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INTERVIEW challenge the powers that be on the crisis facing our business ecosystem.

to doing business. Less red tape and a more business-friendly environment encourages innovation and enterprise. In the Western Cape, we’ve already seen the benefits of the Premier’s Red Tape Reduction Unit, which we acknowledge as a step in the right direction. A second issue can be grouped under a broad category – national infrastructure challenges – electricity supply and rail commuter infrastructure, specifically. The failure of Eskom to guarantee consistent energy supply carries massive risks for businesses. The Chamber is in full support of the local and provincial government’s efforts to effect a shift to renewable energy and to promote investment in Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Similarly, the Metrorail crisis has put thousands more vehicles on the roads during peak commuting hours, creating serious traffic congestion. This has a direct bottom line impact on business. Problems are not show-stoppers but challenges to be confronted, and the Chamber supports local and provincial government structures working to address these challenges. A third challenge is that relating to late payment to small business suppliers. The Cape Chamber will continue to lobby for this issue to be resolved at government level, as this benefits the entire economic eco-system. What makes the Western Cape unique is that its provincial government is alive to these challenges and understands that it is not government’s role to create jobs, but to create an investorfriendly and business-friendly environment, so that business can get on with the job of creating jobs. Has the Chamber as a business also been affected? The Chamber has not been immune to the challenges outlined above. We have introduced a flexible working arrangement to avoid the congestion. Similarly, the effects of crime and violence have been experienced by many of our employees. The fact that we experience the same challenges as our members gives us the credibility to speak with greater conviction when we 29

How do you provide value to your members? When it comes to a voluntary membership organisation such as ours, value is a key determinant of acquisition and retention. Although our role as the voice of business for the region is the foundation of the Chamber’s raison d’être, this is an intangible benefit that must be supported by valueadds that have value and are contemporary. We have an extensive list of benefits for our members that is often updated on our website, as it is changing constantly to keep pace with changing needs. How do you see the future of Chambers of Commerce? At the moment there is a social gap that technology is unable to fill. However, history has taught us never to underestimate its capability. Although we see digital as a key component of our future, the most strategic tool in our arsenal is the appetite for innovation that the Chamber has. The cost of testing new concepts has dropped dramatically with the Internet and I hope we set the bar for business when it comes to embracing changing needs. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. But to stand still is not an option. ■ www.capechamber.co.za WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2020

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Western Cape Business 2020  

A unique guide to business, investment and tourism in the Western Cape. The 2020 edition of Western Cape Business is the 13th issue of this...

Western Cape Business 2020  

A unique guide to business, investment and tourism in the Western Cape. The 2020 edition of Western Cape Business is the 13th issue of this...

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