EAPA-SA’s East London-based Ikhala Chapter was established on 29 October 2004 with Ms Lulama Matu as Chairperson. In 2006 the chapter received its first Chapter of the Year award under the leadership of Ms Matu. The chapter has had remarkable leaders who have to its growth and between 40 -50 members regularly attend chapter events.
The current committee comprises:
- Chapter Chairperson: Bridgette Cain-Noveve
- Deputy Chairperson: Mbuyi Ntsangase
- Stakeholder and Marketing: Mtatlale Masemola
- Education and Membership: Mpho Mhlomi
- Treasurer: Ntobeko Mtetweni
- Secretary: Prema Naidoo
Additional nominated members – Zola Mxalisa and Sivuyile Rexe
As Head office for Provincial government is based in Bhisho, East London, the Chapter draws its membership mainly from the public sector, including municipalities. That Ikhala is based in and around the provincial government is a plus for operations and this pushes the Chapter to elevate the quality of their service offerings beyond expectations. The Chapter operates according to an annual operational plan with events range from team buildings, developmental sessions and in 2016 held its first awards and gala evening.
Ikhala Chapter is unique for several different reasons:
Firstly, the commitment of the executive committee is never questioned. Energy levels are high and everyone brings their unique skills to the table. Secondly, Ikhala has recently started a mentorship programme for old and new members. The intention is a two-way learning where skills are passed from mentors to protégés and the other way round. Thirdly, chapter members come from diverse backgrounds and each member is valued. The chapter upholds common values that include professionalism, integrity and respect and the chapter members are a good mix of introverts and extroverts who possess social sensitivity, communicate proactively, and are always goal driven.
That the area around East London is peri-urban in nature, means that Ikhala chapter serves a less resourced area, yet people from the rural areas are hungry for development and those from the towns are aspirant. This has resulted in the growth of the organisation. In addition, having huge motor industry plants, as well good competition among the banks, as well as an insurance industry within reach comes in handy for sponsorship and stakeholder management.
Chairperson Bridgette Cain-Noveve says: “When we started back in October 2004, we carried the values and culture of the branch based in Port Elizabeth, and we were not sure how we were going to sustain their vibrancy. We admit that earning of the Chapter of the year Award in 2006 came to us as a spirit lifter, which we have since always tried to maintain by putting in our best efforts. The Chapter experienced load shedding at times as a result of confusion from the changing Public Sector paradigms such as the transition from EAP to EHW. The EAP concept was confused with the tears and tissue programme whereas it encapsulates whole lot more than that. Most organisations thought the beginning of EHW programme was the end of EAP’s so that called for more effort and a consolidated approach. We started doing things differently, by engaging with various stakeholders and working shoulder to shoulder with those who started the branch. This made things easy for the new comers and the entire chapter. We were able to blend the old culture with the new to concretise our chapter. We have seen employer support increasing over the years. In 2016 when we were the largest group in the National conference we knew that we have a lot to do in terms of the attending numbers compared to registered members.”
“We started seeing a flow in our operations and like any organisation we have had challenges that helped us to improve. We have seen employer support increasing over the years. In 2016 when we were the largest group in the National conference we knew that we have a lot to do in terms of the attending numbers compared to registered members. We are perpetually progressing in terms of ensuring that our chapter members claim that they belong, as diverse as they are. In our experience, members are thriving when they can consistently claim the following four statements:
I’m developing (professional thriving): I’m thriving in my need to expand my influence and ability.
I’m confident (emotional thriving): I’m thriving in my need to feel safe and hopeful.
I’m known (relational thriving): I’m thriving in my need for community.
I’m valued (significance thriving): I’m thriving in my need to contribute meaningfully.
It goes without saying that the future for Ikhala Chapter is bright. 11 years down the line, and we are still committed to professionalize EAP and ensure that we serve the EC workplace arena with pride and confidence.”
To visit the chapter or contact the Chapter Chairperson, please visit their page https://www.eapasa.co.za/ikhala/