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MCom Study on Governance and Regulation of South African Ports

April 18, 2017

Ms Marissa Damons. 

One of the leading women in South Africa’s Maritime sector, Ms Marissa Damons, has been awarded a Master of Commerce Degree in Maritime Studies from UKZN.

Damons is the Legal Executive at the Ports Regulator of South Africa, a body tasked with exercising the economic regulation of the ports system in line with Government’s strategic objectives - the promotion of equity of access to ports and to port facilities and services and the monitoring of the activities of the Authority to ensure that it performs its functions in accordance with the National Ports Act.

Her responsibilities are to oversee the conduct of compliance audits on the Authority as well as to report to the Minister of Transport on substantive issues within the port system that may or will directly impact the South African economy from the ports’ perspective due to non-compliance with the National Ports Act.

“A Critical Review of the South African Port Governance Structure and its Impact on Port Performance and Competition”, was the title of her dissertation under the supervision of UKZN's Maritime Studies expert, Professor Trevor Jones.

‘An important part of my job is looking at the intention of the drafters and legislators in drafting the National Commercial Ports Policy which gave rise to the National Ports Act and the duty that we have to ensure the rule of law is upheld in the interests of our country as a whole for the benefit of all its citizens and not just the protection of a select few.’

This is one of the reasons Damons decided to embark on her research with a quest to examine more scientifically whether what the initial drafters envisaged in terms of the South African governance model was still relevant in the current economic and governance context.

It is expected that her study will contribute immensely to the maritime sector as it reviewed the South African Port Governance Model and its specific relationship with port performance and either enhancing or reducing competition within the sector.

She compared the South African case to that of other developing countries and analysed the main characteristics of the South African governance model in relation to other countries, comparing the performance of those countries to South African port performance as well as the status of competition within the South African port context.

Damons lives life to the full - she is a mother of two, she obtained a purple belt in karate, she is getting ready to participate in her first ultra-marathon in Cape Town, and is also training for the Comrades Marathon to be held in June! She has also just recently completed a fitness instructor’s course!

In between all of this she finds time to work on a project looking at areas of amendment to the National Ports Act (12 of 2005) with the Department of Transport as well as research for and publication with her team at the Ports Regulator of a study titled: “Transformation in the South African Port System”.

‘My aim is to seize every opportunity possible on my journey to becoming the best person I can be and in so doing teach my children to do the same.’

She is indebted to her family saying: ‘The support of my amazing husband and children who were immensely proud of me, gave me the drive to push through when it all felt too much. This was not to mention the encouragement and incredible support of my supervisor Professor Trevor Jones - his passion, positivity and wit saw me through to the end of my masters journey.’

Hazel Langa

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