DURBAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY NPC
Since it was established 163 years ago, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been an advocate on issues that impact Durban’s economic growth and prosperity, on behalf of the eThekwini business community. “The Durban Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1856, and we are very proud that we remain relevant,” says Musa Makhunga, Durban Chamber president. The Durban Chamber is a world-class business chamber that works with members, the business community and all levels of government to achieve the vision to be “In Business for a Better World”.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, the thought process, the meaning and the direction of business are all the same,” says Nigel Ward, Durban Chamber deputy president. “Around the world, chambers are an integral part of running cities. The entire chamber movement facilitates trade and economic growth to meet the needs of society.” The Durban Chamber identifies government policy relevant to organised business in Durban by amplifying core issues that impact on business with short, medium- and long-term perspectives. At the heart of this unit are industry-specific forums and Area forums (Western, Northern, Southern, Central) that engage on a monthly or bi-quarterly base. “Our forums provide the coal face of interaction between our members and the Durban Chamber. This is where get city officials and provincial policy makers to interact with our members in terms of any plans that are being put in place as well as business opportunities that available,” says Palesa Phili, Durban Chamber CEO.
“The platforms that the Durban Chamber offers businesses are absolutely incredible and businesses are associated with the Durban Chamber derive huge benefits from the chamber movement,” says Ward. Durban Chamber plays an important role in looking big business as well as being a conduit for big and small businesses to work together. Here, business competitors can sit together and have a constructive discussion about the industry and industry-related challenges. One of key things that I am passionate about promoting driving is collaboration. Whether you are a big corporate or a small developing SMME, if we collaborate, we be able to overcome the challenges that we are currently experiencing in the city and the province.”
The Durban Chamber’s Board and Council lead and support the executive management and members to stay the course in achieving its strategic and operational objectives and goals. President of the Durban Chamber Musa Makhunga is committed to ethical business practices and ensuring that local business leaders and government work together to stimulate the city’s economy. Under his stewardship, the Durban Chamber has been through significant changes in the past two years. In 2018, the Durban Chamber formally registered as a Non-Profit Company (NPC). Additionally, the Durban Chamber underwent significant organisational and operational restructuring to align its processes with industry best practice to support businesses. Palesa Phili says she and the Durban Chamber employees share a common value to make a difference. “We share a common passion; we want to make an impactful difference in society, in the business community and where we live.”
The Durban Chamber is a membership-based and member-focused organisation and its core purpose is to serve its members. The Durban Chamber’s tangible services are apparent in its many long-standing members; Acutts has been a member of the Durban Chamber for 163 years, as has Edward Snell. The membership average growth rate at the Durban Chamber over the years has been -+15%. In 2018 however, the Durban Chamber saw a tremendous escalation of membership by 28%. 449 new companies joined the Durban Chamber movement, including 290 start-up company registrations. In addition, the Durban Chamber does not turn anyone away who needs information on business matters – In addition to its members, the Durban Chamber serves the broader KZN business community. The Durban Chamber brand is about being part of a family. Makhunga says, “13 years ago when I started my consulting business, I joined the Durban Chamber because I said to myself, I need to find likeminded people, I need to find family. 13 years later I am now head of that family.”
“The friendships formed through the Durban Chamber are valuable and this is what keeps you coming back,” says Ward. “In business, if you really want to be a step ahead of everybody else, it’s all about the networks you’ve got. The Durban Chamber is the common thread through all the networks that are created in business.”
The Durban Chamber has helped to grow Durban businesses globally, helping them connect with members of visiting trade delegations, source products from international suppliers, and access information on export and import regulations. The Durban Chamber issues Certificates of Origin (COO) (an international trade document that attests that goods are wholly manufactured and produced in a particular country) and promote growth along the value chain and create jobs. The Durban Chamber’s new electronic Certificates of Origin solution, essCert, provides all exporters with a secure, online tool for the application of electronic Certificates of Origin.
In 2018, Durban Chamber helped facilitate international trade and investment opportunities with key partners around the City to give Durban businesses a look t what was being offered in the international market. The Durban Chamber is a proud partner of the #Shape-Durban movement lead by the eThekwini Municipality. Shape Durban is an economic and inclusive growth initiative geared towards building a City that everyone wants to live in. The Durban Chamber’s social responsibility is apparent in its participation in campaigns to mobilise aid in response to the disasters that occurred in Mozambique as well after the recent flooding and heavy rainfall in and around Durban.
THE FUTURE IMPACT
The Durban Chamber is excited about the future promises new opportunities. Launching soon is a member benefits card, and a website app to further underscore Durban Chamber is a future-focused technology-driven organisation. It is important for South Africa to get business authorities to work together to address issues of inequality, poverty and slow economic growth. Of note, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide many opportunities where business can take the lead work together in promoting socio-economic development in society with its members and other key stakeholders. The Durban Chamber is leading this effort in the city across KZN.
#DurbanMustRise – the Durban Chamber official hashtag – signifies working towards achieving joint goals to move local businesses forward.