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Maritime Chamber

The Executive Officer of TETA’s Maritime Chamber is Victor Muhlberg. Muhlberg, with his team based in Cape Town, oversees the implementation of TETA’s mandate in the Western Cape.

About the Maritime Subsector

More than 95% of South African trade (by volume) is moved by sea through the country’s seven commercial ports—thus placing South Africa in the top 12 sea-trading nations. The maritime subsector represents a workforce drawn mainly from port authorities, fishing and merchant shipping environment.

It is estimated that only 0.3% of global carrying capacity is currently controlled by South African companies, which highlights significant growth opportunities available in this subsector. Through the Ocean Economy initiative of Operation Phakisa, this subsector has been prioritised by government for job creation, social and economic development and improved competitiveness; and earmarked for speedier and more effective implementation of emergent policies and programmes in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030.

TETA’s Role in the Maritime Subsector

The maritime subsector encompasses activities on all vessels used at sea. In practice this includes deep-sea, ports, fishing and affiliated sectors (a broad term to cover internal waterways and associated sectors). The industry is classified as follows: Ocean and Coastal Fishing; Water Transport; Coastal Shipping; Ocean Shipping and Inland Water Transport

TETA’s Maritime Chamber is one of the implementation units for TETA’s strategic plan; and, with focus on maritime matters, attempts to align industry needs to TETA commitments and mandates.


Current challenges that TETA faces in the implementation of its mandate within the maritime subsector include:

  • Delays in registering seafaring qualifications on the national qualification framework (NQF)—the continued disjuncture between international maritime standards and requirements (administered by the South African Maritime Safety Authority) and the NQF make it difficult to establish integrated processes for skills development practices in this subsector;
  • Enlisting skills development support for small companies—especially in the fishing industry (which are afflicted by multiple sets of legislation/requirements for fishing-quotas) and ensuring that such support can be aligned to the seasonality within the various fishing subsectors;
  • Limited resources and systems required to integrate the different user needs—the subsector has diverse users with vastly different needs which often cut across other SETAs’ regulatory bodies or authorities.

Chamber Strategic Focus

Strategic planning will focus on the following:

  • Piloting and introducing the implementation of maritime studies into TVET curricula;
  • Developing learning material for newly registered occupational qualifications with the ultimate aim of ensuring consistency and accessibility across the sector;
  • Supporting alternative pathways of learning (through articulation of HET, TVET and industry programmes) for training maritime engineers and widening the base for students and unemployed people to enter the national cadet project;
  • Providing quality support and aligning our delivery mechanisms to the requirements of the subsector.

Key Achievements

Key achievements over the past five years include:

  • Providing high-level support and increasing participation of large and medium sized levy-paying enterprises in skills development;
  • Funding full scholarships for post-graduate maritime studies—the scholarships target South African nationals with full funding for MSc or PhD studies in maritime affairs at the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden;
  • Increasing participation in new venture creation training through the drafting of approved curriculum/course material for the NVC level 2 qualification. The material was drafted and the approved material has subsequently been distributed to willing training providers nationwide. In addition, the unit has supported various new venture creation projects inclusive of 80 NVC skills programmes and 40 NVC learnerships, 150 learners on sustainability and mentorship to micro-enterprises;
  • Funding the development of 11 occupational qualifications (including able seafarer, dockmaster, commercial diving, fishing skipper, etc.);
  • Supporting the SA Oil & Gas Alliance (SAOGA) with a three-year programme to develop 208 artisans in marine and sub-sea apprenticeships (disciplines include boiler-making, millwright, pipe fitting, welding, etc.). The programme is supported by the Western Cape provincial government (Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism);
  • Participating fully in the working groups of Operation Phakisa (i.e. Aquaculture, Oil & Gas Exploration, Maritime Transport & Manufacturing and Marine Protection & Governance);
  • Implementing a memorandum of understanding between TETA and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to support the environmental awareness initiative. Accordingly, the parties have agreed on focused interventions aimed at supporting and uplifting rural fishers in a manner that will contribute towards the long-term sustainability of the sector;
  • Together with the UIF, funded the training of over 108 unemployed candidates in open water diving (with an advanced level/specialisation). The project is aligned to TETA’s transformational imperatives (targeting black and female candidates) as well as the maritime HRD strategy, in that it assists to develop the skills-base needed to transform the subsector;
  • Supporting rural interventions through various contracts; in particular, the upliftment of unemployed individuals (fishers) on the south east (Gansbaai, Hawston) and west coast of the Western Cape with interventions that include first aid at sea, marine firefighting and electronic navigation systems (aligned to STCW-Fishing) as well as AET programmes delivered to the rural communities along the coastline of the Eastern Cape.

Employer and Employee representatives:

The chamber committee is currently comprised of representatives from the following employer and employee organisations:

  • Marine Industry Association of SA
  • Transport & Logistics Employers Association
  • Seafarers Employer Organisation
  • Deep Sea Trawl Association
  • Trawler and Line Fisherman’s Workers Union (TALFU)
  • United National Transport Union (UNTU)
  • SA Transport & Allied Workers Union (SATAWU)

Statutory bodies:

In pursuing the national maritime agenda, the maritime chamber works closely with the following bodies:

  • South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
  • South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)
  • Department of Transport (DOT)
  • Transnet, National Ports Authority (NPA)

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011 577 7000 / 011 577 7040
031 301 9614
021 819 9601
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