Forward into 2022

2021-12-09  Loyiso Dotwana











Forward into 2022

Business Chamber President, Loyiso Dotwana


To say that 2021 has been a turbulent year is an understatement, and it is difficult to predict whether 2022 will bring some much-needed stability to our lives, our city and the economic environment.

The Chamber recognises that the current environment of change and uncertainty requires a fresh approach to how we deliver value to our members and how we lobby, advocate and influence as the voice of business. We have worked with the CEO and her team to develop a strategic plan that responds to the changing business environment and the needs of our members, and an organisational design that supports its execution.

Offering value to our members is absolutely fundamental and at the core of the strategic plan. Secondly, the Board and management have deliberately adopted an activist, action-oriented stance and fresh thinking on how we collaborate with other stakeholders in the interests of our members and business.

Although the new plan will be officially rolled out from January, the thinking behind it can already be seen in initiatives over the past few months, including:

  • Launching and inviting applications for our new SMME-focused mentorship programme to commence early next year.
  • The Chamber’s strong position on advocating for vaccination against Covid-19 and regular sharing of credible, evidence-backed information and expert advice on Covid protocols in the workplace, to enable members to make informed decisions.
  • In response to the water crisis in the city, our Adopt-a-School programme is making an impact, with 11 member companies assisting 35 schools, identified as high water users due to faulty or damaged infrastructure. These businesses have repaired plumbing, or installed new systems, to combat water wastage and in some cases improving water security with boreholes or water tanks.
  • Vandalism and cable theft resulting in power outages have a major impact on business and residents. The agreement concluded with the municipality last month will enable our Adopt-a-Substation initiative to be implemented, with businesses assisting the municipality to provide security at substations and ensure a more secure electricity supply.

These and other initiatives in the strategic plan will continue into the new year, under six priority areas aimed at developing solutions with key stakeholders to foster an enabling environment that supports sustainable economic development which I outline below as follows:

RESURGE: Getting the city working again. Lobbying for decisions to be made in the best interests of the local economy by local government and other role players. This includes driving collaborative solutions to address the water crisis, secure electricity supply and improving the visual appearance of the city.

LEAD: Rallying a unified, common vision for a world-class port city and investment destination. Promoting diversification of the Bay economy, to reduce our dependence on the automotive sector, and supporting growth of SMMEs.

CONNECT: Activating our stakeholder networks to foster collaboration and support members’ business growth. Offering events and other platforms that promote B2B engagement, business linkages and access to opportunities and value-adding information for our members.

GROW: Diversifying and growing our membership with clear, targeted value propositions, differentiated according to the needs of big business, SMMEs and specific clusters, and enhancing our member services offerings.

EMPOWER: A specific, overarching strategy and actions to facilitate an enabling environment and access to support and opportunities.

SUSTAIN: Working with stakeholders on a strategic response and practical initiatives to address the impact of climate change on Nelson Mandela Bay. Promoting sustainable business operations and conservation of the environment and natural resources, especially water.

The Board is confident that implementation of the plan is in strong hands in the Chamber team, and that together we will make a meaningful and significant impact on addressing the needs of our members.

In closing, my sincere appreciation to the Board, the CEO and the Chamber team for their support since my election as President, and for their dedication and commitment to actively advancing the interests of business in Nelson Mandela Bay.

On behalf of the Board, best wishes to all members, their employees and families, for a happy festive season – a successful one for those in retail, tourism and hospitality, and a well-earned break for those shutting down. We look forward to working with you all in the new year to grow and support business.

Stay safe. Please vaccinate!