My name is Mashudu Nepfumbada, the Deputy Director of Ship and Port Security at the National Department of Transport in South Africa. I am responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code at all nine South African commercial ports. Additionally, I manage the Maritime Security Coordination Centre (MSCC), which serves as the custodian of maritime security in the country.
Ms. Lindelani Mashudu Nepfumbada
2. How has women’s participation helped the DCoC/JA mandate since inception to date?
The participation of women in the DCoC/JA over the last decade has significantly enhanced awareness of this international instrument. Through capacity-building initiatives, women have gained institutional knowledge, enabling them to excel in global maritime security matters. The DCoC/JA has heeded the call and addressed the question of “Women’s role and participation in the security agenda.” Driven by the natural inclination for diversity, women have responded to the need for national governments to develop strategies and policies to safeguard maritime trade through a whole of government approach. The integration of these efforts has resulted in a risk-based approach that supports capacity building.
As the Chinese proverb goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Women have made remarkable strides in coordinating and harmonizing security measures to prevent illicit activities within the maritime domain. However, we still aspire to see women empowered to take a leading role in high-level meetings and, most importantly, to represent their countries in signing and acceding to crucial regional and international instruments.
Ms. Mashudu (front right) listens in during the 2022 DCoC/JA High- Level meeting held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
3. What do you intend to celebrate during the International Women in Maritime Day celebrations on May 18, 2023?
I intend to celebrate the sustainability measures being implemented for women working in the maritime security sector. Due to gender inequality and the prevailing patriarchal dominance, women often encounter push factors that necessitate a comfortable and inclusive working environment. Over the years, initiatives such as the Maritime SheEO Conference, associations such as Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) among others, have been embraced to ensure growth and sustainability of women’s networks within the sector.
From a personal perspective, I have been greatly empowered at the national level to lead strategic matters in maritime security since the COVID-19 pandemic. On this important day, it is crucial to acknowledge that my participation in DCoC/JA programs has provided excellent opportunities for personal growth. I do take cognizance and appreciate the role played by men in elevating women like myself to become prominent figures in the global maritime sector. We value the ongoing support as we work towards advancing effective maritime security strategies and policies for economic development.