Gqeberha: 05 June 2023
New leadership of the South Africa chapter of the Women in the Maritime in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA) has committed to hitting the ground running to ensure that development of country’s women in the maritime sector do not only make up for lost time but also stay abreast of new trends globally.
This is according to Ms Phyllis Difeto, the new chairperson of the eight (8) member WOMESA South Africa Chapter leadership elected during the relaunch of the structure in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 31 May 2023 following a few years of inactivity.
Among those who attended the two day event in Nelson Mandela Bay to lend support to the resuscitation of the domestic WOMESA chapter were Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga along with representatives of various public and private maritime sector business institutions, the Eastern Cape government as well as the Nelson Mandela Bay local government.
In her address of the event on Tuesday, attended by about 150 women in the maritime sector from across the country, Ms Chikunga urged that the election of the new all-women WOMESA South Africa chapter leadership should be premised primarily on development priorities for women in maritime, rather than on personalities; mindful of both a groundswell of support it can bank on across the region, but also of pockets of re-emerging blatant resistance in South Africa to multiracialism, transformation, and equitable development of all the country’s people.
For Ms Chikunga’s full remarks, click on the video below
WOMESA, an eastern and southern African structure now with membership in 25 countries and chapters in 13 of these, was founded in 2007 initially involving five (5) countries, among them South Africa. However, the domestic chapter collapsed and remain inoperational for a number of years, in the process, undermining women in maritime developmental efforts, but especially in South Africa.
According to Ms Difeto in an exclusive interview, that situation will have to change, fast, through among other things; ensuring a functional, attentive and focussed structure living up to its constituency’s expectations and aspirations.
“We can no longer make excuses for our failures,” she said, while describing her election to lead the revived WOMESA chapter as both humbling, and reflective of faith and trust the country’s women in the maritime sector have in her.
For her full remarks, click on the video below.
The relaunch of the WOMESA South Africa chapter in Gqeberha also had the blessing of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which, in a brief message, committed itself to render such support as may be needed from time to time.
For IMO Africa representative, Mr William Azuh’s message – delivered on his behalf by Ms Nokuzola Nkowane, Acting CEO of Ports Regular South Africa – click on the video below.
Various other organisations including WOMESA’s executive based in Mombasa, Kenya; the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Eastern Cape government, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), AMSOL, Heron-Marine, and WISTA also expressed their support of the initiative.
Below are some of their statements as delivered by assigned representatives.
This blog further sat down with SAMSA Chief Information Officer (CIO) Mr Ndzimeni Ramugondo and whose six (6) months term as the entity’s Acting CEO ended on Wednesday last week, to establish the significance and importance of the rescucitation of the WOMESA South Africa Chapter from the Transport Department agency’s perspective.