Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma will today launch the first phase of Operation Phakisa – an initiative aimed at fast-tracking the delivery of the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP).

President Zuma first announced Operation Phakisa during his reply to the State of the Nation Address debate, last month.

The operation is modelled around the government of Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology, which they used to address their national key priority areas such as, poverty, crime and unemployment.

It involves setting up clear targets and follows up with on-going monitoring process which makes the results public.

Through this initiative, the Malaysian government was able to register impressive results within a short period.

The NDP, also known as Vision 2030, is the country’s 30-year framework for growing the economy while tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality.

First Phase of Operation Phakisa

The first implementation of Operation Phakisa will be led by the Department of Environmental Affairs which will focus on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

According to the Presidency, the country’s oceans are estimated to have the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to GDP by 2033.

“There is massive untapped economic potential related to the oceans, in the areas of marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and marine protection services and governance,” spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

Blue economy strategy

In order to make full use of its oceans’ potential, the South African government is in the process of developing a blue economy strategy.

Last month, Environmental Affairs Deputy Director General Dr Monde Mayekiso said technology was unlocking the resources that lie within the ocean and the sustainable use of these resources will have a meaningful contribution towards the ability to create jobs in years to come.

“Much of our ocean remains unexplored and therefore there is a need to urgently gather information and describe what resources are available and how they can be used sustainably,” he said at the time.

Mayekiso was speaking following the gazetting of the White Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Ocean (NEMO) for implementation.

The White Paper on NEMO, which was approved by Cabinet in December 2013, aims to govern activities and role players with a stake in the ocean, in order to ensure optimal and sustainable use of the marine environment.

The NDP identified ocean economy as one of the key drivers to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

Mayekiso noted that the policy is in accordance with the South African constitution and is relevant to international laws, domestic legislation which includes the National Environment Act and associated supporting legislations.

“A number of key areas such as Aquaculture, Marine Transport, Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration would be crucial in growing the economy providing much needed jobs and improving prosperity while ensuring environmental sustainability and integrity,” Mayekiso said.

Second Phase of Operation Phakisa

The second implementation of Operation Phakisa will be to pilot the health sector’s Ideal Clinic Initiative to improve service delivery in the country’s clinics nationwide, which will commence later in 2014.

The health sector laboratory will be undertaken in collaboration with provinces, districts and clinic managers with the aim of producing a detailed plan for improving service delivery in public sector clinics in all provinces, including indicators, targets and timeframes; and a guideline for clinic managers to develop and sustain these improvements.

Operation Phakisa is suited to priorities whose success depends on the collaboration of different stakeholders.