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Hermanus Times
Hermanus Business Chamber responds to the call for a shut-down

Message from the Chairperson:

Dear Chamber Members and Business Friends,

“The Hermanus Business Chamber notes with deep disappointment the planned protest action, as it will impact negatively on trade for our members who are already under strain with current load shedding schedules and the negative economic impact of previous demonstrations.  We do however welcome the notice period and, undertaking for a peaceful and lawful demonstration. Where possible we encourage members to grant employees leave should they wish to participate. Unfortunately the “no work no pay principle”  will apply to those workers who participate in the planned demonstrations without the required approved leave.   

This has been an unusual year with extreme economic challenges to all.

At a national level we had changes in political leadership, multiple increases in the fuel price, a recent increase in bank lending rates and various service protests all over the country. In the Overstrand we had our own social unrest which, without any doubt has affected every single resident in our area. How exactly each of us was impacted will be the focus of many studies, arguments and introspections in the years to come.

With all of these “reality checks” it is easy to forget about some of the success stories. These have put the Overstrand in general and specifically Hermanus in the spotlight for the right reasons. Herewith a few of our success stories which would not have happened, if it were not for the active and supporting roles of some of our members:

·         Another Cape Epic Cycling tour in our area;

·         The Walker Bay extreme was very successful and brought visitors to Hermanus who made the best of the extra long weekend;

·         The Fyn Arts festival had its usual positive energy;

·         Patrons of The Kalfiefees also brought a positive injection, especially into the restaurants;

·         The Whale Festival, in its 26th year, has become synonymous with our town and, “our whales’ did not disappoint, with one of the best whale watching seasons recorded in many years ;

·         The Second Annual Global Golf Challenge brought some of the best international lady golfers into town and, without any doubt, this event has grown significantly in stature and success from the last tournament

·         The beginning of the Hermanus Varsity Trust which will attempt to facilitate access and support for tertiary education in Hermanus.

We have experienced an active year with many networking marketing opportunities for our members at various venues. Probably one of our proudest moments must have been the Chamber’s close co-operation with the Western Cape Government and Overstrand Tourism in facilitating Service Excellence Training Courses to uplift the level of Service delivery in our area. A consequent competition with informed adjudication led to several of our members receiving cash prizes and certificates. Congratulations once again to all the winners, including the overall winner Gilbert Muchanyare from Gilbert’s Catering, and one of our Committee members Michael Bayer from ‘Hermanus has Heart’, who was a finalist. We are very proud of the recognition that these members received and look forward to a new focus on this initiative in 2019.

We have also had our fair share of members who moved on and out of Hermanus although we are very thankful for a list of new members who joined us in the past year. A special word of welcome to each of the following new members:

     Winterstand (Band), Kennedy's Beach Villa , Africa Blue , Lavender Guest House, Momentum , JC Storebeck , De Bliquey Nicky (Accounting), De Bliquey Brandon(Builders Warehouse) , Rola VW Hermanus , Rossouw Modern Art,  Figure Diggers , Agrimark,  CSM , Dick van der Zee , The Art Shop , Curro Hermanus , Dr Adri Louw , Wrap , El Al , ABSA Hermanus and the Hermanus Art Galleries.

The Chamber is a registered NPO and cannot continue to offer these services unless our members pay their membership fees, and we gain more new members. We appeal to all businesses in the Overstrand to help us make your voice stronger, giving you representation at high level with relevant authorities and government. It can only benefit you. Email info@hermanuschamber.co.za for more info and a membership form and list of benefits. Currently we have established the following portfolio’s:

·         Infrastructure & Planning, Retail & CBD Regeneration

·         Economic Development & SMME Assistance

·         Training and Community Services

·         Tourism, Marketing and Communication, Festivals & Events

·         Safety, Security & Protection

·         Legal resources

·         Corporate Social Responsibility

·         Environment & Conservation

·         Arts & Crafts

·         Health & Wellness

·         Friends of the Business Chamber

·         Membership

 

The Chamber is not immune to change and the need for ongoing introspection is vital. As a matter of urgency, to ensure that we remain relevant to the increasing need for support to our members, early in the new-year, we will need to embark on a comprehensive revision of our purpose, objectives and strategies. We are encouraged by the overwhelming support received from members for a mandate to reach out to stakeholders who endorse constructive dialogue, law and order and preservation of jobs. The further exploration of exactly what this implies and what it might require is an exciting journey as it can only take us forward.

 

We are working to avoid any negative impact on any business in the Overstrand and specifically our members. However, this journey might take us through some unknown territory and will require courage and patience with each other. We have seen instances this year where some of our members have lost-out on business opportunities due to increased competition, which is part of doing business and, that is acceptable. However; what we as a Chamber can no longer endure, is where jobs are either lost or not created due to policy uncertainty and/or inconsistent enforcement of by-laws, regulations and legislation. These instances in 2018 did not take us forward and should be avoided at all costs in 2019.

 

We want to wish you all a positive festive season and may we continue with more credibility and steadfastness in the new-year. (Please note that Martin Fisher will be standing in for Alta Pretorius as the secretariat during her well-deserved holiday break – Martin can be reached at info@busineschamber.co.za).

 

Gideon Serfontein – Chairman

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