Finally, a district forum for Cacadu businesses

AUGUST 1, 2014

A new district-wide forum for businesses, the Cacadu Business Development Forum (CBDF), was launched on the 20th of March in Kirkwood, in the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality.

“The CBDF is a pilot initiative – currently, the only one of its kind in the Eastern Cape, by the National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) in partnership with the Cacadu District Municipality,” said its inaugural Chairperson, Lungile Mxube. Mxube is a businessman from the Makana Local Municipality and also the current chairperson of the Makana United Business Chamber (MUBC).

He said that the CBDF is a platform for business stakeholders from around the Cacadu District to come together and express their needs as well as lend support to the District and local municipalities in areas of socio-economic growth.

 “We intend to assist the District in reviewing its Economic Masterplan, which includes socio-economic intervention programmes such as grants and poverty alleviation projects as well as its infrastructure development planning – which is a big challenge in our District.

“The CBDF also seeks to ensure that businesses assists government in job creation, while strengthening partnerships between the local business community and government in our journey to build a better life for our people,” Mxube explained.

 “Our focus is to bring together those who are already managing their businesses and also to nurture those that are just starting or growing by identifying what we call catalytic business venture projects.”

He said that the CBDF has an Executive Committee, which is comprised of representatives from different business chambers from the local municipalities of the Cacadu District Municipality.

“However, we have found that in some local municipalities, there are challenges in organising businesses into a local forum or business chamber. So, currently represented is the Makana United Business Chamber as well as business structures from Camdeboo, Kouga and Ndlambe local municipalities,” said Mxube.

He said that, since the term of office for every Executive Committee of the CBDF will be two years, they were already working towards progress in achieving some of their goals, including improving investment income and economic growth in the District.

“Going forward, we also want to form sector forums. For example, we are looking to establishing a Cacadu District Emerging Constructors Forum, for the construction industry; a Cacadu District Hospitality and Tourism Development Forum, to boost local tourism; and a Cacadu District SMME and Local Economic Development Forum to ensure that all businesses in our District belong to a forum,” described Mxube.

“Those forums will have Executive Committees and their chairpersons will be ex officio members of the CBDF. We will then take those sector forums to a local level, where we will have, for instance, the Makana Emerging Contractors Forum for those involved in construction around Makana. Once again, the chairpersons and secretaries of those local sector forums will become ex officio members of local business chambers.”

He said that every three months, the CBDF will host a Cacadu District Business Council, which will be attended by around 500 delegates over a number of days to review policies and progress made by the Cacadu District Municipality and the CBDF in promoting business and investment for sustainable economic growth in the region.

Mxube urged Cacadu District SMME’s and larger businesses to join the CBDF.

 “Membership to the CBDF is open to all local business associations, forums or chambers. All local businesses – whether they are SMME’s or large corporates - are welcome to join their local chamber, which will in turn send delegates to represent them on the CBDF,” he said.

He said that, as an interim arrangement, the Cacadu District Municipality was providing the CBDF with administrative support so anyone needing more information on the CBDF can contact the municipality’s economic development department on 041 508 7111.