History of the JCCI

In the rough and ready days, when Johannesburg was hardly more than a mining camp, the Chamber was already playing a pivotal role in the rapidly expanding business community.

Founded in1890, the Chamber quickly became the leading business organization in the region. From inception it concerned itself with promoting and facilitating international trade between the remote outpost at the tip of Africa and the rest of the commercial world. Since then the Chamber has developed a reputation as an impartial third party in the promotion of business for its members and as the region’s foremost link between local and overseas business.

The Chamber takes most seriously its duty to fairly and impartially represent the interests of the business community and to provide a leadership role on matters of concern. As the voice of business, in the years since 1890, the Chamber has lobbied government on issues such as taxes, transport, monopolies, and price controls.

In 1910 the then Chamber President recorded the principle that has guided the organisation ever since, namely “we have invariably taken the broad view and have endeavoured whilst safeguarding our own interests to do so only in so far as they are in consonance with and not in conflict with the interests of the community as a whole”. During the Apartheid era, this ethic inevitably led to confrontation with government as the Chamber saw the policy of separate development as a grave handicap to the nation.