Black empowerment in the South African wine industry has taken a step forward with the promise of a Empowerment Charter by the autumn.
The first draft of the Charter will be released in March for public comment, Gavin Pieterse, chair of the South African Wine Industry Trust (SAWIT) said on Monday.
The public consultation will be used as a basis for discussion within government and with the wine industry, with the production of a final draft to be presented and hopefully adopted in October.
Pieterse noted that the Charter process had already begun over a year ago, starting with the first Consultative Conference in November 2003, and a ‘road map’ document had already been drawn up.
The 15-member Wine Black Economic Empowerment steering committee – all elected individuals – comprises Pieterse and members of wine groups such as the South African Wine and Brandy Company, and other groups such as disabled organisations, women’s groups, youth groups and representatives from other workers’ organisations in the industry.
SAWIT is committed to boosting black ownership of wine businesses in the Cape by at least 10% within five years, rising to 25% by 2010. Around 1% of wineries are currently under black ownership – far less than in the mining, banking, hospitality and other industries.
Pieterse said the Charter would be based on what was ‘realistically achievable’ in the wine industry, taking projected growth in the industry into consideration.
‘We have found that most current owners of assets in the industry are well disposed to do something on BEE, but they don’t know what or how to, or with whom,’ he said. ‘The Charter will help determine this for them.’
The ‘road map’ Charter can be found in News on www.sawb.co.za
Written by Adam Lechmere