South Africa returns to WISTA International


The Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) International welcomed South Africa back into the global network of female managers in shipping. The relaunch of WISTA South Africa brings WISTA to 46 active National WISTA Associations (NWAs), and four active NWAs on the African continent.

“WISTA South Africa brings critical and important depth to our global network, creating additional connections in the shipping community,” said WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou. “We are very happy to welcome them back to WISTA International.”

“The WISTA South Africa team is excited for the opportunity to continue the great work done by founding WISTA South Africa members and previous Office Bearers since 2003,” said WISTA South Africa Chairperson Clare Gomes. “We’re now committed to diversifying and expanding our membership base in the private and government sector, and providing a platform for networking, as well as engaging on workplace inclusivity and equality issues. We’re inspired by the great work being done by WISTA International on a global platform and we also look forward to strengthening our connections with other National WISTA Associations and women’s organisations in Africa.”

WISTA South Africa is led by Clare Gomes, Strategic Planning & Communications Executive at African Marine Solutions Group (AMSOL). Gomes is joined on the leadership team by Cape Town Representative Eva Maloi, BBBEE Transformation &ESD Manager, Damen Shipyards Cape Town; General Secretary Mandy McGuire, Training Manager, Futuro Group; Treasurer Sheena Dias, Senior Associate, Webber Wentzel; and Compliance/Public Officer Anneke Wheelan, Partner at Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys.

Initial members part of the recent revival include Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, Port Manager – Port of Cape Town, Transnet National Ports Authority; Cate Kirkland, Corporate Business Development Manager, Sea Safety Training Group; Colleen Jacka, Editor, Maritime Review Africa; Pumla Makubalo, Strategic Sourcing Executive, AMSOL; Susanne Neubert, Sales Director, Speedcast; Debbie Owen, Head, Lawhill Maritime Centre; Terry Spreeth, SHEQ & Compliance Executiver, AMSOL; and Hilde Sturrock, Marketing Manager, Sturrock Grindrod; amongst others.

WISTA South Africa has focused its relaunch on Cape Town but plans to expand to Durban and Port Elizabeth in due course. Members of WISTA South Africa have already joined international events, joining nine other countries at the 6th Annual WISTA Africa Conference in Accra, Ghana earlier this month. WISTA South Africa was first launched in 2003 and fell dormant several years later.

WISTA International is an international networking organization for female managers in the shipping industry. WISTA International is comprised of 46 National WISTA Associations (NWA) around the world and nearly 3,000 members. 

WISTA was approved for consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July 2018, providing the organization with a formal voice for supporting IMO work in a variety of areas. It works with a wide variety of global maritime and governmental bodies to support professional development, opportunities and networking for female executives in the maritime industry.

WISTA has expanded significantly in the last few years. In 2018 WISTA welcomed several new National WISTA Associations including WISTA Portugal, WISTA Panama, WISTA Peru, WISTA Venezuela, WISTA Uruguay and WISTA Japan. 

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