ZIMBABWEAN business people living in SA will soon have their own chamber of commerce, the Zimbabwe South Africa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ZIMSACCI) whose sole mandate will be to foster relationships, promote, network and market their business, says ZimSacci president Julius Shamu
“There has been no voice that speaks for Zimbabwean businesses and the idea came about after realising that Zimbabwe as a country is not represented and does not have its own chamber of commerce in SA unlike other countries ,” explains the Cape Town based businessman.
Some of the organisation’s functions will be to :
Serve its members, with opportunities to meet and do business with other members and with resources to enhance their success.
Speak for business, with a collective voice on public policy issues affecting business and our communities.
Promoting an environment for business growth, encouraging economic development efforts that strengthens South Africa and by enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve.
“ As an organization we will be committed to excellence in all aspects of our operations. Led by the Chamber’s Board of community leaders with support from a professional staff, we will ensure that the skills, talents and interests of our members are effectively utilized and supported and that everyone’s experience with the chamber is positive and productive one,” adds Shamu.
Shamu who is also the Director of Shamstone group of companies says the headquarters will be based in Cape Town and that branch chapters will be rolled out in SA’s other provinces.
“The chapters will have their own chairpersons and will follow the same ideals and goals, “says Shamu, adding that the chapters will be fully established within a year.
ZIMSACCI already has a constitution, a code of conduct and a board of directors which is waiting for a certificate from the Department of Social Development and is expected to be out in the next few weeks.
Some of the benefits of being a member and being associated with ZIMSACCI are:
Networking, promoting member businesses, communication, training, and advertising on the chamber’s website as well as attending annual general meetings.
To be a member of ZIMSACCI, all members will have to register their businesses and comply with the laws of the country when conducting their businesses.
“ZIMSACCI will play a major part in assisting its members in registering their businesses which we see as one of the biggest challenges that most Zimbabwean business people face daily, ” he says
“At the moment the support is not there, and with the launch of ZIMSACCI, there is no doubt that we will be able to overcome most of the hurdles, be able to meet up, network, recommend each other as well give each other referrals, reiterates Shamu”
Other than the administrative challenges faced, businesses also find it difficult to get financing and Shamu says the new Chamber will try and lobby the SA government to make it conducive for Zimbabweans to be able to access loans from the finance institutions.
Says Shamu “There is no chamber of commerce that gives out loans but we can always recommend and lobby the government. For instance there is a Zimbabwean run bank in Cape Town, which can give out loans with reasonable interest charge. As a chamber we can only recommend and at the same time certain FICA requirements have to be met” he adds.
“The government has regularised the stay of most Zimbabweans, and most do work and conduct businesses and contributing to the country’s tax base.”
“Personally I have not experienced what they call institutional xenophobia, where people have been denied loans because they are non SA citizens, I have also not heard or met anyone who has the correct documentation and who has been denied a loan and it will be unfair for people to say I have denied a loan so it’s institutional xenophobia yet the individual does not meet the necessary requirements” he says.
In conclusion Shamu encouraged all Zimbabwean SA based business people to register with ZIMSACCI.