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Gvt must avail more funds for NSRI - Parliament

Gvt must avail more funds for NSRI - Parliament

The Portfolio Committee on Transport on Tuesday called on government to consider increasing the capacity of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) by availing financial resources to the entity.

Committee Chairperson, Dikeledi Magadzi, said the Committee was excited about the work of the sea rescuers.

“Sea rescue activities speak to what the government wants to achieve through Operation Phakisa (government programme that seeks to rapidly leverage the economic benefits the sea offers), and the risks associated. The Committee is excited and will support any calls aimed at resourcing the NSRI as an entity,” she said.

The Committee received a briefing from NSRI and it was revealed that the Institute conducted 70 sea evacuations annually but the Institute was facing challenges pertaining to lack of financial resources, helicopters and technical skills.

Dr Cleeve Robertson said the effective way of dealing with sea rescue operations was best with helicopters, and that the NSRI lacked technical skills to run operations.

“The operations become even risky for the volunteers we use. Mass casualty evacuations are a kind of an operation that is suited to the Air Force and Defence Force,” Dr Robertson said.

He pleaded with Members to engage with the Portfolio Committee on Defence so that sea rescue volunteers are trained for technical skills required in the field, and that more helicopters are availed for this purpose.

Magadzi said an interaction with the Committee on Defence should happen in the future and that the Committee will see how it takes this important task forward.