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Durban Chamber Annual Report 2014

  1. 1. 1 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 ANNUAL REPORTDURBANCHAMBEROFCOMMERCEANDINDUSTRY 2014
  2. 2. 32 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 ANDREW LAYMAN | CEO Chief Executive Officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry, a position to which he was appointed at the beginning of 2011. He formerly occupied a similar position in the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business for thirteen years. Prior to that date, he had a career in school education which spanned thirty years and included positions at Glenwood High School and Maritzburg College before he took office as the Headmaster of Alexandra High School, a post he occupied for ten years. For a year and a half after leaving the school, he worked in the Education Department managing what was known at the time as the right-sizing of education. During his career he had a term as President of the Natal Teachers Society, chaired the KZN Education Council, served on the Councils of Edgewood College and the Umgungundlovu FET College, was a member of the audit committee of the Msundu- zi Municipality and chaired the UKZN’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and both the Natal and South African High Schools’ cricket organisations. Mr Layman holds a M Com (Leadership) degree, with a speciality in Local Economic Development and has become well-known as a newspaper columnist, with weekly features in the Network publication of The Mercury. A lthough this report will reflect the various functions of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it is also intended to satisfy the principles of integrated reporting. Thus, what the Chamber has done during the past year will be assessed against the strategies which have guided its activities as well as the extent to which the achievement of objectives may be expected into the future. The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest metropolitan chamber in the country, and possibly in Africa. Its reputation is widely enviable. This has been built over 158 years of service to the Durban business community. Its public profile, espe- cially in local media, is pronounced, for few articles on current business issues appear without a Durban Chamber comment. The DCCI is also extremely active, both in terms of its programme of events and seminars, and its engagement with government on the policy and legislative issues of the day. INTRODUCTION
  3. 3. 54 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 The move took place from 21 to 23 February, enabling Chamber services to be resumed in Umgeni Road on 24 February. Some difficulties delayed the use of the conference facilities, which will generate revenue it is hoped, but it was possible to hold a very successful opening function on 20 March which was attended by more than a hundred and fifty en- thusiastic members and guests. The move was a once-in-a life- time project, exceptionally well conceived and managed by the Chief Operations and Financial Officer, Praneel Nundkumar, which dominated activities for several months and, in truth, constrained the time available for routine and other work. “The move was a once-in-a lifetime project ” OVERVIEW T he constitution of a new Council at the Annual General Meet- ing in 2013 was fol- lowed, after some delay, by an exercise in strategic planning held in August in whichmembers of the Council participated. The finalisation of this plan, concluded some time after the strategic workshop, reflects the fundamental weakness inherent in a decision-making body which is too large to be agile and many of whose members, who are all engaged in their own business careers, find difficulty in making the input requested. New Premises The workshop itself included a visit to two premises thought by the executive officers to be suit- able as a home for the Chamber when its lease at 190 Stalwart Simelane expired at the end of January 2014. For some length of time, two other premises had been under consideration, but there had been reservations about both. It was fortuitous, therefore, that both of the new options appealed to Council members in their different ways, and the more popular choice, which was also the least expensive, was chosen. This was the Lion Match Office Park, JT Ross’development in Umgeni Road. This decision having been taken, there followed a period of intense negotiation around the lease and its various terms and conditions. Space plans were drawn, and accepted, and, after tendering processes, NMC Design and Alpha Office were selected to deal with the layout and design of the new office and the physical move. Co-incidentally, both companies had performed similar services when the Chamber relocated from Field Street in 1999. It transpired that the existing furniture would be perfectly adequate, so the costs of setting up a new office were com- paratively low, while this had also been the objective when simple, functional, but bright and vibrant, designs were accepted
  4. 4. 76 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 STRATEGY C hamber strategies al- ways include the need to contain the resignation of members and increase the recruitment of new members, especially those that are larger, pay higher subscription fees and have broader and more comprehensive views about local economic development and the conditions in which it might flourish. The financial sustainability of the organisation is also an is- sue which bears annual scrutiny, especially in the case of the DCCI considering that after auditing the 2011 Annual Financial Statements, and those of at least two years before, the Auditors raised concerns about‘going concern’. In the formal sense, these concerns no longer appear in the auditors’reports, but the reality is that without the exceptional performance of the Chamber’s investment portfolio over two years, operational expenses and income are close to the point of balance. The Council convened for a special meeting on income generation during November 2013. Following this, detailed ‘business plans’were tabled to ensure that budget targets were reached. S egmentation of the membership in support of better service offerings which are more closely related to needs and a corresponding attention to communications. A careful review of the benefits of membership must be undertaken with the principle of segmentation in mind. This is of particular importance in the SMME sector where the Chamber’s work has shown a focus on start-up and fledgling enterprises, rather than those that are functioning successfully and require support to grow. • The development of viable and credible Enterprise Development programmes through the expansion of the department and the appointment of a dedicated manager. Interviews for a manager have been conducted during March. In the meantime, an Enterprise Development co-ordinator and a person to deal specifically with the enterprise development obligations contained in the MOA governing the use of eThekwini municipality grant funding, took up office in 2013. Pending the appointment of a dedicated manager, considered by the Board to be a priority, the responsibility of enterprise development has lain with the Manager: Business Services, Dumile Cele. • Effective and compelling business advocacy. This will be further enhanced by the fact that Dr Stanley Hardman took up appointment as the Manager: Policy and Advocacy in January. In addition to the management of the submissions that the Chamber makes on a variety important issues – this has been accelerated during 2013 even before the manager’s appointment owing to the research work of Shivani Singh Dr Hardman is tasked with revitalising the standing and area committee structure where a decision was taken to refer to the committees as forums to dispel the notion of exclusive membership and the perception of boring set agendas. • Constructive contribution to local economic development. Having published in June 2013, following months of preparation, a Business Vision for the Economic Development of Durban, the Chamber is intent on making a more pro-active contribution to the economic development of the city. This will be done by engagement with the business community and a closer partnership relationship with city officials. • Development of staff so as to be professional, dedicated and capacitated. The appointment of man- agers with more specialist knowledge and expertise has been undertaken as a conscious strategy, despite the higher costs involved. This has yet to be translated into the necessary transformation of many of the staff in terms of their productivity, service ethic and professionalism. • Conscious attention to succession in terms of both standing/area committee chairpersons and staff. The identification of a CEO-designate to take over from Andrew Layman from 1 February 2015 when the one-year extension of his original contract will expire, has begun, with the intention that an announcement will be made timeously enabling an effective hand-over to take place. This will exclude the possibility of a period of limbo during which an acting CEO will be in office. • Greater attention to the improvement of governance.
  5. 5. 98 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 A Unique Initiative Among the highlights of the year was the preparation of a“Busi- ness Vision for the Economic Development of Durban”. This was undertaken in the belief that Business should have a hand in shaping policy rather than just responding to documents drafted by government after insufficient consultation during the origination phases. All the standing committees (now consciously called forums to avoid the spectre of boring set agendas), were consulted and their meetings were used to so- licit opinion. A number of larger companies were approached outside of the forum process to make input. After several months of gathering such inputs and a good deal of research, the seventy-page document was released in June 2013. It may be found on the Chamber’s website – www.durbanchamber.co.za. Particularly since the beginning of 2014 and the appointment of a Policy and Advocacy Manager, the forum system will be used to develop projects by which the vision will be translated into reality, at least insofar as the Chamber is able to influence and direct trends and events. Important Partnerships Towards the end of 2012, discussions with Transnet Port Terminals executives encouraged the Chamber to draft a proposal for an incubator to focus on the maritime sector and the TPT supply chain. This was done in terms of the DTI’s Incubator Incentive Fund which, it seemed, was well-disposed to this joint venture involving TPT and the DCCI. Despite the enthusiasm from TPT leaders, and the desire of the Chamber to be involved in what in its view was a thoroughly worth- while project by which significant enterprise development in an important emerging sector could be promoted, implementation floundered on the grounds of BBBEE points. There was uncertainty as to whether TPT’s financial contribution to this project to be managed by the Chamber would be recognised in the process of verification. To date, this has not been resolved. The Chamber’s proposal to the eThekwini Municipality was more successful. This was prompted by the belief that public and private sectors should work a good deal more closely together, while it was recognised that in some instances, projects managed by the Chamber might be more effective than if they were managed by the Municipality. This proposal was also prepared in 2012, but bureaucratic processes delayed payment, and therefore implementation, until June 2013. In terms of this agreement, the Chamber is responsible for, inter alia, staging a Durban Investment Conference, promoting business activity in township areas, notably Umbumbulu, mentoring a selected group of vendors to the Municipality, convening a quarterly Economic Forum in which Chamber and municipal delegates can engage in a formal and regular manner to discuss local economic development and managing a Durban Invest- ment Ambassadors’programme. The money paid to the Chamber (R2,25 million plus VAT) is carefully managed in terms of its disposal for agreed purposes and is subject to regular scrutiny by a Project Steering Committee (which comprises two representatives of each party) and governed by a rigorous reporting regimen – monthly to the City Manager, and quarterly to the Council’s Economic Development Committee. Progress has been slower than anticipated. While one may identify several reasons for this, the underlying difficulty is the lack of capacity within the Chamber. Functions, events, meetings, workshops and the like held by government and other agencies at which Chamber representation is expected erode the time available to managers to do the necessary work required to expedite the work involved in projects of this nature. A further proposal will be made for the next municipal financial year, but it must be recognised that comparatively little of the grant funding accrues to the Chamber’s revenue account.
  6. 6. 1110 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 PUBLICEXPECTATIONS C hambers such as the DCCI are‘private’or- ganisations representing member companies, yet they face increasing expectations from the public quarter. The Durban Chamber is very con- scious of the fact that its broader credibility is at stake in this context. Yet it remains a chal- lenge to expend money on out- reach programmes for which, for the most part (the grant from the eThekwini is a notable exception), there is no supporting income. However, in the sphere of enterprise development, thanks largely to the support of ABSA and BATSA in the past, the DCCI has a good record in this sphere. With the development of the Enterprise Development department, and the recognition that there are functioning small businesses that need support if they are to grow and create jobs, the public expectation in this regard is likely to be met. While not specifically related to small business development, arrangements have been made for the establishment of a jobs portal which enable people seeking jobs, and employers seeking applicants for vacancies to post information for access via cell phones. The sphere of youth development presents greater challenges. No one in South Africa can afford to ignore this aspect of the national welfare, but to engage in formal programmes is at odds, possibly, with the mandate which is directed by formal businesses within the membership. As it transpires, most of the people who seek guidance from the Chamber in respect of business establishment or growth happen to fall within the category of youth, even if they are not the younger people whose futures are arguably the bleakest. This is a matter that requires consideration in the future; a youth leadership is a project that may prove to have great value. Within the ambit of corporate social responsibility, the Chamber acknowledges that it should set an example to the business community by active engagement in this aspect of development. To this end, there was a concert- ed, and very fulfilling, programme to support the Edith Benson Home for infant children on Man- dela Day, 2013. The non-profit organisations with the Chamber membership – there are some 25 – are now supported by a regular meeting designed to be a forum for discussion and networking. In this way, membership may be made more meaningful, while their direct contact with the Chamber, and each other, provides opportunities that have not been evident hitherto. During 2014, the Chamber will host a conference with the theme of‘Responsible Business Citizenship’to contribute towards an essential development of business practice and to the celebration of twenty years of democracy.
  7. 7. 1312 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 FINANCIALSUSTAINABILITY T he Audited Financial Statements for 2013 reveal a positive outcome. This is attributable mainly to the revaluation of the Chamber’s investments which have been safely and productively managed by Investec. These are monitored on a quarterly basis by the Finance and Investment Committee which comprises individuals within the membership who are willing to devote their time to this advisory service. The investments yielded additional value amounting to R1 617 682 in 2013. Were it not for a few technical adjustments made by Ernst and Young, there would have been a small operational surplus, but, ultimately, our accounts reflect an operational shortfall of R279 419. This rep- resents a swing of R493 973 from the operational surplus recorded in 2012, while the net surplus for 2013 was R1 702 936 as against R1 803 791 in the previous year. The successful collection of sub- scription fees remains a challenge. While the total collected for 2013 was on a par with the budg- eted amount, it was barely more than had been received in 2012, despite concerted efforts and a good deal of time spent by staff chasing up defaulters. Prior to May 2011, after which new mem- bers are contractually bound to resign in writing before the end of the year prior to the one in which subscriptions are due, DCCI members were accustomed to deciding at any time not to “renew”their membership. Difficult economic circumstances have prompted many resignations, especially among smaller businesses, which, ironically, are much easier to recruit. It has been very encouraging, however, that the amount paid by members in advance, that is before the end of 2013 for the 2014 year, rose to R2,9 million last year – some R1,3 million more than has been the case customarily.Subscriptions accounted for 53% of operational revenue, while services earned 44,6%. The bulk of this – R 3,516,959 – came from the attesting of Certificates of Origin which remains a key function that the Chamber performs. Notwithstanding the economic constraints evident in 2013, the revenue from this source represented an increase of 17% over the previous financial year. It is understood that the Durban Chamber processes more certificates than any other cham- ber and has clients from other major centres. A system to enable the electronic submission of data for certificates is being considered in the belief that this will be more convenient and, very significantly, enable the Chamber to analyse impor- tant export data which has to be recorded manually at present. Increases in membership fees (9%) and the charge for a Certificate of Origin (9%) for 2014 were responses to increased staff costs. Experienced managers with appropriate skills demand packages higher than the Chamber has been accus- tomed to paying, and in 2014 two additional managers will have to be supported. Consequently, it is expected that meeting the budget will be more exacting than has been the case in the two preceding years. The regimen of expenditure, however, has been characterised by prudence and this has contrib- uted to positive results in 2012 and 2013. Voluntary chambers wherever they are situated in the world find it difficult to identify the means of earning annuity income from sources outside their membership. Inevitably, the same suggestions are made, and few succeed. The DCCI is focussing on advertising discounts to members which have been offered by other member companies. In time, this will be expanded into a loyalty card scheme depending on whether company membership of the Chamber can be reconciled to the fact that use of a loyalty card is done by individuals.
  8. 8. 1514 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 T he past year has not been a good one from the point of view of net membership. Fewer than the expected number of new companies have been recruited, while in nine months during 2013, more members were lost than gained. During the calendar year, net membership declined by fifty, from 2 777 to 2 727, having reached the zenith at 2 806 in August. Following resignations of 29 and 36 in November and December, respectively, the membership at the end of February 2014 stood at 2 753. It is an apparent trend that many new members take the initiative to join, either by visiting or mak- ing contact with the Chamber, or applying on the website. The Membership Department has embarked on a programme of holding meetings with a number of non-members present, such as in an office or industrial park. It is hoped that by this means, the staff will achieve the targets set. Among the difficulties experi- enced is the undeniable fact that the value proposition for retaining membership has weakened over time. Except for large companies, it is not difficult to recruit new members, but un- less they take optimal advantage of what the benefits of mem- bership are, enthusiasm wanes, especially when a subscription statement for the following year is received. A second challenge lies in the inaccuracy of the member records. For the most part, member companies do not advise the Chamber of changes of personnel or different email addresses. Active engagement with members, preferably by telephonic means, is required. The Chamber’s Customer Relations Management programme is directly linked to the Accpac programme by which financial management is effected. Over the years, this has cost a very large sum of money, but has proved too complicated for daily and universal use. From a CRM point of view, there- fore, it is not used effectively, nor would this be possible without expensive retraining of staff, many of whom were employed after the system was installed. The need for an effective CRM is considered urgent and this will be addressed in the months ahead, taking account of financial and bandwidth constraints. MEMBERSHIP Sales Manager: Sibusiso Msawoni (centre) with his sales team - from the left Margret Pillai, Samala Morgon, Marlanee Reddy, Vigie Pillai and Dibbie Kimber
  9. 9. 1716 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 GOVERNANCE W hen the Council was reconstituted in April 2013, the decision taken previously that the Chamber would register as a Non Profit Company in terms of the Companies Act, was questioned, and the consequence of this is that prevarication continues. In the course of a year, little forward progress has been achieved, unfortunately. In order for the organisation to progress, the Chamber is in urgent need of a statutorily-mandated Board of Directors which will ensure that it is directed in a way that is aligned to the Companies Act and other prescripts and sets an example to business in terms of its governance practices. During 2013 Farzana Mall, the Chairperson of the Chamber’s Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, resigned owing to pressure of work. She had done a great deal to put this committee on a sound footing and for this the Chamber is grateful. Her colleague at KPMG, Rubene Ramdas, succeeded her as Chairperson, but soon found that she, too, did not have the necessary time to devote to the Committee. Early this year, Deshan Chetty of Deloitte was ap- pointed as the Chairperson and he was joined by two additional new members. This committee now comprises Deshan Chetty (Chairperson), Lingiwe Nyamande, Lungi Xaba and Amod Kassie. All but Lingiwe, who is a member of the Board, are not involved in regular Chamber activities.
  10. 10. 1918 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 T he Chamber has made admirable strides in this sphere of its important activities. Indeed, its role as the voice of business in Durban may be its most important responsibility, although, regrettably, not an easy benefit of membership to sell. At the heart of this function lies the Standing and Area Forums which provide the valuable opportunities for representatives of member companies to come together to discuss matters of common concern within a particular sector or, in the case of the Area Forums, a particular part of the city. The concerns of those members in the South Area are not the same as those which pre-occupy those who are located in the Central Area, for example. Even more importantly, these forums allow the concerns of members to reach the Chamber management for further action and the system insists on reporting to the Council, and back to the relevant forum, so that the interventions expected of the Chamber are undertaken. The forums also constitute the mandating structure. Important matters on which the Chamber believes it to be important to comment, are presented for discussion at appropriate forum meetings and the input from members in this way directs the submission which is ultimately made. In the absence of a dedicated manager to oversee the forum system, attendances have tended to decline and agendas have become dull. Since the appointment of Dr Stanley Hardman in January, there are conscientious efforts to revitalise the forums. It has become the practice that all members are notified of meetings to obviate a common belief that membership of these bodies is ‘closed’. Chairpersons, and their deputies, have been engaged in discussion with the CEO and each other about various aspects of the forum system and they have supported a policy which insists that every meeting, with the exception of the Durban Port Committee, should be centred around an attractive presentation on a topic of interest. Ordinary business is then conducted, depending on its relevance at the time, as an adjunct to the presentation. The consequence of adopting this policy is that joint forum meetings will be arranged whenever it is desirable to do so. During 2013 the drafting of submissions was the responsi- bility of the Senior Researcher, Shivani Singh. Her work was of excellent quality and the DCCI submissions are high quality, con- structive documents which reflect extensive understanding and research. Despite the Chamber’s affiliation to SACCI, and, therefore, indirectly to BUSA, the DCCI has made many submissions directly to national ministers and depart- ments. Since April 2013 the Chamber has made submissions on the following: the Integrated Urban Development Framework, the Report by the Ministerial Task Team on the Performance of SETAs, the Employment Tax Incentive (Youth Wage Subsidy), the National Water Policy Review, Tax Laws Amendment Bill, 2013, Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, the Integrated Energy Planning Report, the eThekwini Municipality’s Informal Trading By-law, the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, the Proposed Removal of Adverse Credit Information, Infrastructure Development Bill, BBBEE Amendment Bill, Licensing of Businesses Bill, Expropriation Bill, the proposed Carbon Tax, a Discussion Document on the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land. These expressions of business opinion have been complemented by a letter to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development appealing for amendments to be made to the legislation covering emolument attachment orders (garnishees), input to the MEC for Transport in KZN regarding the banning of heavy vehicles on Fields Hill, a lengthy submission to Brand SA which called for comment on the ways in which the country should be branded and, as mentioned previously, the Business Vision for the Economic Development of Durban. During the last quarter of 2013, the Chamber updated a report first published in 2006 which dealt with the costs of doing business in Durban. The growth plan for the Policy and Advocacy Department includes the development of a greater research capacity which will enable the Chamber to pro- duce business intelligence reports which will have saleable value in the market place. POLICYANDADVOCACY
  11. 11. 2120 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 A s has been the case in respect of the Chamber’s advocacy endeavours, the work of the Business Services Department, under the management of Dumile Cele, is too infrequently known within the membership. Yet, business information is regularly requested by members, and supplied, efficiently and promptly. Much of this is related to international trading, which constitutes a substantial part of the work of Business Services. Considerable knowledge resides within the staff members who perform these services. In addition, the Chamber offers a Labour Desk service. In the hands of Diana Boast, the HR Coordinator, queries about employment issues can be answered to save members many of the difficulties which are inevitable where labour is concerned. The advantage that the Chamber has in this regard is access to members whose expertise is usually available with a very generous spirit of sharing. This is the reason that the DCCI is able to offer a range of information seminars at affordable prices to members. While the amount of information and expert advice is available freely on the internet, suitably-packaged information is not available so readily, and it is in this area where the Chamber seeks to exploit an advantage. Thus, a seminar on the Protection of Private Information Act, or one on Contracts of Employment, for example, focussed less on the legal provisions than their practical implications for business people, especially those operating in small businesses which do not have access to specialist departments. South Africa offers excellent opportunities to visiting business people, and those delegations which choose to visit Durban inevitably rely on the Chamber to host functions to facilitate contact between the visitors and local business people. It has been a busy year in this regard, and the Business Services Department has organised events for visitors from the European Union, Turkey, India, Poland, Tunisia, Zambia, the UK, Gabon, Iraq and Namibia. Some delegations have expectations that involve a good deal of ad- ditional work and, consequently, and because delegations are sometimes associated with commercial organisers, the Chamber has had to levy charges at times for performing the expected services. These are currently minimal and will be reviewed to make them market related. BUSINESSSERVICES Despite a desire to assist members by arranging group visits to other countries, the Chamber finds a limited appetite among member companies for this service. Nevertheless, some useful support has been provided, particularly following a careful evaluation of the outcomes of visiting delegations, one way or the other. Some Chamber members accompanied delegations to Zimbabwe and Zambia led by the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism while investigation into business opportunities in Zimbabwe conducted by the Business Services Manager and TIKZN resulted in a seminar to inform member companies in order that they could make sound decisions that might enhance their business prospects.Mention of the value of certificates of origin as a cornerstone of the Chamber’s business has already been made. This work falls within the ambit of Business Services. The value of the data that may be gleaned from all the certificates that the Chamber processes (on average 2,000/month) has been recognised and efforts are being made for this to be captured for generic use. It is a slow process, until manual efforts can be replaced by the electronic submission of the information required for a certificate. When this is possible, clients will submit the necessary information on line and then send a messenger to fetch the certificate which will be printed out and attested in the Chamber. The DCCI is in the forefront of a move to electronic certification (electronic submission and processing) which is common in some other countries, but has comparatively little support in South Africa. The role of Chambers of Commerce in theprocessing of certificates of origin is recognised internationally and under the overall monitorship of the International Chamber of Commerce. However, in South Africa, questions have been raised from time to time, and it would be an error on the part of chambers to be complacent about their current ability to earn revenue from this source. It is considered essential that chambers take the responsibility very seriously, as the Durban Chamber does, and ensure that people involved in the process are trained and regularly retrained somas to avoid any possibility of fraud.
  12. 12. 2322 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 ENTERPRISEDEVELOPMENT T he Chamber’s SMME Desk was supported by ABSA for eight years, from 2004 until 2012. During that period, the sponsor provided the person who managed the service, worked in the Chamber and reported to ABSA as employer. It was a regimen which served the Chamber well and enabled it to pursue important programmes in the realm of enterprise development. Following the termination of the seconded person’s contract, ABSA proposed that its Enterprise Development Centre, located elsewhere in Dur- ban, should be housed within the Chamber. After some necessary discussion about this arrangement, the Chamber agreed, but the bank decided that it would await the Chamber’s move to new premises where the space available would be more adequate. Accordingly, the Chamber took account of ABSA’s needs when the lease was signed with the Lion Match Office Park. The Enterprise Development Centre would be a tenant of the Chamber. Unfortunately, by the end of March this had not mate- rialised. Staff changes within the bank had seen shifts in respon- sibility and, although the agreement in principle remained acceptable to both parties, there have been delays. If it comes to fruition, which is expected, this will be an arrangement of mutual benefit, for the Chamber’s people will collaborate closely with ABSA’s Centre management while, at the same time, not excluding involvement with other banks that may wish to support the Chamber’s enterprise development programmes. The appointment of a new manager to relieve the Business Services Manager of these additional responsibilities is awaited. He or she will be expected to develop a programme which will enable the Chamber to be a facilitator of enterprise and supplier development on behalf of those of its members who choose to avail themselves of this facility. It will also be necessary for the new appointee to activate the Procurement Support Programme which is in place, but more in theory than in practice at present. For this to succeed, it is necessary for small enterprises to provide the information required in order to introduce them to larger companies.At present, members of this department are responsible for the township development project (mentioned earlier) and a mentorship programme for vendors regis- tered with the Municipality. In the case of the latter, as a result of an approach by Engen for enterprise support, these vendors will all be involved in the technical sectors. Meanwhile, SAPREF has sponsored the chamber membership of fifty emergent micro and small enterprises and this is a vehicle for the support of the small business sector and BEE that the Chamber would like to encourage. It is intended that an SMME Conference should be an annual event on the Chamber’s calendar and this event, last held in 2012, will be revived in 2014.
  13. 13. 2524 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 EVENTS A mong the strategies adopted for 2014 was the determination to approach events held by the Chamber in a more integrated fashion. To this end, the 2014 budget was prepared with careful attention being paid to the major events for the year, what they will cost to stage, and what profit they will yield. At the same time, it was acknowledged that the anticipated income from the hire of conference venues fell short of the budget in 2013. Facilities at the former office were not nearly as attractive as they used to be, while the lack of convenient parking inhibited attendance at events. At the new office, however, the Chamber is able to offer much more attractive facilities, security after hours and a great deal more convenient parking. It is a drawback that the conference rooms became available for use in the middle of March which meant that at least a month of possible book- ings had been lost. Visitors to the new facilities, including over 150 people who attended the‘launch’ function on 20 March, have been universally impressed. There is reason to be confident that there will be better performance in this sphere in 2014. The Annual Dinner in 2013 was a huge success. Sponsored by Vodacom, as in previous years, it drew some thousand guests who were delighted with the address given by Robbie Brozin, of Nando’s fame. The contact made with Nando’s resulted in the Chamber assisting in the management of a function later in the year which was held by the company to highlight the plague of malaria in Africa. Fortuitously, the Chamber was approached by a person who had booked Robin Sharma for a visit to Durban, but lacked the infrastructure himself to stage the event. Together with Inter- national Business Vaults (Askhok Sewnarain), which was prepared to invest in the upfront costs, Robin Sharma was staged on a Saturday morning in July. He drew an audience of some 1 500 people who raved about his positive message for personal growth. This event yielded R235 000 profit for the Chamber and prompted a decision that we should stage at least one similar international personality during 2014. The other keynote Chamber function, which has been generously sponsored by Transnet Port Terminals for 15 years, is the annual Exporter of the Year Awards. This successful event was staged during October 2013. With the support of TIKZN, the Chamber was intent on extending the concept of this function to a week of export- related events in order to profile successful companies and assist smaller companies which might be interested in exporting. In addition to these events, there has been a series of so-called Power Connections which have featured such speakers as Bobby Godsell and Alec Hogg, regular Coffee Connection networking events, training sessions and seminars on various important topics including Recruitment and Selection processes, Develop- ments in the Western Area, the eThekwini Growth Plan, Supplier Development, Leadership and Management, Dismissals in the Workplace and the revised BBBEE Codes. A feature of the events during the year was a Conference on Halaal Tourism by which it was hoped to raise awareness of the importance of this sector within the international tourism market.
  14. 14. 2726 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 COMMUNICATIONS H aving served its pur- pose by re-establish- ing regular communication between the Chamber and its members, the Daily Digest was discontinued earlier this year in favour of a newsletter confined to Tuesdays and Thursdays, each with a somewhat specialist focus in order to serve the promotion of Business Services and Policy and Advocacy respectively. Over time, it has become clear that members know too little about what their Chamber does within the ambit of these spheres. It is for this reason that the Tuesday edition of the Chamber Digest will continue to report on events and functions that the Chamber has held. Within the context of the communications policy, the website features prominently. This was introduced during the latter half of 2013 and is built on a platform which is modelled on social media to the extent that it is interactive and allows those who have registered on the site to post a variety of things, including comments, promotional flyers and so on. The intention is to integrate the website and the Chamber Digest as much as possible, for it is essential that members, and others, are drawn to the website to make use of it, and to increase the advertising opportunities available. The website also allows each forum to have its own hub for the exchange of views and for the availability of minutes, for example. The website, together with other systems to which the Chamber subscribes, enables the posting of all the presentations that are done in DCCI events and seminars. In time, members will be able to access video clips of some presentations, and a mo- bisite is planned. Throughout 2013, Hashtag SA (Conrad David) was engaged to manage the Chamber’s use of social media which had been non-existent prior to this appointment. Significant strides were made to bring the Chamber and its activities to the notice of the public, and, of course, individuals within member companies. These media were also used to advertise events. Following the expiry of the con- tract at the end of November, bids to continue this work were invited from member companies, and following a selection process, it was decided to appoint Hashtag SA for a further period of six months. In the meantime, the Communications and Market- ing Manager, Bradley Waltman, had resigned, so the brief to the consultant included management of the website, while the other aspects of communication were entrusted to the two members of the department and the Events Manager in respect of events. Effective communication with members proves very challenging, and may become even more so when compliance with the Protection of Private Information Act is required. The Chamber has many of its own events and services to advertise to members, but is also expected to be the‘postman’for various branches of government, a host of NGOs and private companies which wish to exploit the Cham- ber’s ability to reach, and influ- ence, a large number of business people. Consequently, a balance has to be struck between distributing too many emails and advertising everything we are expected to send out. The unsubscription rate on the part of those who are irritated by the Chamber’s con- stant communications is a wor- rying factor. In response to this difficulty, more requests for as- sistance will have to be declined while those who seek it must be encouraged to do their own posting on the Chamber’s website. It is very pleasing that since the beginning of February, activity on the website has increased noticeably. There are now 443 individuals representing companies and important stakeholders who are registered to post. This number stood at 272 previously. Fur- thermore, the number of unique views on the website has in- creased from 1271 in February to over 4 300 in March.
  15. 15. 2928 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 STAFFING W hen Bradley Waltman resigned in January, it was decided not to fill the Communi- cation and Marketing Manager position immediately. The reason for this is that his tenure had been fraught with tension owing to the lack of integration of effort and understanding between the Events and Marketing Depart- ments, and also the structural division between Marketing and Sales, that is Membership recruit- ment and retention. The success- ful operation of the Chamber, as envisaged by the current staffing structure, depends on a high level of mutual cooperation among managers and joint effort. In order to address this, a series of critical cluster groups has been established to enable managers to meet together on a regular basis to discuss and plan activities that involve different departments. It is in these clus- ters that much of the day-to-day planning must be done so that full management meetings are free to focus on broader strategic issues. At the same time, the CEO has introduced regular one-on- one meetings with each of the managers to allow him to monitor their performances. A great deal needs to be done to encourage managers to accept delegated responsibility and give effect to the activities associated with it. The introduction of a Perfor- mance Management System early in 2013 led to a first round of appraisals at mid-year. Another followed in December. Both led to moderate incentives for better performers, extra leave days for the mid-year assess- ment and a slightly higher salary increase for the above average performers at the end of the year. After the first round of assessments, some adjustments were made to the system, but these did not improve under- standing or objectivity to any great extent. Consequently, the final assessments for the year revealed worrying inconsistencies from one department to another. The achievement of a common standard, which requires deeper insights into the principles of PMS, will develop in time, but the executive challenge is to promote this as quickly as possible. However, the message that has been conveyed to staff by the introduction of the PMS, and the requirement, also intro- duced in 2013, that staff should complete daily time sheets, is that a higher standard of professional performance is required. To this end, managers have a critical role to play.In order to accommodate some travel difficulties experienced by the staff following the move to Umgeni Road, a Flexitime policy has been introduced. This does not give free rein, in the sense that the of- fice must be adequately manned during all normal office hours, but it does allow for some freedom to choose among those whose daily trip to work and back depends on public transport. For the first six months of 2013, the Chamber enjoyed the services of four graduate interns which were subsidised by a Services SETA programme. The subsidisation terminated at the end of June, but all four were retained at the Chamber’s expense because of the value that they brought to its operations. They have all been accommodated substantively in 2014, but the opportunity to recruit another group of graduate interns has not come to light ow- ing to the SETA’s not being able to implement a new programme.
  16. 16. 3130 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Chamber, acknowledges with gratitude • sponsors of various events, including, notably, Transnet Port Terminals, Vodacom, International Bank Vaults, Absa, Capitec Bank, TIKZN, FNB, SEDA, Emirates Airline and Holidays and many others, including Tsogo Sun, Coastlands and Three Cities Hotels; • the services of the members of Council and the Board; • the work of the chairpersons of the Standing and Area Forums and the members who have supported those committees; • all members which have participated actively in the affairs and activities of the Chamber; • the support of those member companies that have made expertise available for the staging of seminars and other presentations; • member companies that have assisted the Chamber by the provision of venues and/or special rates for the use of their services, and/or benefits for members; • the media; • the Chamber’s staff. Akash Singh President 10 April 2014
  17. 17. 32 DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT | APRIL 2013 – APRIL 2014

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