About 200 maritime industry guests provided a much-needed injection of festive cheer at last month’s SABBEX Legends and Trailblazers event in Cape Town, which culminated in industry awards for several stalwarts.
Industry stakeholders, some of whom may have been feeling a little stressed of late on account of depressing economic indicators, showed little sign of wilting at the Kelvin Grove function, buoyed by inspiring guest speaker Skip Novak and the presence of Mr Dumisani Ntuli, DG for Maritime in the National Department of Transport.
“As SABBEX, we felt it was time to reinstate the annual industry awards dinners last hosted about ten years ago. It is an opportunity for everyone to get together and celebrate our achievements which often fall under the radar. It is a time to take stock of the achievements of many and to reflect on where we are as an industry. Next year will be bigger and we want to hear about notable artisans and women in the boating industry,” said Vanessa Davidson of SABBEX.
Event speakers struck a positive note, highlighting sector achievements in recent years. James Vos, the City of Cape Town’s head of economic opportunities and asset management, confirmed the City’s goal of bolstering the City’s reputation as a boat building hub: “We will be exploring more opportunities in the boat building sector to position ourselves as global leaders,” Vos said.
Wesgro’s Tim Harris spoke of the sector’s economic contribution and employment potential.
Davidson paid tribute to the award winners: “They are the legends who have built the South African industry to the globally recognised industry it is today. They continue to blaze the way forward with new innovations, designs and production processes, maintaining South Africa’s reputation for quality design, quality product and excellent customer service,” she said.