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Business Chamber appoints new President and Deputies

Jun 4, 2019
Business Chamber appoints new President and Deputies

Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has appointed its new President to take over from Thomas Schaefer, the outgoing President, as his two two-year tenure came to an end.

The newly elected President Dr Andrew Muir (Wilderness Foundation) will be supported by two Deputies Prof Sibongile Muthwa, a Vice Chancellor at Nelson Mandela University and Saki Macozoma (VW SA).

“I am excited to serve on a Board which has such a strong skills set representing members from across the industry, businesses at all levels, civil society and education.  Our local economy has stagnated over the past few years and as a Chamber, it is important that we work with the various stakeholders to promote the creation of an enabling environment,” Muir said. 

"This requires that we adopt a Back to Basics approach, which must be complemented by a strong advocacy drive. 

"This means that going forward the Chamber Board will need to take on a much more active role in engaging members and key stakeholders in rebuilding the city. The new Board is committed to putting the best interests of the city and its people first."

Dr Muir is the CEO of both Wilderness Foundation Africa and Wilderness Foundation Global. He is one of South Africa’s most influential conservationists and social entrepreneurs. Andrew has regularly been nationally and internationally recognised for his success in integrating conservation programmes with social and development interventions.

He was mentored by conservation icon Dr Ian Player for 13 years and took over his legacy in the management of the various organisations that he had founded, including the world-famous Wilderness Leadership School and Wilderness Foundation.

Muir sits on the boards of various conservation and business organisations in South Africa as well as globally. During his career, he has shown strong advocacy abilities – a quality that will come in handy in his new position.

Also, the Business Chamber has retained some of its long-serving Board Members to retain institutional knowledge, while Odwa Mtati, Gugu Nxiweni, Mkhuseli Faku, and Gary Markson have been roped in to infuse new energy in the organisation.

These new appointments are linked to the Business Chamber’s strategy where its transformational agenda is driven by a collaboration between academia, business, government, and civil society.

Outgoing President Thomas Schaefer will remain on the board as Immediate Past President and part of Board Exco, while the new President will immediately take up his seat to drive the Business Chamber’s strategic goals. During his tenure, Schaefer oversaw the implementation of the organisation’s new strategy – the Triple-Helix model of collaboration – between government, academia, and business. The model itself has since been revised to include civil society; thus making it a Quadruple Helix model.

“It has been an honour and priviledge to serve as the President of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. I leave knowing that it is in good hands and capacitated with strong, dedicated and competent people to realise its vision and strategic goals,” Schaefer said.

Business Chamber CEO Nomkhita Mona said the organisation has successfully located its activities within the economy of the region. The main aim is to transform the entire value chain of business in the region.

“The Board members have been actively involved and supportive. Thomas (Schaefer) has been an amazing and enabling President. His Presidency was marked by a progressive approach to the broader growth of the economy of the region. I am looking forward to working with the new President and Deputies in taking the Business Chamber to the next level,” Mona said.

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