Sugar Act brought into sharp focus in Parliament
Parliament's Trade and Industry committee met with a group of emerging and small-scale farmers struggling for recognition in the sector.
CAPE TOWN - The Sugar Act has come into sharp focus in Parliament after MPs heard about economic transformation challenges in the industry.
On Thursday, Parliament's Trade and Industry committee met with a group of emerging and small-scale farmers struggling for recognition in the sector.
The South African Farmers Development Association (Safda), which was formed in 2015, represents mainly black farmers.
Lawmakers think it's a good idea to consider amending the Sugar Act of 1978 so that other associations can be empowered in the legislation. Currently, the law recognises only the South African Sugar Association (Sasa).
Safda, representing about 2,500 black sugar farmers, told MPs it struggles to get recognition from the established players in the industry: namely Sasa and the South African Cane Growers' Association (SACGA).
This is despite the Department of Trade and Industry mediating an agreement between the parties in November last year.
The portfolio committee's chairperson Joanmariae Fubbs says the agreement doesn't appear to have been implemented.
“This agreement was not implemented on the excuse ‘oh well, we wanted to, (that is the signatories) we believed in us and wanted to go ahead, but our members don’t.’ Who are the members? White people and white sugar farmers.
"Where are we? Where is the transformation here?”
Fubbs says the committee wants to hear from everyone involved in the industry.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)