The season began with a self-funding model in line with a signed agreement with the South African Farmers Development Association relating to new industry regulations. However, this all changed in October 2018, with the gazetting of Transitional Arrangements by the Department of Trade and Industry, when the costs of SA Canegrowers (along with the SA Millers Association and SAFDA) were included as industry costs. This resultant uncertainty on the collection of funds meant some projects were delayed until later in the season once we had gained clarity on the issue. The season ended with a surplus of R2 930 320 due mainly to the timing of projects as a result of the uncertainty linked to the collection of levies as well as staff vacancies which were filled later in the year.
SA Canegrowers prides itself on its governance structures which are depicted in the diagram (right). As a non-profit company the organisation is defined by South Africa’s Companies Act and due to its high public interest score, is required to comply with additional components of the Companies Act. Individual growers in each of the 14 mill areas across the sugarcane growing regions in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal are associated with member organisations in their local areas. These localised grower member organisations will nominate representatives each financial year who are then tasked to serve their interests at the level of the Local Grower Association. However, there are exceptions to the rule which allows for individual growers to associate directly at the Local Grower Council level. There is a Local Grower Council present in each of the 14 mill areas and these are legislated in line with the Sugar Industry Agreement. The Local Grower councils elect five representatives to the Congress of Growers on an annual basis. These Local Grower Councils are supported at their district and area level by the SA Canegrowers’ regional staff team who assist in matters of governance, economic, and technical support as well as special projects specific to each individual mill area. The Congress of Growers is responsible for the oversight of the affairs of SA Canegrowers. The five representatives from each mill area usually include two small-scale growers, two large-scale growers and a land reform grower. Issues pertinent to a local mill area are raised at this level for consideration which means the growers are heard and assisted in the areas where they farm and operate. The Congress also approves the budget for the season ahead as well as reviews this budget on a quarterly basis.
Five Congress meetings were held in the season under review and an Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held each season in June. Once the AGM is concluded a meeting is held right away to allow the Congress to elect a Board of 14 members from among their members.