S AFRICA: Beyerskloof in R10m empowerment scheme
Beyers Truter, owner and winemaker of Beyerskloof, and Simon Halliday, managing director of Raisin Social and co-owner of Beyerskloof, have sold 74% of their stake in the established Bouwland winery to the Bouwland Deelnemingstrust (Bouwland Trust), which represents a total of 60 people from 39 families.
The beneficiaries of the trust will now own shares in both the 56 hectare Bouwland estate and the existing Bouwland trademark and packaging. Beyers will work in close partnership with the trustees, all of whom are from previously disadvantaged communities. Farm workers from Beyerskloof, Bouwland, Kanonkop and Uiterwyk are taking part in the scheme, worth almost R10m (£900,000).
"This is a fantastic opportunity for the farm workers to become an integral part of Bouwland", said Beyers. "They are a key part of the industry. Many of the trustees have grown up on prime wine farms and are specialists in vineyard cultivation. They now have a vested interest in the estate and a real chance to create a better future for themselves and their children".
Simon Halliday, managing director of Raisin Social and co-owner of Beyerskloof commented: "This is not simply a question of giving the workers a piece of land. This is about ownership, about motivating people who are prepared to take responsibility and giving them the chance to contribute to the future success of the Bouwland brand, both at home and abroad. This is not a short-term project but aims to help future generations to be part of this piece of Cape Heritage."
Jan Hendriks, chairman of Bouwland Deelnemingstrust, said: "We have worked for somebody else for most of our lives but now there is a sense of pride in working for ourselves". Beyers Truter and Jan Hendriks, directors of the new Bouwland Estate, will run the management of the winery, together with the nominated trustees.
The project, which is the first of its kind in Stellenbosch, is worth almost R10m. In addition to Beyerskloof's R2.4m investment, the scheme has attracted financial support from the government's Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development who made a cash grant of R3.7m to the Bouwland trust.
The balance of R3.5m took the form of a loan from Absa, the leading bank in agricultural empowerment, who in turn have been offered a concessionary loan by the Land Reform Credit Facility (Khula Enterprise Finance). The general manager of Absa Agribusiness, Venete Klein, described the initiative as a milestone in South Africa's history of successful transformation which would encourage people to live together as prosperous, good neighbours.
The South African Wine Industry Trust (SAWIT) and the financial industry have committed to boosting black ownership in the Cape's wine industry to at least 10% within five years, rising to 25% by 2010 (currently, less than 1% of wineries are under black ownership).
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