Welcome to the first edition of the South African Sugar Journal this year (2019) and the last one for the 2018/2019 season.
Our industry continues to be in distress. Compounding industry woes has been the increase in the Health Promotion Levy (HPL), as announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his Budget Speech in Parliament. An article on the HPL in this issue sheds light on the impact the “sugar tax” has had since its implementation in April last year. It is not a pretty picture! There is an article detailing serious challenges (including the recent drought and insufficient tariff) facing the industry, and a clarion call to government to help the industry overcome these challenges.
This edition has interesting stories from our sugarcane growing provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. A rural community in Mpumalanga which was on the brink of unemployment as a result of the closure of a local gold mine, but was saved by the sugar industry. We speak to retired sugarcane farmer Jimmy Lonsdale, who has made a name for himself as a rural development pundit, to give us the state of rural development in the country. He was invited to speak at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Conference Centre on 27 February – 1 March 2019 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
The industry, through the Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE), continues to help academically deserving youngsters realise their dreams. This year’s 41 recipients of SITFE bursaries have been announced. Read all about it inside these pages.
In keeping with the industry’s longstanding commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles, the South African Sugar Association has installed two more outdoor gyms for rural communities in order to keep fit. One of the recipients is the community of KwaNyuswa and senior citizens are the ones taking the most advantage of the equipment. For this and more stories, turn the page.
Enjoy the read!
External Affairs Director
South African Sugar Association