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the dti to Amend Sugar Act if Industry Fails to Transform

The Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) Mr Lionel October says the dti and Minister Rob Davies might consider amending the regulations and the Sugar Act of 1978 if the current impasse between the South African Cane Growers Association (SACGA) and South Africa Farmer Development Association (SAFDA) is still not resolved. October was briefing the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the issue in Parliament yesterday.

SAFDA argues that the sugar industry does not recognise them as an independent cane growers’ association representing mainly the land reform beneficiaries in the sugar sector. SAFDA broke away from SACGA in 2015, and key to their contribution of the levies collected by the SA Sugar Association (SASA) as legislated in the Sugar Industry Agreement and Sugar Act as amended, in order to be able to undertake their own development.

the dti has been involved for some time in trying to find a mediated settlement between SAFDA and SACGA. Despite the intervention of a skilled mediator, SACGA refused to relinquish its dominance, rejecting the department’s suggestion of a 50/50 split between the two association, even though an ideal solution is the formation of one federation equally representing all interest,” said October.

October said in terms of the legislation, the dti received inputs from the Millers association on how to effectively amend the constitution and the regulation and ensure the department act strictly in terms of the constitution. He said the department also directed SASA to take leadership in drafting the requisite changes to the SASA Constitution and the Sugar Industry Agreement in order to effect the requisite changes.

“Secondly the department has commenced with a review of the BEE status of the SACGA as per recommendation of the portfolio committee. Our legal department is now fully involved in this process, we are looking at B-BBEE certificates of the association, the organisational structure of the cane growers’ association, and we are also going through the latest financial reports and statements, as well as Employment Equity Plan and any transformation plan that was there,” he said.

October added that SASA must amend the SASA Constitution to reflect SAFDA as a recognised cane growers body within SASA. He said failure to resolve this impasse at the
Special Meeting of Delegates will trigger the Minister’s power to amend the sugar legislation.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti