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A Brief History on the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Kimberley’s Chamber – Conclusion

 

Many of the chain stores relinquished membership in 1979 creating a mini catastrophe in the ranks of the Chamber, but by the time of the Centenary in 1980 membership had again risen to total some 170.

 

Nicholas Oppenheimer, heir to the De Beers and Anglo-American dynasty of his grandfather Sir Ernest and father, Harry, was the guest speaker at the Centenary banquet held at the Savoy Hotel on 9 October 1980. He expanded on the views of his grandfather when saying that the “diamond mines that have been so important these last one hundred years cannot continue forever and during the next 15 to 20 years the responsibilities resting on business and commerce will become heavier as the great mines gradually phase out of production. Efforts to expand the city commercially and industrially must be redoubled to provide the employment opportunities that your growing population will require and expect, without reliance on the mining industry.”

 

“Kimberley in the past has set the pace for the country and I see no reason why it cannot do so again.”

 

The early 1980s was a difficult time for Kimberley, with many businesses going insolvent or into liquidation. There was horrendous unemployment and retrenchment across the board, and the Rand plummeted to 20 cents below its value of 1973. The continued apartheid laws and regulations were not good for business and economic sanctions was beginning to be felt by all.

 

In 1985 the first Chamber of Commerce annual booklet was produced bringing in some much needed revenue, and, through the efforts of Lawrie Shuttleworth, the re-introduced Kimberley tram was earning the city not only cash but friends as well with some 70 000 visitors riding the tram in 1985 and 1986. The Central Business District (CBD) opened to all races in 1986, and the Chamber offered assistance to all local black businessmen the following year. An innovation was the offering of a secretarial service to all members in 1987 and at the AGM that year both the long serving Poddy Shein and Gerald Barnes were elected Honorary Members of the Chamber.

 

On the 18th January 1990 the title of the Chamber changed to the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the Kimberley Industrial Association had folded and joined the Chamber. Assocom changed their name to SACOB and the Chamber opened the Kimberley Commercial Exchange for the benefit of the members. The name change lasted less than a year as it became the Northern Cape Chamber of Business, thus giving the smaller towns in the vicinity of Kimberley the chance to join what was hoped would be a growing business association.

In 1992 Business Watch was introduced in order to assist businesses in combating crime, and is still going strong today as an essential part of the Chambers activities. The 1990s saw South Africa and Kimberley undergoing major political and socio-economic changes, all of which are recent enough to hopefully still be in a member’s memories. Suffice to say, Kimberley had their first democratically elected council with an African Mayor, David Monyamane, and the city had been proclaimed the capital of a new province, the Northern Cape. The changing times were (ands still are) exciting indeed.

 

However by 1997 there was a negative business perception of economic growth, an ongoing observation in the history of the Chamber and Kimberley over the last 120 years, and is something that Kimberley has never managed to shake off, despite the fact that the Chamber had close on 450 members – the highest membership ever.

 

Perhaps the best has been left to last as the amalgamation of the separate English and Afrikaans business associations meant that for the first time in Kimberley’s history the business world spoke with one single unified voice. The Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) was launched in 2000 with great expectations for the future. The future, as we all know, is learning from yesterdays good and bad, and coupling it to todays hard work.

 

LONG SERVING PRESIDENTS

 

16 YEARS      1893-1908     WT ANDERSON

10 YEARS      1967-1972     HL (PODDY) SHEIN

1975-1980

7 YEARS         1885-1892     HFE PISTORIUS

4 YEARS         1932-1935     GM HUNTER

4 YEARS         1963-1967     D HENDERSON

 

 

FOUNDATION MEMBERS

 

Peach and Company                 Dr Matthews

Saber Brothers                                CH Hartley

Hill and Paddon                             George Bottomley

Ferguson and Hasel                      JJG Rhodes

Haarhoffs                                         Compagnie Francaise des Mines de Diamante

EW Tarry and Co                            F Baring Gould

Chisholm and Company                        JC Rimer

Goldschmidt and Company     George Goch

Hazell Ballan and Co                    Arthur Stead

W Anderson and Co                     DE Doveton

AA Rothschild                                 John Birbeck

Anton J Petersen                           Peter W Scholtz

H Willegerod                                    F de Pass

GH Hull                                              Alphonse Levy

B Rintel                                              Henry Tucker

JP Ablett                                           JH Hartley

T Puzey                                              Cecil J Rhodes

L Diering                                           Moses Cornwall

T Crowder                                        Julius Pam

S Neuman                                        James Wilson

G Kilgour                                          HB Wallis

London & SA Exploration                        R Hinricksen

JG Reid                                             Joel Abrahams

RM Roberts                                      B Hampsen

AG Biden                                          Max Michaelis

HB Hart                                              

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