I APPLAUD the entrepreneur writing in The Herald of September 16 for standing up to say it as it is ("City hamstrung by poor leadership"). His comments around the political leadership are well made.
The support he shows for the MBDA, CDC and IDC is also well deserved – they are all striving to make the city a better place. These organisations have strong leaders with personal traits that make them stand out from the crowd.
In particular, I applaud his summary of the NMB Business Chamber as "ineffective and irrelevant". One has to applaud the chamber on having a well oiled PR machine – however, that is about all one can applaud the chamber for.
The much lauded task teams are nothing more than talk shops. Does the chamber board really think that it is sustainable for the Port Elizabeth Harbour to be transformed in something akin to a V&A Waterfront?
Does the chamber really think it can influence whether PE becomes a green hub? I am growing tired of hearing or seeing chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler in the media, being held up as a voice of business.
He is representingthe business community on what basis? Barely 800 businesses subscribe as chamber members and many of those are "sleeping" corporate members like banks, insurers, etc.
President Brian Dowley and deputy president Nomkhita Mona resigned from the board – rumours of disagreements with Hustler were cited.
The last year has seen more than 50% of chamber staff leave the organisation.
Our city needs strong leaders with integrity, leaders who can create a vision and can carry their staff and those around them towards the future. As the author of the letter says, "it (the chamber) needs radical change" – and the first place where change is needed is among the leadership.
I urge the chamber board to bring in a leader who can truly capture the voice of business and help to change our city for the better.
Former chamber member, Port Elizabeth