Commander Tsietsi Mokhele

Founder Director and Chairperson, Elekhom Global

Commander Tsietsi Mokhele is the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (2008 – 2016), past and Founder President of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (2013 – 2016), and former member of the World Maritime University Board of Governors (2015 – 2016).

His maritime career started in 1986 whilst he was in exile serving in the liberation army of the African National Congress – MK; he studied at the Caspian Higher Naval College in the then Soviet Union, graduating in 1991 with a BSc Degree (Ship Navigation, Command).

On his return to South Africa, as part of the political transition to democracy, in 1993 – 1994 he was appointed to head the negotiations and process to establish the new South African Navy. In recognition of the leadership role he played in that regard, he was awarded the Commendation of the Chief of the Navy. Following South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 he was commissioned as a Senior Officer, holding the rank of Commander, serving on various combat ships in the navy fleet.

Commander Mokhele completed various military courses, including the Executive Defence Management at Wits University and staff courses within the Navy. Upon retiring from the South African Navy in 1997, he undertook further education, studying for a Masters Degree in Public and Development Management.

In 1999 – 2007 Commander Mokhele was employed by Portnet, the state owned Port Management Company in South Africa, as the Executive Manager – Marine Services. His responsibilities included maritime security and safety in all the 8 South African ports.

Commander Mokhele played an active role representing South African at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) sessions since 1999. Following the September 11 incidents, he led the South African delegations to the IMO to develop measures to secure the maritime sector, primarily the ISPS Code. He also served as the advisor to the South African government on Port and Maritime Security as the founder member of the Maritime Security Advisory Committee in South Africa. He participated in many security initiatives to improve legislative, regulatory and infrastructure capacity in Africa’s maritime domain and beyond.

In 2008 – 2016 Commander Mokhele was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the maritime administration – the South African Maritime Safety Authority. In that capacity he mobilized the African maritime industry to action, participating in key roles on the continental programmes in maritime security and safety, maritime industry and sector development strategy including AIMS2050 and many other African maritime policy initiatives such as the AU African Maritime Transport Charter (2009) through to the draft AU Lome Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development (2016). In 2013 – 2016, he was appointed founding President of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA).

In the South African context his biggest achievement was in 2014 when he led the process to develop and adopt the country’s first ever comprehensive and integrated maritime development programme which he had advocated for over many years – Operation Phakisa, South Africa’s Ocean Economy.

Commander Mokhele undertook many international courses in maritime and port security, port terminal management and general maritime affairs. He has been and continues to be invited as speaker to international conferences, seminars and training workshops on maritime affairs.

For his outstanding work in the maritime sector Commander Mokhele has received many recognition awards and honours, including the Maritime Newsmaker of the Year (2010), Businessman of the Year (2011), Platinum Visionary Leader (2011), Best Public Sector Leader (2012) and Africa Transport Personality of the Year (2012). Commander Tsietsi Mokhele is the proud recipient of the the Oliver Empowerment Lifetime Achievement Award (2013) and the Legend of Empowerment and Transformation (2015) in South Africa for his contribution to the development and transformation of society and industry.

Commander Tsietsi Mokhele is the Founder Director and Chairperson of ELEKHOM Global, a Group of Companies involved predominantly in the maritime and ocean economy sector.