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Cobus Oelofse - CEO iLembe Chamber of Commerce : The iLembe Chamber's President's Awards 2016


The first group of people recognised for their outstanding contribution to the iLembe business community during 2016 was a special group of iLembe Chamber mentors. Their dedication, not only to the iLembe Chamber, but especially to their mentees (both as part of The Entrepreneur Programme or
otherwise), have inspired and gained the respect of small business owners across our district. These mentors volunteer their time to visit mentees' businesses in the most remote parts of iLembe, spent their Saturday mornings at the Chamber in support of The Entrepreneur finalists, as well as countless hours in coffee shops mulling over sometimes very flimsy business dreams.

If you read through the very impressive CV of these mentors you realise the significance of their contribution, often alongside running their own businesses. Their critical contribution and commitment are not often enough recognised and acknowledged.

These people are:
  • Jim Wilson
  • Kim Blevin
  • Heather Pienaar
  • Alasdair Yuill
  • Rodger Stewart
Golf Challenge

As part of the iLembe Chamber's initiative to promote golf tourism in the district, the Chamber formed a unique partnership with its four tourist ready golf courses to present the district's first ever celebrity golf challenge where all of these courses, Prince's Grant, Simbithi Country Club, Umhlali Country Club and Zimbali Country Club, were played over two days by teams of celebrities representing these courses.

When we approached SuperSport, and its SuperGolf programme, to share the idea with them, they decided to feature, over four consecutive SuperGolf programmes, these golf courses and thereby promoted to the whole of Africa our district's enormous golf tourism potential.

The Chamber acknowledges Louis Hattingh, Richard Maspero (presenter) and the rest of the team at SuperSport, contribution and trust that this will be the start of an enduring relationship. Rung Button, Director of Inspirations Travel, Provincial Chairperson of SATSA and chairperson of the Chamber's Tourism Standing Committee received the award on behalf of SuperSport.


The 2016 pre-election period was a challenging time for businesses in the iLembe District. What was described as the worst protests in South Africa's democratic history saw Isithebe, South Africa's biggest Industrial Park, paralysed for weeks. There were severe interruptions to businesses in the Shakashead area and significant damage and threat to agricultural operations - with fully loaded cane trucks being set alight amidst the worst drought in the district in a 100 years.

During this time of political infighting and unrest the SAPS' iLembe Cluster engaged with the Chamber, attended meetings whenever they were required and joined the Chamber in engaging with political structures to resolve problems that were very much political issues, exploited by criminal elements.

Through the SAPS' support we believe that more significant disruptions to business were avoided and their unwavering resolve and support safeguarded business operations and our community's people alike. Central to these engagements was Brigadier Zondi, at the time acting cluster commander, as well as the station commanders throughout the district. Lt Col Mathura received the award on behalf of the SAPS' iLembe Cluster.

T: 087 354 6343

Cobus Oelofse - CEO iLembe Chamber of Commerce : The iLembe Chamber's President's Awards 2016

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