Sipamandla Mpikeleli

Right: Zamokuhle Khuzwayo is currently on an internship programme at Gledhow Sugar.

The sugar industry has heeded the call to focus more on the youth in terms of giving them exposure to the workplace environment, thereby providing them with critical work experience and skills.

Recently, the South African Sugar Association (SASA) Council approved an allocation of R5.2 million towards a youth placement programme. The youth placement is aimed at empowering black youth (aged 18-35) directly from cane growing communities in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The specific objective is to provide work experience for 80 black youth (strategically biased towards women) within industry members: two grower associations and six milling companies for a period of two years.

At a Youth Task Team held on the 12th October 2018, industry members including South African Cane Growers’ Association (SACGA), South African Famers Development Association (SAFDA), THS, Illovo, USM, Gledhow Sugar, RCL FOODS and UCL confirmed the appetite to place ten candidates (six matriculants and four graduates at R4 200 and R7200 per month respectively). SASA has entered into contractual agreements with individual industry members and transferred R648 000.

SASA is currently overseeing the interview process to ensure that the criteria of black youth is being adhered to and will be receiving progress reports from industry members on a quarterly basis. To date, 40 youths (20 matriculants and 20 graduates) have signed contracts with SACGA, SAFDA, THS and Gledhow Sugar. Interviews are underway with Illovo, UCL Sugar, Umfolozi Sugar and RCL FOODS.

Sipamandla Mpikeleli 

Sipamandla is Rural Development and CSI Manager at SASA