The South African Sugar Association (SASA) held two successful Mill Group Board (MGB) workshops in KwaZulu-Natal and Malelane on, among others, the impact of the transitional arrangements on the MGB rules and the sugar industry’s five-year transformation plan.
The proceedings kicked off with SASA Industry Affairs Executive, Raksha Beecum-Khadaroo; giving a compendious update on the transitional arrangements (which are in effect until 31 March 2020) as gazetted on 9 October 2018 by former Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies. “It was not easy, it was a journey,” said Beecum-Khadaroo, referring to the process which eventually culminated in the promulgation of the Transitional Provisions. She gave the audience the timeline of events from the beginning of the process until the current dispensation. She went on to explain the reconfigured SASA membership and representation in compliance with the legislated Transitional Provisions. She further explained and clarified the implications for the MGBs.
Beecum-Khadaroo updated the MGBs on the critical development with regards to the establishment of the IkuSASA (meaning the future) Task Group, which is mandated to agree on legislative amendments to replace the transitional provisions and develop a plan for a more sustainable future for the industry. The Task Group comprises five members ie SASA, the South African Cane Growers’ Association, the South African Farmers Development Association, the South African Sugar Millers’ Association, and the Department of Trade and Industry. It is envisaged this group would have completed its job by September this year.
Other presentations were from Jenna Govender (SASA Legal Advisor) on the impact of the transitional arrangements on the MGB rules, Sicebile Ncube (Legal Intern) on the implications of the Protection of Personal Information Act, Lindokuhle Yeni (Information Analyst) on grower information and the new five-year Supplementary Payment Fund phase, Jenna Govender and Cane Testing Service General Manager, Seelan Naidoo, on the RCL/Malelane CGA judgment, Finance Executive, Mary Ramkelawon, on Analyses of MGB annual financial statements and analysis of MGB financials, and Transformation Implementation Officer, Vivesha Annoop, on the industry’s 2018/2019 immediate interventions and the five-year transformation plan.
The question-and-answer sessions were robust as members of MGBs asked questions of clarity in order to be able to execute their fiduciary duties from a properly informed perspective. Some made comments while others made some proposals aimed at ensuring the MGBs are more effective and efficient.