Tough times in business call for greater action: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber

MAY 20, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday night called on companies in the city to get proactively involved in lobbying for an enabling environment and to constructively work with key stakeholders to develop solutions which will stimulate the local economy.

In his Annual Report, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President Ian Nicholls acknowledged that the AGM comes at a particularly challenging time in South Africa’s economy.

“It is during challenging times, that we as business should be spurred into action. Instead of watching from the side-lines, we should rather be focused on taking the right steps to influence key outcomes.”

For this reason the Board used the first few months of this year to integrate the Business Chamber’s Strategy more deeply within the various structures of the organisation to ensure a focus on priorities such as making sure that the Business Chamber is structured to deliver in line with its objectives; ensuring that value-adding services are offered to members; direct and regular engagement with the Metro Executive; and more robust sharing of feedback to members.

Nicholls said another priority for the Board for 2016 was the alignment of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Task Teams - consisting of volunteers from member companies - to the Business Chamber’s core priorities.

“The Business Chamber must be the leading force in ensuring that an enabling environment is in place – one in which our members and business in general can succeed. The Task Teams in particular will play a critical role in ensuring delivery in key priority areas such as water, electricity, roads, transport and logistics, Metro collaboration and SMEs,” Nicholls said.

AGM guest speaker STANLIB Head of Retail Investment Marketing Cliff Coxwell, who presented a talk titled “Global and South African Economic Update”, said the South African business sector needs a boost in confidence and encouragement to invest.

“With the agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction sectors being in recession and with a muted growth outlook of 0.5% for 2016, it is imperative that public and in particular private sector fixed investment takes place. Without this, it is going to be difficult to lift SA’s growth rate as well as formal sector employment on a sustainable basis,” Coxwell said.

Members attending the AGM elected new incumbents to the Board. Gary Markson (Standard Bank), Mahomed Hoosain (AIDC Eastern Cape), Tshiwela Mhlantla (Absa) and Garth Wright (Wright Surveillance) are the new board members elected to fill the four vacancies, while all seven existing board members, who were rotating as per the Business Chamber’s Refreshing Policy, were re-elected.

The Office Bearers, including the President (Ian Nicholls), his deputy presidents (MC Botha and Cumesh Moodliar) and the treasurer (Simoné Mao-Cheia) as well as immediate past president (Mandla Madwara), will remain in their positions for the coming year.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler said the Business Chamber prides itself on the caliber of individuals who voluntarily serve on the Board each year – to advance the interest of business sustainability in the city.

“I would like to thank all our esteemed board members for their dedication and commitment to the Business Chamber over the past year. Thank you in particular for the clear direction that you have given us in 2015/16 and the guidance with driving our Strategy and the implementation of the new task team structures this year.”

“This will all go a long way to delivering more value to our members in the year to come,” Hustler said.