Feedback from the Hazyview Chamber of Business and Tourism Meeting
Sincere thanks to the more than 100 people who turned out for out General Meeting on Wednesday and special thanks to all the officials who came through from Nelspruit and beyond to help us with our deliberations. We REALLY appreciate the support of Vincent Mabuza, Jomo Malupe, Patrick Khoza and Ward 1 Councillor Eric Fankomo. Without your support and understanding, we would be getting nowhere. And we are making progress, as you have seen. Thanks, too, to the four representatives of Ehlanzeni, who came out in support. And last (but never least) thanks to Lucas Mdluli for his good-natured approach to life, when – as I have for the past 25 years – I blame him for everything that is wrong with our town. Lucas understands better than anyone that we are only trying to help and that our co-operation is usually effective. It worked 20 years ago. It is working again.
We are very grateful to James Aling and Renate Scholle for their presentation and for their proposal and wise advice. We do not fully minute our meetings as most of the information that is discussed is regularly covered in our HCBT Mails, such as this one. but as you will have seen, the CID (City Improvement District) potentially opens up a whole new range of possibilities in terms of the issues arising from dealing with endless different departments at municipal, district and provincial level.
If anyone would like a copy of the attendance register, please email me and I will send it to you. All the new email addresses have been added to the mailing list for the HCBT Mail, which everyone receives. Anyone who no longer wishes to receive the Mail is welcome to contact me to have their addresses removed. (This does not apply to officials of any level of government, who will continue to receive the Mail, whether they like it or not. They are not obliged to read it, of course, but not to do so might prove to be foolhardy!)
I am keen to hear back from any or all those who attended the meeting (and anyone who didn’t) with reaction to what was discussed and suggestions for a way forward. It will need all of us to encourage buy-in to the CID concept, which means discussing it with our neighbours, with business in Hazyview and with the farmers. It can only be beneficial to the town in terms of service delivery, appearance, crime, crop theft and in so many other ways. A tourism town needs to have a safe and friendly image and we are losing tourists to other towns at an alarming rate. One only needs to look at the numbers of tourism buses at the malls in the afternoons to realise that it is not just the accommodation establishments that benefit from tourism, it is the whole town.
And if you want to know what we are up against, remember to read ‘How to Steal a City’ by Crispian Olver. Luckily Mbombela does not suffer from all the same issues as Port Elizabeth does in the book, but it gives a great insight into just how complicated is the task of our senior municipal management and there is no doubt that some of the problems faced in the book are faced daily by our representatives in Nelspruit. And it reads like a thriller. I recommend it strongly.
A few areas that we might have glossed over in the meeting include:
I mentioned that Green’s Waste were keen to assist with recycling of glass and tins. Interested parties can either deliver to their depot by the Sand River Bridge below Safari Lodge or arrange for collection. For more details, contact Jason on 082 652 9330.
Hazyview’s Diamond Jubilee
Hazyview may be a ‘Groot Gat’ in a different way to Kimberly but we are working on that problem. In the meantime, we need to get some ideas together for the town’s Diamond Jubilee. Hazyview was officially promulgated as a town in 1969 and therefore celebrates 60 years next year. Send us your thoughts please.
Community Involvement and Recommendations of Artisans
Tourism needs to do everything in its power to interact on a positive level with every section of the community. For that reason, I suggested that we should be sharing information regarding good service received from local businesses and artisans. I propose that this should be on the Hazyview Upliftment WhatsApp Group, which is a forum for reporting issues relating to municipal problems – we referred to it yesterday – but, in order to keep things positive, I think we should also be offering our congratulations to the Municipality when something good happens, and recommending the services of builders, plumbers, electricians, thatchers, musicians, thatchers and so on. I am definitely not recommending Rissington’s thatcher but I have plenty of good artisans on all other fronts that I can recommend. Please feel free to use the Hazyview Upliftment group (NB NOT THE SAFE TOURISM HAZYVIEW WHATSAPP GROUP) to recommend people. The idea is that we should share information on unexpectedly good service in areas required by the tourism industry and details of services that we might not otherwise have known existed in our area. If you are not on the Hazyview Upliftment Group, and you would like to be, please let me know and I will add you in.
Steven von Bardeleben, of Ehlanzeni, has sent me information on the App that is in place for reporting service delivery problems. I shall use it to report some of our issues and see whether it works. Again, if you have anything you specifically want me to report, please email me or post it on the Hazyview Upliftment WhatsApp group. Again I repeat NOT THE SAFE TOURISM HAZYVIEW WHATSAPP GROUP which is for safety issues ONLY!
A Breakthrough after the Meeting
In the discussions after the meeting, we had what appears to be a possible major breakthrough in terms of Bylaw Enforcement in relation to noise from shebeens (and also illegal traders). The various representatives of Ehlanzeni, HCBT and Mbombela met up informally to discuss the issues and a follow-up formal meeting will be called by Esther Mahlalela (who spoke at the meeting) to deal with the issue. Ms Mahlalela tells us that all the necessary bylaws are in place, that the shebeens in Kabokweni and KaNyamazane close at midnight and that there is no reason why Hazyview should not be the same. I suspect that it is a policing issue, but she is convinced that she can assist us in putting it right. Watch this space.
Lisa Sheard from KLT – Working on roads
I mentioned that Lisa could not attend our meeting as she was at a roads meeting. She has reported back that there is an audit underway of all the roads in the region to assist in prioritising and budgeting for repairs. Lisa felt that the meeting was positive and she will continue to help drive the process. I won’t give you the numbers when it comes to how much funding would be required to fix up our roads because it would alarm you into a state of total depression! But it is good that the issue is be addressed seriously now.
This is just one of the many areas where KLT does so much for us all, by interacting at provincial and national level – and another reason why you should be joining up. Your membership helps both KLT and HCBT. In addition, we continue to ask for your donations, monthly, annually, or once-off, to help us to pay Elvis’s salary.
Traffic and Roads
We never really know whether we are responsible for events in our town and region, but I could not help noticing a huge level of activity by traffic police in Hazyview yesterday afternoon. We do however NEED speed bumps (not rumble strips) coming down the R40 hill to De Rust and again from De Rust to the Mugg and Bean Total. And at Perry’s Bridge. Rumble strips do not slow people down but they make a terrible noise. (Thank you to the person who scraped off the rumble strips outside Thulamela’s entrance – please can you scrape off the remaining strips in the yellow line section at the same point? You can hear those strips more than a kilometre away and they do nothing useful at all!).
Mbombela tries to tell us that speed bumps are not allowed on main roads, but this is simply not true. They are everywhere in KZN and Gauteng, and even in Mpumalanga. In Piet Retief, for example. It is the ONLY way that we are going to stop the cars, taxis and trucks flying along the R40 through Hazyview. That road is lethal. And the same applies on the road from town to the Sanbonani bridge. I have spoken to SANRAL about their section. Mbombela PLEASE deal with yours! Thanks.
I mentioned that reputation management during the meeting – and discussions are under way with KLT for them to assist us in supervising social media to ensure that any damaging or inaccurate comment on Facebook or TripAdvisor etc is answered and corrected. I think this is crucial. Anyone who is happy to assist with this should please contact me.
What do you think?
The HCBT Mail will continue to drop into your email box as we continue with our efforts – although it will not necessarily appear on a regular fortnightly basis from now onwards. I shall report as and when we have issues to discuss. Please, however, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK. We are keen to receive your thoughts and ideas, especially on matters arising from the meeting on Wednesday.
For non-members who receive this mail and would like to sign up as members, see attached membership application form. Please send it back to me so that I can see that you are supporting us and I can then pass it on to KLT for processing. An e-brochure is also attached. Please do join, if you haven’t already done so. We rely on your support just as much as you rely on ours. And if you are not already making a donation towards Elvis’s salary, please consider doing so. We also need more business members, to broaden our representation beyond tourism and to increase our clout.
We shall be meeting with The Municipal Manager himself in June for our quarterly get-together in the run-up to the July school holidays and also meeting with Roads and Traffic to discuss signage, road blocks and problem areas on our roads including, yes, the Kruger Park Lodge entrance and numerous others.
Thanks again to everyone for all your past and future input and THANKS TO SABI RIVER SUN for a superb venue for our General Meeting.
Have a great weekend.
Hotelier African Travel Writer Author