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New direction for Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber announced at AGM

May 11, 2017
New direction for Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber announced at AGM

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is entering a period of renewal and is on the brink of exciting new changes and developments as an organisation.

This according to outgoing president Ian Nicholls, who was delivering his address at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday night.

Nicholls said the Business Chamber’s change in direction was as a consequence of the changes in the business environment. He encouraged the member companies in attendance at the AGM to embrace all the changes they experienced in the economy as opportunities, rather than just as challenges, and to be open to new ideas.

Reflecting on the past year, Nicholls highlighted the following milestones:

  • The roll-out of a new strategic plan, with lobbying and advocacy becoming the foundational enablers to drive the implementation of key projects and initiatives which will positively impact upon the business operating environment. 
  • The elevation of the role of the Business Chamber’s Task Teams to address issues which are critical in ensuring that an enabling business environment is in place. The Task Teams have been focused on the areas of electricity, water, transport and logistics, roads and storm water, small business development and greater collaboration with the Metro. 
  • The Business Chamber taking the lead in ensuring that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa limited Eskom’s 2017 tariff increase to only 2.2%, thus benefitting all electricity users across the country.
  • The adoption of a stronger focus on collaborating with stakeholders on projects which have a strategic significance for the region.

“As we move forward, you can expect the Business Chamber to adopt more of a disruptor approach – in other words being a Business Chamber which questions the status quo and is always seeking the most impactful way to deliver high impact results,” Nicholls said.

While the Business Chamber will continue to act in the best interest of its members, Nicholls said it will do so by having a dynamic, agile structure in place which is able to respond rapidly to changes in the environment. He said that the Business Chamber would need to work more closely with local stakeholders to develop and implement an aligned vision for the City and to take on more of a developmental role, further strengthen the Task Teams to ensure that issues are identified and resolved in a sustainable manner, and instill a greater focus in servicing the needs of members.

Nicholls, in accordance with the Business Chamber’s practices, will step down as President following his two-year tenure at the end of this month [subs: 30 May]. The election of new office bearers, including a new President and Deputy Presidents, will take place at the first board meeting of the newly elected Board.

New board members elected and announced at the AGM last night were:

  • Dr Sibongile Muthwa (NMMU Deputy Vice Chancellor: Institutional Support);
  • Loyiso Dotwana (lLISO Consulting Director);
  • Bongi Siwisa (Bongi Siwisa Development Services Managing Member); and
  • Cyril Peters (Alpha Pharm East Cape General Manager).

The two current board members re-elected on rotation were:

  • Sakumzi Saki Macozoma (VWSA Board Member); and
  • Dr Andrew Muir (Wilderness Foundation).

Nicholls thanked former Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler for the role he played in representing business in the facilitation and promotion of economic development in the Metro. In the interim Prince Matonsi, Operations Manager, is serving as Acting CEO of the Business Chamber. 

As a prelude to the formal recruitment process, Dr Pierre Voges has been appointed to develop a proposed future strategy for the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, which will ensure that the Business Chamber is well positioned to serve the changing needs of business in the Metro.

Once a comprehensive strategy has been developed and carries Board approval, a recruitment process to identify a suitable CEO will be initiated.