The Border-Kei Chamber of Business welcomed Dr. Chris Ettmayr as the organisation’s incoming president at its 23rd Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 30 June.
Ettmayr, who is the Renewable Energy & ICT Sector Manager at the East London IDZ, has been a part of BKCOB for several years, sitting in many of its sub-committees, and was first vice president during his predecessor John Cupido’s two-year term.
Joining Ettmayr in the Chamber’s presidency are Kreason Naidoo as first vice president, and Lauren Brady as second vice president.
Speaking during the AGM, which took place virtually, Ettmayr stressed urgency for the organisation to fortify its relevance to the business community, especially where it has most of its membership – in both Buffalo City Metro, and Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality respectively.
“I would like to grow the chamber as a meaningful and essential voice piece of business which truly represents the business sentiment from our region. I think that East London and Komani respectively, can also benefit from business and government working in collaboration. I would like to strengthen these ties to ensure mutual benefits are achieved,” said Ettmayr.
With many non-members often posing the question of “what are the benefits of being a Chamber member”, the BKCOB will undertake an extensive drive to ascertain the specific areas with which business today would like the Chamber’s intervention and support.
“The team at chamber are vibrant and full of new ideas with the energy to follow through with them. We are releasing a questionnaire to learn more from business about their needs from their chamber. Once we have these inputs, we will look to implement new projects and the ultimate aim will be to ensure an increased relevance of the chamber,” said Ettmayr.
In recent months, BKCOB has been involved in various initiatives, aimed at strengthening collaboration between the public and private sector, and also lobbying to ensure that despite challenges, which include but are not limited to COVID-19 pandemic, business is able to operate in desirable conditions.
In his final address at the AGM, outgoing President, John Cupido asserted to efforts by the organisation in lobbying for the easing of monthly billing and rates by BCMM, a plea which he said was met with little sympathy as the municipality argues that they too are living with bad debt and increase in outstanding arrears.
“The main themes however remain, Engagement, Infrastructure, Logistics, Finance, Town Planning and Amenities, including the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). We will not relent on our approach to meet the Municipalities on a win-win scenario, rather than a lose-win or lose-lose which is the current position,” said Cupido.
Cupido also added that the Chamber was continuously presenting members’ challenges, offering advice and support where they could, and had submitted comments and input into the IDP 2020/2021.
Going forward, the BKCOB stays committed to engaging members and keeping abreast with current and on-going issues.