Ricochet News

Hermanus Business Chamber set to assist members in new economic landscape

Jul 23, 2018
Hermanus Business Chamber set to assist members in new economic landscape

“The Hermanus Business Chamber needs to adapt to the changing environment in which businesses in our town operate. Not only is the town growing and the number of businesses operating here increasing by the day. The happenings of the last few weeks have changed the business landscape forever and the challenges facing our members are becoming more complex by the day,” says newly elected Chair of Hermanus Business Chamber, De Waal Steyn.

“With this in mind, the Hermanus Business Chamber is positioning itself to assist all our members in navigating these changes and helping to build a bright future for businesses in our area. The current situation has left many businesses in crisis and a needs analysis done by the chamber shows that staff, stock, transport and legal and financial advice is what our members need most,” he said.

According to a press release by the Chamber the ripple effect of the situation in Zwelihle will be felt in coming months.

“There are huge implications for all residents of Hermanus. The knock-on effect of loss of income and the loss of wages will seriously impact our local economy. Some businesses have already reported losses in excess of 40% compared to last year. Many business owners say they are at a loss for words and concerned for the future of their business, our town and our region. Mass unemployment due to the continued stayaway will have a social and humanitarian impact on our region,” the release states.

The Chamber says in a bid to rescue the situation a collective approach is needed.

“It is our vision to create an association to represent Hermanus businesses, social groupings, civil society and community stakeholders. The election of a strong management committee enables us to work with all stakeholders to promote the interest of business. A strong membership base will also give us an authoritative voice to hold the authorities accountable.

“It is not business as usual and we need to accept that. In our diversity there is strength and the voices of our members are important in mandating the Chamber in plotting its course. We have already started with several initiatives to assist our members. These include Needs analysis assisting with a volunteer and skills database, a tourist information hotline and service excellence training in conjunction with the Western Cape Government.”

More than 100 members attended the meeting and apart from the Chairman De Waal Steyn, Hamish Hofmeyr was elected as Vice-chairman, Heinrich Gillen as Treasurer and Alta Pretorius as Secretary. The elected members of the Management Committee are: Anneke Otto, Frieda Lloyd, Gideon Serfontein, Gilbert Munchanyare, Jana Smith, Joke Gonggrijp, Lincoln Johnson, Margaret Motsoene, Marietjie Dalbock, Michelle Botha and Wihan Jansen van Rensburg.

The Portfolios are:

  •  Economic Development, Infrastructure and Planning
  • Training and Community Services
  • Tourism
  • Marketing and communication
  • Safety, security and protection
  • Hermanus CBD Regeneration/Retail
  • Festivals and events
  • SMME Assistance
  • Legal Resources
  • Environment

The membership also took six resolutions with regards to the current issues facing Hermanus. These resolutions are:

 1. The Chamber supports the intervention of the Police Minister and the peaceful resolution of the crisis.

2. The membership will, where possible, ensure that employees who were prevented from going to work trough situations beyond their control be reemployed and assisted in reintegrating into the economy of Hermanus.

3. Businesses who have the financial capability and are willing will assist their staff on an ad-hoc basis by paying all or part the lost wages for those workers were prevented from coming to work. The decision to pay wages will be left to the discretion of the individual business owners.

4. Business owners who are able will assist employees in replacing their houses and belongings if it was lost due to the violence.

5. The Business Chamber will assist in creating mental health facilities to assist children who were affected by the violence. Learners who were forced to miss school will be assisted to catch up on the work that they have missed.

6. Trauma counselling will also be made available to all members of society.

“We wish to pledge our support as a business community and will work with all stakeholders to restore our economy to the thriving force it was,” the Chairman said.

Businesses who would like to become part of the Chamber can contact Alta Pretorius at 028-3151619 or email hermanusbusinesschamber@gmail.com or ceo@hermanuschamber.co.za.

The Chamber has grown phenomenally during the past year and approximately 100 business people usually attend the meetings. The Chamber has members as far as Cape Town and Napier, and all over the Overstrand.  It is working towards facilitating an umbrella business forum for all interested business groupings in the area as equal partners.

The membership fee has not increased and is still very affordable at only R450 per year for businesses with less than 5 employees, or R900 per year for larger businesses. The Bank details are: Hermanus Business Chamber, Standard Bank Hermanus, branch code: 050312, Account no: 082257833.  Use your company’s name as reference and e-mail proof of payment to ceo@hermanuschamber.co.za

Main image: The Executive team of the Hermanus Business Chamber: l.t.r: Alta Pretorius (secrtetary), Hamish Hofmeyr (Vice-president), Heinrich Gillen (Treasurer) and De Waal Steyn (Chairman). They will be assisted by a Management Committee of 11 with various Portfolios. (Credit to Hedda Mittner from The Village News for this photo).

Above: Some of the business people attending the AGM of the Hermanus Business Chamber on Thursday 19th July at The Windsor Hotel