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Partners hail launching of Rekopane Estates

The Regional Director of Land Affairs in the Northern Cape, Mr Obet Mvula, has hailed the founding of Rekopane Estate which has given sixty-five farm workers a share in this well-known grape farming operation in South Africa’s Northern Cape region.

“Sixty-five permanent farm workers from Natalie and Monte Estates expressed their wish to become shareholders in the business. They approached the Northern Cape Provincial Land Reform Office and after a meeting between various stakeholders it was decided to support this under the Farm Worker Equity Share Scheme.

Mr Mvula says the Department’s objective with the facilitation of the project was to empower the workers through Black Economic Empowerment by giving them shareholding in an agricultural enterprise. “This project was done under the Land Redistribution Programme for Agricultural Development (LRAD) sub-programme of the land reform programme and it is therefore a Farm Worker Equity Scheme project on privately owned land. The Department contributed R6 500 000.00 towards the workers’ shareholding.”

Mr Bertie Smith, Director Agricultural Banking Services, Standard Bank, who also provide financial assistance in the form of a bank loan, says the future of agriculture and the transformation of the industry are critical issues. “That is why Standard Bank has launched various initiatives to identify BEE opportunities and to equally equip stakeholders in the industry to play a constructive role. We are hoping to contribute to the growth of our economy – giving previously disadvantaged communities hope for a bright future. In achieving this, we aim to partner with leading farmers like Peu Bezuidenhout and with the Government.”

Mr Jack de Wee, Chairman of the Lorethabetse Trust and co-director of Rekopane Estates with Peu Bezuidenhout, described the granting of shareholding to workers as a momentus new chapter in the lives of the people of Rekopane Estates.

Mr Peu Bezuidenhout says the partnership creates real ownership for people who have played such an important part in the development of the farm. “The extreme temperatures between winter and summer, the fertile soil and a steady supply of water from the Orange River represent all the ingredients for the production of high quality table grapes. Here at Naftali/Monte we have always strived to be the best and in Rekopane Estates it will be no different.”

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