March 2014: Update

Dear Business Owner,

This a brief update on what is happening at the GCCC.

The Chamber’s constitution has not yet been ratified as the representatives from Kgubetswana have not been appointed because the Kgubetswana Cooperative has concerns about the number of representatives that they will have on the Chamber board. This was discussed with a representative of the cooperative at a meeting held on Monday 10th March. The Cooperative has asked that the GCCC board be made up of 6 directors, 3 from upper Clarens and 3 from Kgubetswana. The matter of representation has been referred back to the facilitators of the Chamber constitution.

Notwithstanding the above, the three directors appointed to represent Upper Clarens have met on a number of occasions to start addressing issues of concern to businesses in Upper Clarens. The most pressing issue (as expressed at the public meeting in January) is municipal rates and following a meeting on 6th March with Peter Reed and Raymond Provos (CFO Dihlabeng Municipality), we are pleased to report that –

– The Dihlabeng Municipality is very pleased about the formation of the Chamber and looks forward to interacting on issues of concern to business

– The business property valuation objections lodged by Clarens business owners have been taken to the appeal board and new property values have been set

– The Municipality has lodged some objections where it feels the new values have been set too low

– These cases have to go back to court for settlement

– We will be sent a schedule of the valuation amendments within the next 10 days

– It was agreed by the Municipality and the Chamber representatives that in cases where the municipality has no objection to the reduced valuations set at the appeal hearings, that the ratepayers (businesses) be refunded the difference between what they have paid for rates and what they would have paid at the lower valuations; obviously in the case of valuations subject to appeal by the Municipality, this will only be done on the outcome of the appeal.

– A further meeting of the directors from Upper Clarens was held on Tuesday 11th March in which discussions were held with a representative of MTN about their desiredrequirements for the hosting of cycle races in Clarens going forward.  An impromptu meeting was held about the possible inclusion, in a Carte Blanche report on cattle theft, of a piece on crime (specifically car theft) in Clarens. It was agreed that this was not a major issue for Clarens and not in the town’s interest and that nothing would be put forward.

In closing, the meeting with the Municipality was so positive that we now feel that the Chamber’s “career” has finally been launched.

Please advise your e-mail address to stubrelaxed@gmail.com in order to be included on our mailing list. Other contact details for the Chamber will be advised shortly.

Regards

Malcolm Hickman, Natalie Meyer, Carl Swerts