Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said that the South African National Defence Force's maritime security strategy will remain a priority for some years to come, Independent Online reports.
Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on her budget vote, Sisule said that South Africa's coastline spanned more than 3 000km, in three oceans, located on a major strategic shipping route. She added that almost 80 percent of the country's trade volume was by sea.
SA's maritime security strategy, created on the background of the ratification last year by the SADC heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) maritime security strategy, was "so comprehensive [...] that we have been able, within the shortest possible time, to respond to a request by the department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (DAFFS) to assist in performing the shipping management functions of the DAFFS fleet of vessels with effect from April 1, 2012."
"The economic spin-offs from our maritime strategy are amazing," sisulu said. Benefits range from preserving the livelihood of South Africa's fishermen to lowering the costs of doing business through SA ports, to the creation of a ship building industry in the country, Sisulu said, according to Independent Online.
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Read the Dept of Defence Budget Vote speech 2012 by Lindiwe Sisulu.