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Sugar industry body in row over rules


Durban - The SA Sugar Association (Sasa) has until month-end to scrap sugar levies to the SA Farmers Development Association (Safda) and some of its “anti-transformation” regulations.

This comes after a long battle between the SA Cane Growers' Association (Sacga), a Sasa-recognised association, and Safda, an association formed by black cane growers who broke away from Sacga over anti-transformation practices.

Image - IOL

The matter landed in the Department of Trade and Industry portfolio committee last week. The committee instructed Sasa, the regulatory body of the sugar industry, to report back to the committee by the end of the month on the progress done in scrapping the repressive regulations.

Safda made a presentation to the committee showing how Sasa’s rules deprived black small-scale emerging sugar cane growers.

Chairman Siyabonga Madlala said Sasa did not represent emerging cane growers.

“It’s been two years since we became independent because our needs were not attended to. Small-scale cane growers are the majority in the industry, yet they are undermined.

“Sasa regulations force us to participate under Sacga as it (Sasa) only recognises them. Sasa takes our levies and pumps them back to Sacga, which in turn uses the levies to fight against transformation in the industry,” Madlala said.

He said the committee agreed that Sasa should change the regulations that were unconstitutional. Safda has more than 2500 registered members across KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

“They (Sasa) must report back on November 29 or face dissolution. This is long-overdue; emerging growers have been taken for a ride,” he said.

The committee ruled that a broad-based black economic empowerment verification of the Sacga’s leadership and membership be done.

Committee chairwoman Joanmariae Fubbs said this was to determine the extent of black farmers’ representation.

“Safda made it clear that although Sacga had thousands of black cane growers as members, few actively participate in its administration,” Fubbs said.

The committee further resolved that levies paid by Safda members to Sasa be suspended with immediate effect, and that it amend its constitution to ensure that it recognised Safda as a player in the sugar industry.

Failure to report back to the committee by month-end would lead to the dissolution of Sasa’s constitution until the Sugar Act has been amended.

Sasa chairman Suresh Naidoo and Sacga chairman Graeme Stainbank would not comment on the matter.


LINK - https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/sugar-industry-body-in-row-over-rules-12048376

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