Chamber ends 2018 on festive note
The Graaff-reinet Chamber of Commerce once again brought the year to a close with its annual Christmas function.
This year’s event was held on Wednesday evening, 21 November, at the newlyreopened Coldstream Restaurant, and the quality of the venue and food was outstanding and enjoyed by all.
The MC for the event was Louwrens Selzer, who brought advocate Gerrie Nel to Graaffreinet last year. The chairman of the George Chamber of Commerce, dr. Dennis Farrell, proved to be a most informative speaker.
He brought impressive credentials, as not only is Farrell MD of Alfa Omega NBS, he has also co-authored a book and is a guest lecturer at NMU Business School.
In his talk, Farrell shared a socio-economic overview which he suggests business should be aware of to ensure sustainability of the local economy.
He said that the social and economic fabric is so intertwined that businesses need to understand the local social and economic challenges and opportunities in the quest to achieve socio-economic restoration.
Farrell referred to Minister Tito Mboweni’s opening words during his budget speech where he drew from Isaiah 58:12 with a specific reference that businesses should be “restoring the ruins”.
He linked the top ten global risks identified by the World Economic Forum for 2018 (which include extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, water crises, data fraud and theft) to the constraints to the economic drivers as defined by Dr Beyers Naude District Municipality IDP 2017 – 2022 such as commercial agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.
Farrell encouraged the business community to look at the IDP as there are many opportunities for local business to participate in and to build a good platform for Publicprivate Partnerships. He urged members of the Chamber to become activists for local business to thrive, saying that this can be achieved by challenging local government and corporates such as banks, insurance companies and businesses with head offices or decision makers outside of Graaff Reinet to use local suppliers and to spend their proportionate CSI funding into projects in Graaff-reinet.
“There is an increased migration of people into Graaff-reinet which is accompanied by larger social instability,” said Farrell.
“The pressure on the social systems is becoming larger and to attract and retain investment we will require amongst other things strong leadership in both private and public sectors, the re-establishment of a work ethic and culture, and a safe and clean town”.
Farrell suggests that members of the Chamber should work towards creating an Inclusive economy and to create “jobs for the labour force we have, not the labour force we would like to have.” (Bernstein).
The Business Chamber looks forward to working more closely with the George Business Chamber in the future, in ventures such as trade exchanges where the two groups will promote products particular to each of the regions in an “import/export” between the different environments.
Chairman of the George Chamber of Commerce, dr. Dennis Ferrell, Kim Imrie of the Graaff-reinet Chamber of Commerce and MC Louwrens Selzer.