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2020, a year that most want to forget

13 Dec 2020 11:32 | John-Ernest Fogwell (Administrator)

Dear Friend and Business Colleague,

The year 2020 is fast running to and end with most of us overly excited at the prospect to greet this tumultuous year goodbye. We survived a year filled with more uncertainty, anxiety, and disbeliefs than most of us have experienced in an entire lifetime. As we all start the process of bidding 2020 goodbye an alleged second wave and the knowledge that the economic fight is not over hampers our celebration and brings back the reality that 2021 is likely going to be one of the toughest economic years faced by our young economy.

Most economist will tell you that our economy is in depression, with many saying it is actually a deep depression. With opinions ranging from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 jobs lost in an already battered economy. We are also being warned that business liquidation application is poised to rise towards the latter part of the first quarter and into the second quarter of 2021. This rise is expected by some to be estimated 180,000 entities it is not unfathomable that another 1,000,000 jobs may be lost in the first half of 2021. A dire situation for an economy that needs to create jobs at an incredible pace, not loose job opportunities like leaves on an autumn tree.

A specific point that shows the terrifying impact of this disease is that more than 250,000 domestic workers have lost their jobs. As this is a sector predominantly employs woman, mothers, and is a steppingstone out of total poverty for many, I am deeply saddened by the impact on these important breadwinners and as such having on our poorest component of our nation.  

That said, allow me to provide a different perspective. This is the time for us as small business owners and entrepreneurs to stand up. It is time for us to leverage our opportunities and aggressively focus on the health and wellbeing of our businesses. Responsible capitalism must now hear the call and approach their business with doubtless vigour, passion, and innovation. It is most likely the first time in the modern economy that smaller businesses have an advantage against its larger competitors.

Our ability to adapt, innovate and grab opportunities is providing us with an ability to outperform our larger cousins. Our lower cost base and the rapid increase in technological advancement has closed the gap between what the big boys can do, and we can do. The playing field is fast becoming flatter. With technology like Teams and Zoom, we can also attack markets in what once was far flung lands, with marketing tools like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn we can market our products and services as far and wide, or as targeted as we want. With the fast fall in the cost of innovation we can see smaller companies making larger impacts more quickly.

Yes, 2021 will not be all sunshine and rainbows, but for the adaptable this new environment is poised to provide new opportunities for business growth. Let your creative juices flow, adapt your business offering around your clients needs, not yours, and you will most likely be fantastically rewarded.

The Diamond Chamber of Commerce looks forward to walking this gravel road with all of you. We are available to provide support and assistance where we can. Afford us the opportunity to join you in this new journey.

Warm Regards,
John-Ernest Fogwell
Chamber President


Before we continue, I think it is important for all of us to salute all the children and parents that survived academic calendar that was 2020. This year was surely one of the most disruptive ever experienced by mankind.

We at the Diamond Chamber of Commerce would like to specifically salute our matriculants that have completed their school career this year. You were battered by uncertainty; you were surrounded by fear, you had new teaching methods and you had slightly confused parents that tried to fill the role of a teacher. You stood up to the challenge and we are extremely proud of you.

Whatever you plan for your future, we wish you all the best of luck. You are entering a new world, not only proverbial but in a very real way. Hit it, you can definitely do it. If a father of a matriculant can be so forward as to offer a piece of advice: BE LIKE A RIVER– Keep your flow, environments will change and so will the speed at which you flow. Obstacles will be in your way, some even made by others, adapt but remain steadfast and remember, a river always finds its way to the sea. So, will you!!!
As the year draws to a close it is important to review the year that has passed and the impact that was made to the community your serve. We at the Diamond Chamber of Commerce is immensely proud of the support our members empowered us to provide.

Allow us to provide some feedback:
  1. We proudly hosted two extremely successful events with incredible speakers that was attended by nearly 200 businesses.
  2. We were able to make membership and access to our events more affordable than ever, allowing membership figures to grow during this pandemic.
  3. Our Covid-19 Relief Team provided food parcel support that provided several member company's and their staff with food security for period of approximately 4 months and touched the lives of nearly 1000 community members.
  4. We provided business coaching to over 100 companies, equating to just over 500 hours of high impact coaching on different business needs.
  5. Our collaboration project has assisted 8 companies to collaborate with each other to not only survive the economic pandemic, but some even thrived from that base.
  6. Our sponsors empowered us to keep the post office gardens thriving.
  7. We played an active role, with our partners, to provide important assistance during the water crisis.
  8. Our Covid-19 Business Support plan was implemented by other Chambers in Gauteng. The Diamond Chamber of The Centurion Business Forum jointly run one of the largest business support initiatives. 
All this was made possible not by any individual but by the joint effort of every member of the Diamond Chamber of Commerce and we are humbled by the fact that we could be the conduit through which so much good came during a tough year.

We trust these achievements will become a foundation for greater future achievements within our community.

We thank you all for your support during the year and we look forward to be your business representative in 2021.

Local agricultural group, The Cavalier Group of Companies that specializes in creating the shortest and most cost-effective route for red meat products from farm to fork, recently undertook a small scale expansion of their plant just outside Cullinan, expanding its biltong manufacturing abilities. Although the expansion project may be regarded as a relatively small project for this specialist group, the management, in line with its strategy to add value to the community engaged with specialist construction companies willing to go the extra mile towards community upliftment.

“When engaging with specialist construction companies we did not merely request local participation in their labour hire process, but we also demanded local beneficiation to community members within Region 5. The team at CG Construction was up to the challenge” says Kabols le Riche (CEO Cavalier)
From this dedication the “GreenCrete Training Plan” was born focused on training and accrediting local labourers as specialist bricklayers using the new GreenCrete technology. Apart from finishing the project as expert and accredited GreenCrete installers, the 3 local participants will also receive a file reflecting the on-the-job training they have received during the project cycle.

“We are extremely proud of the 3 individuals that completed this rigorous accreditation process, and we are confident that they will be able to secure even better employment opportunities in the near future.” Said le Riche
The success of any such project however lies in the day to day operations of the project and as such we at Cavalier would like to thank the excellent team of CG Construction, especially Coenraad Groenwald and Wikus Roelofse for the passion they injected into our strategy” continued le Riche.

As if this achievement was not enough the team also appointed Mr. Thabo Ntlantlane as Intern Site Manager. This young and vibrant member of the local community grabbed this opportunity with vigour. As part of his development plan Thabo will not only receive his GreenCrete accreditation, but is also receiving further management training and accredited skills training as well, arming this young man with an envious CV to enter the construction management market as a trained, accredited and experienced professional.


The Diamond Chamber of Commerce (DCC) ia a business chamber for Region 5 including Tshwane, Dinokeng, Cullinan, Rayton, Refilwe, Onverwacht and surrounding areas.

+27 (012) 305 2501
Address: 89A Oak Avenue, Cullinan, Pretoria, 1000


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