Season’s Greetings From the Chamber!

Season’s Greetings From the Chamber!

At times in our lives, we do ask will things “get better?” as I write a note and message to members, reflecting on a year of more that went wrong, than right, and of the remarkable set-backs, challenges and disappointments. We have survived and we greet the end of the year / era – because we progress into a new decade, i.e. 2020, we seek to wish better circumstances and fewer setbacks. 

As in last and previous years, our disruptors have been the electricity, water and general infrastructure interruptions and breakdowns. Elements of each have caused losses and the unabated challenges with Eskom especially, bring fresh challenges for business in 2020. Even though business in Komani won the first application to interdict Eskom, the long term goal will always focus on mediating in a countrywide situation of default payments to Eskom by Local Authority.

In the bigger picture, the constant load shedding and interruptions will reverberate throughout the country, costing the economy R bn’s every day, and worse, some just simply do NOT recover. Add the demise of the remaining SOE’s – most of whom are in trouble, needing bail-outs, the list is daunting and challenging for even the most optimistic

In the middle of all the despair, I share with you good news over the disclosure that our Air-terminal / airport continues to confound everyone, with steady and regular growth in passengers. Well done, mainly, FlySafair. Average growth of 17% is laudable and worth noting.

Last to mention is the Call-2-Action project to clean Settlers Way and beachfront. Chamber will be assuming a more proactive role from the first week of January, but confirm, cannot do justice to this initiative, without business support. We are pleased to advise that an agreement has been signed, taking forward a new partner in C2A. POLYCO are very supportive of our project and have sunk significant resources into growing the overall project aim – of cleaning up the Metro.

Hi-lite survived a challenging year, and taking the role of Publisher into the Chamber was a risk we knew we were treading water on. It has been a remarkable success, thanks to the “new,” team that has taken over. Next year we will continue publishing Hi-lite, using a service provider to help with some of the technical aspects of publishing. Our grateful appreciation to all members especially our Corporate members. To the many sponsors and business partners. To the advertisers supporting our very own Business Hi-lite magazine. Thank you! With your support, we have and will continue to make a difference.

This year we greet and say goodbye to some key staff, including Alana Velida, Jacqui Austin (who finished up in June) and Candi Ferreira (leaving in December). We welcome, Zintle Quntu (Front office, Committee Co-Ordinator & Certificates of Origin), Yanga Ziwele (Marketing and Communications) and Linda Kemp (Membership). We also greet 2 replacement interns for the next 12 months, Anita Dangazele (Marketing) and Mvuyisi Tyiwani (Invest Buffalo City). 
(View our staff page here)

Chamber thanks all those who have been involved. We will return in 2020, refreshed and ready to confront whatever comes our way, and wish Seasons Greetings and a Blessed Christmas on all readers / members.

Warmest regards
LES HOLBROOK, Executive Director 
& The Chamber Staff

Suspension of road-works on the Standford Road Pedestrian Bridge and the N2, Port Elizabeth

Suspension of road-works on the Standford Road Pedestrian Bridge and the N2, Port Elizabeth

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify travellers about the suspension of road-works on the                     Standford Road pedestrian bridge and the N2, from Friday, 20th December 2019 until Sunday 5th January 2020.

Traffic accommodation measures will continue along the N2 north and south-bound, as well as on Standford Road north-bound during the holiday period.  It is important for the public to adhere to the road-signs in place.


  • Chris Lewis (Construction Manager) 081 788 8415

SANRAL apologizes for any inconvenience caused.     

Season’s Greetings From the Chamber!

2019 TOPS at SPAR seven-city Wine Show delivers record growth

Great growth, together with the wholehearted enjoyment of some of South Africa’s finest wines, were the main hallmarks of the 2019 TOPS at SPAR Wine Show, which wound its way to seven cities around the country. The show achieved a like-for-like year-on-year growth of 41% in exhibitor numbers and 25% in footfall.

Debbie Combrink, CEO of the Wine Show, says in exhibitor numbers, Durban topped the charts with a 61% increase in wine estates at the show. Johannesburg had a 48% increase and Cape Town came in with 47%. In footfall growth, Durban achieved a phenomenal 43% increase and Cape Town 41%, with Johannesburg, which came off a strong 2018 base, showed a 31% growth. 

She attributes the growth in part to “our strong marketing strategy that incorporated a larger targeted digital marketing campaign than ever before in our 14-year history and a focused PR campaign. This significantly extended the reach of the show, and encouraged many positive online conversations.”

The increased digital marketing efforts resulted in a 65% new audience, which contributed to the growth, and which saw the under-40 audience increase to 76%, of which 41% were under-30. Combrink comments that, “From the feedback and the figures, it’s clear that this new market is keen to explore wines and enthusiastically learn about them.” 

Andrew Douglas, Owner and Producer of TOPS at SPAR Wine Show says that the drawcards to the shows for visitors were overall, the large number of wines on offer under one roof, unlimited tastings, and free shipping on cases with the convenient Sip n Ship service, which saw an increase in uptake of 283% year on year, as well as the SA Wine Tasting Championships, which were held at the show in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Following the debut TOPS at SPAR show in East London, Exhibitor Ruan Willers of Stellenbosch Vineyards comments, “The clientele really showed great interest in quality products, with our premium wines reaching its highest sales rate compared to any other region for the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show series. I’m sure the East London show will only grow in the future.”

The success of the 2019 shows has seen headline sponsor, TOPS at SPAR, extend its sponsorship to 2022. According to Mark Robinson, Group Liquor Manager of SPAR, the group is delighted to extend its investment. “We have an important role to play in the development of both the wine category and industry in this country – and this show delivers a place for meaningful wine talk that benefits producers, retailers and consumers.”

The 2020 TOPS at SPAR Wine Show’s destinations and dates are Durban from 7 to 9 May; Johannesburg from 4 to 6 June; Cape Town from 9 to 11 July; Port Elizabeth from 30 July to 1 August; Pretoria from 1 to 3 October; East London from 5 to 7 November; and Nelspruit from 26 to 28 November.

Exhibitors interested in securing their space for 2020, should contact Exhibition Sales Manager Heinrich Von Weilligh as soon as possible at E: or P: 021 824 3132.

Season’s Greetings From the Chamber!

UPDATE | Water Interruptions EL

There seem to be some confusion regarding the interruption in water supply to parts of Buffalo City on 12-13 December.

According to City spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya, parts of the metro would be without water on Thursday, and possibly Friday, due to essential maintenance at the Umzonyana waterworks plant in Scenery Park.

Thursday’s maintenance would affect the greater East London area, including Gonubie and Mdantsane. People are urged to fill up buckets and tanks according to their needs. Water interruption on Thursday will be from 6am to 6pm and Ngwenya warned that the water interruption could spill over to early Friday, “due to the nature of the work”. Please keep taps closed throughout this time.

Regarding Stage 3 water restrictions: We need to reduce our water consumption by 35%…..

** residents must use non-potable water for gardening.
** watering or irrigation with municipal drinking water is only allowed before 9am or after 6pm, and for only 30 minutes.
** washing or hosing down hard surfaces such as pavements is forbidden and residents must have written permission from BCM to refill or empty their swimming pools.
** rainwater or greywater (dirty water without chemicals) must be used for flushing toilets.


Season’s Greetings From the Chamber!

Fire at The Hub Business Complex!

Tenants at the Hub business complex in Beacon Bay woke up to a blaze that destroyed Guest Resource Services on Tuesday Morning.

Guest Resource Services is an accredited  provider, specialising in Supervisory, Management and Project Management training. 

Workers within The Hub complex watched in horror as the smoke within GRS reached heightened levels. The cause of the fire is not yet known but there are reports suggesting that there was an electrical fault with the Air Conditioner within the building. An official statement about the cause of the fire has not yet surfaced. .

Calvin Edwards, of Salon Dog, a pet grooming company next to GR, said it appeared as if the blaze started in the kitchen.

“We share a wall with them. Our first step was to get all the animals to safety. Once we returned the wall was quite cool. Our biggest fear was that a gas bottle would explode.”

Firefighters were on the scene before 8am, parking in Bonza Bay Road, which had been closed off to traffic. Water jets were concentrated on to the fire, spraying over the wall.

The fire is believed to have affected certain businesses near the place of the incident. Nicole Tar from Logan Pools gave her thoughts on how the fire incident affected productivity within their workplace. 

“Between 8AM and 11AM, we could not work and we could not perform, and this affected productivity. The fire did not just cause productivity to slow down. Certain phone cables within the workplace were burnt which meant we could not make phone calls to clients and other people associated with the business.”

Zukile Lumkwana from Pure Vida added: “We were affected by what happened at Guest Resource Services. We had to start work after 1PM and that had a negative effect on the business. In other targets and objectives for the day were not fulfilled and it does affect the profits of the business and productivity as a whole.”

The matter is currently being investigated.