning about R2.5 billion in foreign exchange annually.

Twenty-one months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a stable and profitable fishing industry is more pressing than ever.

The Genesis Analytics data released by SADSTIA in June shows that the hake deep-sea trawl fishery makes a total socio-economic contribution of R8.5 billion per year to the South African economy. Investments top R7.6 billion and the fishery provides direct and indirect employment for 12 400 people. Just over one thousand small, medium and micro-enterprises depend on the success of our fishery for their economic survival.

The strides the hake deep-sea trawl fishery has taken with respect to transformation mean that it can truly be celebrated by government as a successful, sustainable and inclusive industry.

There can be little doubt that the stability and competitiveness of the hake deep-sea trawl fishery have allowed our members to weather the COVID-19 storm. Over the course of this year, SADSTIA members have experienced unprecedented shifts in demand for Cape hake and withstood the challenges of a severely disrupted global supply chain. No jobs have been lost in our fishery. Our members are to be commended for prioritizing their workers’ health and well-being, while managing their quotas and keeping their vessels operational, so that the economic benefits of a stable and sustainable fishery continue to flow to their people and the country as a whole.

One of these benefits is the vaccination campaigns run by several companies on behalf of their workers. These campaigns have not only resulted in the vaccination of thousands of workers at their places of work, but they have also created awareness in fishing communities about the benefits of vaccination.

As an industry, our message to our employees has been to vaccinate themselves and their families and we will continue to drive vaccination efforts, especially in light of the alarming increase in daily infection rates that occurred in early December, apparently driven by the transmissibility of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Vaccination is the country’s only path out of lockdowns and the economic carnage they create.

The certification of the South African trawl fishery for hake by the Marine Stewardship Council, was undoubtedly one of the highlights of a very difficult year. We announced the third re-certification of the fishery in February, following a tough, year-long process. The certification is for a five-year period and during this time we will be expected to meet stringent conditions relating to the environmental performance of our fishery. Our members are committed to this effort, knowing that the sustainability of the trawl fishery is of paramount importance to its future.

The success and sustainability of the South African trawl fishery for hake demonstrates that rigorous fisheries management, including data collection, stock assessment, assiduous regulation and enforcement can be effective and result in abundant fish stocks and improved harvests. The DFFE and our academic partners should be proud of the role they have played in helping the industry to grow the hake stocks to the point where they are both above maximum sustainable yield.

Regardless of the outcome of FRAP 2021, real challenges lie ahead for SADSTIA and its members, including a weak economy, unstable global supply chains and the as yet unknown impact that climate change will have on deep-water stocks. A strong and united industry will be key to meeting these challenges head-on.

I wish to extend a word of thanks to SADSTIA members for their support, patience and cooperation in 2021. I wish them, our partners and stakeholders a restful holiday season and I look forward to regrouping in 2022 to work for the good of the South African hake deep-sea trawl fishery.

The call of the sea runs in the family

 

On Sunday 21 November, World Fisheries Day will be celebrated around the globe, highlighting the importance of an economic sector that produces around 80 million tons of food and employs at least 40 million people.

A South African family that understands the importance of a vibrant and sustainable fishing industry is the Carelse family from Brackenfell. Father Reggie Carelse is one of the most experienced and successful skippers in South Africa’s hake deep-sea trawl fishery and since February this year his 19-year-old daughter, Michelle, has been working with the team of skilled artisans that services and repairs the equipment on board his ship.

Michelle is working as an apprentice at Sea Harvest’s Viking Fishing Division in Cape Town harbour. Dressed in safety boots, a hard hat and worker’s overalls, she is forging her own career in an industry that has captivated her since she was a small child.

“When my family would come to fetch me in the harbour after a fishing trip, I would take Michelle to the boat,” recalls Reggie. “I would have to take her to the engine room and she would ask a lot of questions – she’s very inquisitive. But then, when she was seven, I put her in the skipper’s chair and she said to me, ‘no Daddy, this is your place, I don’t want to work here, I want to work in the engine room’!”

Reggie was surprised and a little alarmed that his daughter’s desire to work at sea did not diminish over time. As soon as she completed her matric at Protea Heights Academy in 2020, she applied to work as an apprentice at the Viking Fishing Division.

“There was something pulling me towards boats,” says Michelle. “My dad didn’t try to talk me out of working at sea, but he did say to me ‘are you sure?’” I knew that this is what I wanted, to work on boats, so I asked him for the phone numbers and then I made the calls.”

Michelle is training in the electrical workshop at the Viking Fishing Division. She is part of the team of artisans that services and repairs the electrical equipment on board the company’s vessels. Once she has 18 months of experience under her belt, Michelle will attend college and start working towards a National N Diploma in Electrical Engineering, also called an “N6”. She is hoping that much of her practical training will be completed at sea, but for now she is content to be learning the ropes on the quayside, under the watchful eye of Foreman Allie Yaghya.

Her apprenticeship is grounded in the opportunity to work alongside qualified artisans and learn from them.

“I like to broaden my knowledge, so if we do something in electrical, another workshop will work with us, say for instance the refrigeration department, so I learn from them too, says Michelle. “If they are not actively teaching me, I just ask a lot of questions!”

This year, in order to study towards her N Diploma, Michelle re-sat her matric exams in mathematics and physical science.

Over the course of the year, Reggie has come to terms with the fact that Michelle will one day work at sea, and that in the future she might very well work alongside him.

For Michelle, the opportunity to work in an unusual field with a team of knowledgeable and helpful colleagues has been an enriching experience and she is more determined than ever to get a qualification that will enable her to work at sea and in the fisheries environment.

“I would encourage other young women to go into a career like this one,” she says, “there are so many options and so much to learn.”

Women want more opportunities to work at sea

Two young women at the interface of quay and sea share their experience of working in the fishing industry.

Megan de Klerk and Nelile Gcabashe

Megan de Klerk and Nelile Gcabashe work for different fishing companies in different locations, but the two are united by their youth and commitment to pushing the barriers that they believe are preventing women from building careers at sea.

Megan is quality assurance and HACCP coordinator at I&J’s Cape Town Fishing division and Nelile is assistant risk control officer at Sea Harvest’s trawling operation in Saldanha Bay. Both are at the interface between the fishing fleet and the fleet administration. Megan works closely with skippers, factory managers and quality controllers to make sure that the fish landed by I&J’s vessels is safe for consumption; Nelile works with skippers, safety officers and engineers to make sure that the Sea Harvest fishing fleet is seaworthy and safe.

“Whenever the vessels dock, I carefully go through the production report to see that everything on the quality side is in order,” explains Megan who graduated with a National Diploma in Biotechnology in 2017 and has been working for I&J for two-and-a-half years.

She also works closely with food safety auditors to ensure that the I&J fleet is compliant with the stringent food safety standards that are demanded by the company’s international customers.

In a similar way, Nelile visits the Sea Harvest vessels on a daily basis, checking safety equipment and standards, investigating when injuries occur at sea, and working through checklists and testing protocols to make sure that the vessels in the Saldanha fleet are well prepared for routine safety surveys. She graduated with a Diploma in Nautical Studies from Durban University of Technology and has worked for Sea Harvest for three years. In 2022, Nelile plans to register for an Advanced Diploma in Nautical Studies.

There are 10 vessels in the I&J fleet and 12 in the Sea Harvest fleet, but almost every sea-going employee Megan and Nelile work with on a day-to-day basis is male. Both say that they have been accepted and feel supported by the men they work with, in spite of their youth and gender.

“I’m young,” says Nelile. “In some cases I’m younger than the last born daughters and sons of my co-workers. But as I started to show up and everyone got to understand what I do, and what I’m capable of – how my work helps the company – my co-workers started to be more respectful and comfortable towards me and I don’t have any problems.”

Both are hopeful that when the COVID-19 pandemic abates and when personal circumstances allow, they will be afforded the opportunity to spend more time at sea.

“For my career goal, I need to understand the operational side of the business and that’s why I would like to spend more time at sea,” says Nelile. “I need to have that technical background, to see how things are done. I’m happy to have a shore-based job but I would like to spend much more time at sea.”

While Megan and Nelile both express satisfaction with their jobs, saying there is plenty of opportunity to learn and grow, they are concerned about the lack of sea-going jobs and opportunities for women.

“Women want to work at sea, but we are not given the chance,” says Nelile. Her sentiments are echoed by the few female factory workers who work on Sea Harvest vessels. All are factory workers (there are no female officers) and the female crew members have expressed the desire for opportunities to work in other roles at sea – as deck hands for example.

“People say that deckhand work would be difficult for women, but I believe that women should push that boundary and not be limited,” says Megan.

“Why don’t you get any female skippers?” she asks. “In this industry you can push yourself, it’s a good environment in which to grow.”

She and Nelile agree that when recruiting cadets (sea-going trainees who work towards a career as an officer or engineer), fishing companies should recruit women as well as men. This will create a working environment in which it becomes accepted practice for women and men work side-by-side at sea, with both sexes afforded equal opportunities to develop careers.

Both young women hope that the work they do in the male-dominated quayside environment will be recognised and that they will have many opportunities to improve their knowledge and capabilities by applying their skills at sea. In doing so, they hope to encourage other women to consider a career in the fishing industry and maritime environment, and that barriers to entry and career progression will diminish and disappear over time.

#DiepRespek shines a fresh light on vulnerable marine ecosystems

A rap video about vulnerable marine ecosystems is spreading quickly among fishing crews working in South Africa’s trawl fishery for hake.

Created by ecologist and filmmaker, Otto Whitehead, musician Walz and local lyricist KRO-BARZ, #DiepRespek, shines a fresh new light on the deep-sea environment and the need to protect seabed organisms from harm. It is being circulated among fishing crews via WhatsApp and is also available on YouTube.

Although many of South Africa’s deep-sea ecosystems have been identified and included in marine protected areas, the marine science and conservation community is working to ensure that vulnerable marine ecosystems that may not have been described yet are not damaged by fishing and seabed mining. SADSTIA supports this initiative because its members recognise that deep-sea ecosystems provide important feeding, reproductive, nursery and refuge areas for a high number of invertebrates and fish species. And, adequate protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems is an important condition of the trawl fishery’s certification by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Currently, scientific observers working on deep-sea trawlers, through the SADSTIA-funded observer programme, are required to weigh, identify and photograph all invertebrates caught in one trawl per day. The data collected by observers is contributing to the formulation of thresholds for the common groups of organisms that are found in the deep-sea environment. Eventually, these thresholds will lead to the development of “move on” rules that will ensure fishing does not continue in areas of high seabed biodiversity. Until such time as the thresholds are agreed and guidelines are adopted, fishing crews make use of precautionary, commonly accepted move-on rules similar to those in place for other regional bottom fisheries and informed by the vulnerable marine ecosystems working group.

Filmmaker Whitehead, hopes that #DiepRespek will help fishing crews to get to know the common groups of organisms that are found in the deep-sea environment, including hard and soft corals, sponges, sea pens and other invertebrates. With this knowledge, they will be better equipped to recognise and react if they are fishing in a vulnerable marine ecosystem.

#DiepRespek was produced by Kerry Sink, Lara Atkinson, Grant van der Heever and Otto Whitehead and was released through a collaboration between the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research at Nelson Mandela University, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the South African Environmental Observation Network and the South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB). It features footage of the deep-sea environment collected by the African Coelacanth Environment Programme and SAIAB.

Worldwide, groundfish stocks like hake are on the up

Thirty years after the widely publicised decline and commercial extinction of northern cod off the northeast coast of Canada, the average abundance of groundfish stocks, including the Cape hakes, is increasing and may result in increased harvests in the future.

The paper Global status of groundfish stocks which was published in the journal Fish and Fisheries earlier this year, attributes the change in the status of groundfish stocks around the world to reduced fishing pressure and strengthened fisheries management.

“Groundfish” is an umbrella term like “demersal fish” which is given to fishes that live and breed on or near the bottom of seas or lakes. Groundfish are found in the temperate and higher latitudes of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, but stocks in the Northern hemisphere tend to be much larger. Pollock and cod are by far the most abundant species of groundfish, but the term includes other species like hake, haddock and rock fishes. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, annual groundfish landings have averaged 10.5 million metric tons since 2000.

South Africa and Namibia’s catch of Cape hakes makes up a tiny portion of the global catch of groundfish (about 300 000 tons per year), but the two countries’ fishing grounds in the southeast Atlantic Ocean are identified in the paper  Global status of groundfish stocks as one of five regions where fishing pressure is low and stocks might potentially sustain a higher catch. However, the authors of the paper note there are at least three good reasons why fisheries managers may choose to manage stocks conservatively and forgo some potential yield. The first reason is that target stocks are often caught together with other species of fish and it is not possible to achieve optimum yields for all species. Secondly, when fishing pressure is lower than maximum sustainable yield, it is economically more efficient to catch fish, and thirdly, there is a recognition that the needs of other marine animals that forage on fish species must be considered.

Interestingly, the certification of the South African trawl fishery for hake and the Namibian trawl and longline fisheries for hake by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is not unusual for groundfish fisheries. In fact, the majority of large groundfish stocks in Europe, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Namibia and the United States of America are certified sustainable by the MSC. This indicates the stocks are healthy and well managed, say the authors of the paper.

The advent of seafood certification and labelling schemes and the major expansion of marine conservation efforts by environmental NGOs may be one of the reasons why the downward trend in the status of groundfish stocks was reversed after 1990, say the authors of the paper:

“With the increasing concern about overfishing in the 1990s, we saw management intensity continue to increase, fishing pressure decline and stocks stop their decline and start to rebuild.”

Whereas groundfish stocks around the world have been rebuilt since the 1990s, the one exception is the Northwest Atlantic (Canada and the United States) where stocks have not rebuilt to levels approaching their targets, even after fishing pressure was dramatically reduced. The authors attribute the slow recovery of these stocks to changes in productivity that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

They acknowledge that there can be differences across fisheries regions and in some cases, when the average stock status is above target biomass and fishing pressure is below target, some stocks may be at low biomass or subject to excess fishing pressure. Similarly, they note that fishing is not the only variable that influences groundfish stocks – they are subject to environmental changes that may be heightened by climate change.

The authors conclude that if fishing for groundfish species could be more selective and the incidental catch of non-target species could be reduced, there is potential for groundfish to be exploited at or near their most productive levels, resulting in a bigger harvest of fish for human health.

Read the paper: https: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/faf.12560

Socio-economic study is updated and expanded

The economic impact of the hake deep-sea trawl fishery, its transformation since the early 1990s, and the role of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the success of the fishery, are three of the subjects that are analysed in the report “Economic study of the hake deep-sea trawl fishery and the implications for future fishing rights allocations policy” which was released in Cape Town today.

The study was conducted by independent economists Genesis Analytics in 2020, using data from the 2019 fishing year. It is an update and expansion of the original study by Genesis Analytics which was completed in 2018, using data from the 2017 fishing year. The recent study finds that, given its industrial scale, the hake deep-sea trawl fishery makes a substantial economic contribution to local fishing communities along the west coast and between Cape Town and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), including those two metropolitan areas. This contribution includes:

  • A total socio-economic contribution of R8.5 billion per year to the South African economy.
  • Total employment of 12 400, comprising 6 600 direct jobs and approximately 5 800 indirect and induced jobs.
  • The total annual wage bill is R1.4 billion, which grows to R.2.3 billion when local economic multiplier effects are considered.
  • Sea-going and processing employees earn well above the current national minimum wage – approximately R22 000 and R9 000 per month, respectively.
  • The industry spends approximately R3.7 billion with domestic suppliers and this figure grows to R5.9 billion when multiplier effects are taken into account. Of the total spend with domestic suppliers, approximately 59%, or R2.1 billion is directed towards black-owned companies and R382.5 million is spent with black female-owned companies.
  • The industry spent more than R664 million with SMMEs in 2019. This expenditure was split across 1 041 different businesses which employ an estimated 4 550 individuals. About 51% of the industry’s spend with SMMEs is directed at black- and female-owned businesses.
  • The hake deep-sea trawl industry owns approximately R3.6 billion in vessel assets and R4.0 billion in processing assets and has invested more than R3.8 billion in upgrading these assets since 2005.
  • Cape hake is successfully marketed in Europe and the USA, with exports making up just less than two-thirds of all sales and contributing about R2.5 billion in foreign exchange earnings.

On the subject of transformation, the study finds that historically disadvantaged persons (HDIs) currently hold 67% of the shares in the firms which harvest 92% of the hake deep-sea trawl catch, and most likely the same or higher amongst the remaining smaller firms. This has more than doubled from around 30% in 2005. The ownership figure presented in the Genesis Analytics study is aligned with that presented by the Department of Forestry, Fishery and the Environment, which estimates the fishery is 75% black-owned.

The top three firms in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery are all level 1 contributors to broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) and the industry has moved from an average B-BBEE score of approximately 80 in 2011 to 105 in 2019. Although many smaller companies in the industry do not subscribe to a B-BBEE scorecard, they are all substantially empowered.

HDIs make up approximately 97% of total employment in the industry, and most share in the benefits of the fishery because all the largest companies have broad-based employee share schemes. These schemes have paid out dividends of approximately R440 million since inception.

Read the Summary of findings

Read the full report

Status of the stocks report

The Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries has released its 2020 Status of the South African Marine Fishery Resources report.

The report presents the most up-to-date information and analyses of the status of marine fishery resources in South Africa today.

The number of fish stocks covered by the bi-annual report has increased from 43 in 2012 to 61 in 2020. Among the species included for the first time are a number of line fish species, five species of skate, octopus, East Coast round herring and whitetip and great hammerhead sharks.

Read and download the report here.

SMME focus

Human resources, with heart

Legacy iLifa assisted Nalitha Fishing to institute an internship programme. The six young South Africans who benefited from the programme in its first year are (left to right): Antonio Arendse, Lwando Sontshalaba, Chanté Benson, Mzukisi Nogwaxa, Andisiwe Mangweni and Johane Mabuza. 

Human resources, with heart

Newly established Human Resources (HR) consultancy, Legacy iLifa, has worked with a small rights holder in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery to provide valuable workplace experience for six young South Africans.

Shortly after its establishment in late 2019, Legacy iLifa Consulting began working with Nalitha Fishing, a young fishing company based in Hout Bay with interests in the hake deep-sea trawl, hake longline, tuna pole and west coast rock lobster fisheries.

Legacy iLifa’s task was to help Nalitha Fishing to comply with HR legislation by developing and submitting an employment equity and workplace skills plan; assist the company to attract and hire professional talent; implement training and coaching programmes; and advise on broad-based black economic empowerment legislation and regulations.

The opportunity to work with Nalitha Fishing on a full suite of HR tasks was a great opportunity, says Nomaxabiso Teyise, managing director and principal consultant in Legacy iLifa:

“Nalitha Fishing Group was our first client, which was great because sometimes as an entrepreneur you know your skills, you know your craft, but you don’t necessarily know how to start a business, so the fact that I had my first client was really great.”

Legacy iLifa was able to help Nalitha put in place basic HR requirements like contracts, payment structures and proper remuneration, but the partnership between the two young companies progressed to the establishment of a 12-month formal learnership/internship programme that assisted six young South Africans to gain vital workplace training and experience.

The interns were drawn from all over South Africa and have a variety of qualifications, from financial administration to operations management and human resources.

“They got a learning opportunity, on-the-job experience, and some of them are going to be offered permanent jobs,” explains Teyise.

“What I really like about the partnership with Nalitha Fishing is that it is a business with heart. We’re doing business but we’re also making a very positive impact in communities and we’re giving people a hand up.”

Even in the face of the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, Legacy iLifa has developed and grown, attracting business from companies across the full spectrum of the economy.  Whereas the company offers a wide range of HR services, what is most appealing to managing director Teyise is the opportunity to work with companies on transforming the economy and the country.

“The reason my company is called Legacy iLifa is that we as a country come from a legacy of exclusion and it’s had a generational impact – young people are still suffering from what happened in the past. My company has been set up to shift the narrative and create a different legacy, making sure that people are included, that they have dignity and can look after themselves,” she explains.

Teyise believes the fishing industry presents huge opportunity for South Africa.

“There are many companies like Nalitha Fishing that are opening doors for people to get into the value chain – not necessarily just in fishing itself – and if those companies that are doing the fishing are thriving, and you’ve got progressive leaders that are really interested in creating opportunities for others, then the sector becomes dynamic and vibrant and it can really accommodate a lot more within the value chain,” she says.