KWV shareholders, the majority of who were issued with class A shares when the group converted from a co-operative to a company in 1998, have seen their shares eroded by more than two-thirds.

When initially issued the shares were valued at R1.50 (US$0.16) according to a KWV spokesman. Today they are worth a mere 42c.

According to the latest KWV annual report there are 7,876 shareholders, holding around 390m shares of 600 million authorised. Of these, 16 members hold between 1m and 7.7m shares. They made up the lowest number of shareholders at 0.25%, but accounted for 10.7 % of the shares.

The combined group owns around 41m shares, which in 1998 cost R62.6m. Today they are only worth R17.5m - a drop of R45m. Some of those shares may have been bought over the past few years when the value of the stock started falling away.

KWV issued the shares to members of the wine industry, based on their business dealings with the co-operative prior to the transformation to a company. Other wine industry players were allowed to buy shares, while staff members were allocated a proportion of the shares based on seniority and length of service.