Engagement with stakeholders on implementation of the South African Sugar Value Chain Master Plan, with Minister and Deputy Minister

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Trade, Industry and Competition

10 May 2022
Chairperson: Ms J Hermans (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


South African Sugar Value Chain Master Plan

The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry met on a virtual platform to receive a briefing on progress in respect of the Sugar Value Chain Master Plan from the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Department and stakeholders in the industry.

The Minister informed the Committee that the Sugar Value Chain Master Plan was developed jointly between government and industry stakeholders to set out a common vision and a set of short- and long-term commitments that would provide space for a wider restructuring of the industry into a more inclusive, competitive and jobs-rich sector. The Master Plan was co-driven by Minister Thoko Didiza and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and himself and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. Difficult undertakings were required to shift the industry from decline to potential growth in which the focus would be on production, jobs and transformation. Already the local procurement drive had been supported in a number of ways. The biggest beverage makers had reported greater levels of local sugar inputs in their manufacturing processes, with a larger share of their procurement coming from small-scale farmers; major food producers had committed to maintaining and increasing the usage of local sugar; large retailers had reported close to 100% local sugar procurement. He added that the local confectionary makers had joined the process after conclusion of the Master Plan but would be incorporated in the Master Plan processes.

Some achievements to date included deep sea imports showing a 4% decrease from the 2021/22 season whilst local market sales for 2020/21 had increased by 14% and a premium price had been attained. Priorities for the next 12 months included progressing the draft South African position on Sugar Trade Harmonisation in the Southern African Customs Union, the completion of the sugar value chain analysis and employment data collection; the development of the draft Job Retention and Mitigation Strategy. The Department hoped to facilitate greater participation by Organised Labour and to roll out the Small-Scale Grower Survey to inform the draft support strategy and programme of action.

The Department provided details of the task teams set up by the industry to address various aspects of the Master Plan. A previous Chairperson of the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee, and now vice-Chairperson of the South African Sugar Association, made some remarks on the partnership as the sugar industry saw it. The South African Farmers’ Development Association, the South African Canegrowers’ Association and the South African Millers Association all briefed the Committee on successes and challenges in their area of work. The Farmers’ Development Association was pleased that small-scale growers had benefited from the premium price for sugar attained in the last season and the funds from the transformation kitty as well as funds from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development that was setting up units to assist small-scale growers and had contributed to irrigation infrastructure in Mpumalanga. However, the Association was adamant that the liability for the crushing of cane had to be transferred from farmers to the millers. The Millers Association referred to difficulties in capacity to crush a bumper crop of sugarcane as well as the closure of two mills as electricity costs and labour demands, poor quality cane and poorly managed deliveries of cane encroached on the viability of mills.

The Committee had many questions for the Department and the stakeholders who shared in the responses provided to the Committee. Members who had constituencies in KwaZulu-Natal and had an intimate knowledge of the industry were particularly concerned about the future of the sugar industry, noting that it was on a precarious edge. The Sugar Act went back to the 1970s and was apartheid-era legislation. What was being done about amending that legislation? Members asked how the deep sea countries, Mauritius and eSwatini managed to export sugar to SA at a lower price than the SA industry could produce sugar. Were there lessons to be learnt there? What was the effect of the Health Promotion Levy, or the sugar tax, on the industry? Could the Committee not take the lead in addressing the levy and the problems that it had caused? Did the Department support the call for a moratorium on the levy and were there talks with sister departments, such as National Treasury, to look at mitigating the effects of the legislation on the sugar industry? Could the Department do an impact study of the HPL on small-scale farmers?

Members expressed a particular concern about the lack of movement in respect of diversification. What were the impediments to diversification into biofuels and other value chains, and how could they be dealt with? How did the process of daily rateable deliveries operate? Could that type of delivery be done away with? Was the Regulation that was introduced to allow for transformation temporary or permanent? Was transformation minimal, or was it permanent?  How many people with disabilities were working in the industry? How many hectares were cultivated by small growers?

Members feared that climate change posed a threat, if the floods were anything to go by. Had the Department done an assessment of the risks to the sugarcane industry? What protective measures  had been taken to assist the industry going forward? Most of the sugar was delivered by whites, so what was being done to assist the Blacks? Why was the Department not looking at getting smaller mills for small-scale farmers so that they did not have to wait and wait for their turn? If the Constitution said that land could be expropriated, why had the land not been expropriated? When was the Minister going to commit to finishing things?

The Committee agreed to pay an oversight visit to the sugar industry.


Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson stated that the SA Sugar Value Chain Master Plan was finalised in 2020 to revitalise the industry and to address the various ongoing challenges for stakeholders along the value chain. The canegrowers and sugar millers had been plagued by cheaper imports, the Health Promotion Levy (HPL), also known as the sugar tax, and various factors affecting developing canegrowers and the effective transformation of the industry. The purpose of the meeting was to engage dtic and stakeholders to determine the progress of the implementation of the SA Sugar Value Chain Master Plan.

Mr M Tshwaku (EFF) indicated the difficulties he was having with receiving documentation which made his preparation very difficult.

Introductory remarks by the Minister
Minister Ebrahim Patel,  Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition greeted everyone and welcomed the opportunity for an engagement between the dtic officials and the stakeholders with the Portfolio Committee. The Sugar Master Plan was co-driven by Minister Thoko Didiza and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and himself and the dtic. He appreciated the enormous work done by Minister Didiza on the Master Plan. He apologised for her absence and also indicated that he had responsibilities at the Mining Indaba which was taking place concurrently in Cape Town that morning and so he would be leaving Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina to lead the delegation at the Portfolio Committee meeting. He added that Ms Lerato Mataboge, the Deputy Director-General for Export Promotion, Development and Outward Investments (EPD&OI), at dtic would conclude the briefing that morning.

The Minister stated that the basic storyline was about the partnership in which an important industry in the SA economy was able to work with all aspects of the value chain, coordinated and supported by government, and where there were trade-offs, every effort was made to drive them with investment, growth, job creation and transformation.

After his broad introductory remarks, Deputy Minister Gina would coordinate the presentation. He had been alerted that the Committee was particularly interested in the Master Plan at farming level. After the dtic’s input, she would ask Ms Joan Fubbs, a previous Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, to make some remarks on the partnership as the Sugar industry saw it. She would be followed by Dr Siyabonga Madlala, Chairperson, SA Farmers’ Development Association, Dr. Thomas Funke Chief Executive Officer at SA Canegrowers South Africa, and one of the Millers from South African Sugar Millers’ Association. That would represent the primary production of the industry focus. He had understood that that the meeting was primarily about the primary sugar industry. In future meetings, he would like to bring in retailers and others downstream.

The Minister presented an overview from the point where three years ago the sugar industry was faced with an existential crisis, with falling production, surges in imports and a lack of a common vision among stakeholders. The Sugar Value Chain Master Plan was developed jointly between government and industry stakeholders to set out a common vision and a set of short- and long-term commitments that would provide space for a wider restructuring of the industry into a more inclusive, competitive and jobs-rich sector. Difficult undertakings were required to shift the industry from decline to potential growth in which the focus would be on production, jobs and transformation. Already the local procurement drive had been supported in a number of ways. The biggest beverage makers had reported greater levels of local sugar inputs in their manufacturing processes, with a larger share of their procurement from small-scale farmers; major food producers had committed to maintaining and increasing the usage of local sugar; large retailers had reported close to 100% local sugar procurement. He added that local confectionary makers had joined the process after conclusion of the Master Plan and had not yet reported on the extent of local sugar procurement.

The Minister referred to some of the key challenges faced by the sector, including the value chain. The Sugar industry made up 20% of the agro-food sector and so was a major contributor to the economy and employment but had been under severe strain for more than 15 years, although cane yields were stable. Factory performance had declined due to under investment and high debt levels while the local market lost sales to highly subsidised deep-sea imports. The cost of production had increased by 50-75% over the last decade, wages had risen faster than the domestic price of sugar, the exchange rate, the cost of electricity and droughts had added to the woes. Importantly, milling and refining capacities were not in line with market requirements and the import of sugar from Mauritius was a threat.

The Minister pointed to some achievements to date. Deep sea imports showed a 4% decrease from the 2021/22 season and an increase of 15% from eSwatini and 45% from SADC. Local market sales for 2020/21 increased by 14% or 178 174 tons, a positive achievement against the target of 150 000 tons increase in Year One. The Shoprite partnership with SA Cane Growers, i.e.  prioritising the selling of locally produced sugar in its 1189 stores, had assisted in achieving the target.

R200million was spent in 2020/21 and R200 million in 2021/22 for transformation. A R60m minimum small-scale grower premium payment was paid in January 2022. All growers on communal land regardless of tonnage, all black growers on freehold land producing less than 1800 tons and white growers on freehold land producing less than 1800 tons could apply to SASA to be part of the scheme. Potential downstream product streams were being explored as well as the Engen Repurpose Facility for ethanol production.

The Minister indicated some priorities for the next 12 months: progressing the draft South African position on Sugar Trade Harmonisation, the completion of the sugar value chain analysis and employment data collection; the development of the draft Job Retention and  Mitigation Strategy. The Department hoped to facilitate greater participation by Organised Labour and to roll out the Small-scale Grower Survey to inform the draft support strategy and programme of action.
Minister Patel suggested that the Committee monitor the Budget Vote announcements. He was also very pleased with the support measures offered by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). DALRRD and the dtic were working closely on the Master Plan. Important also was to finalise the industry tariff application on imported confectionery products for consideration by the Regulator.

The Minister then requested to be excused as he had specific duties to attend to at the Mining Indaba that was taking place simultaneously.

Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina immediately  handed over to Ms Lerato Mataboge, the Deputy Director-General for Export Promotion, Development and Outward Investments (EPD&OI) at dtic to continue the presentation on the Sugar Master Plan.

Ms Mataboge presented full details of the activities of all the task teams and their progress to date:
-SACU Harmonisation
-Job Retention and Mitigation
-Small-scale Grower Support
-Crop Diversification
-Value Chain Diversification
-Product Tax Policy
-Structured Industry Restructuring
-Restore Local Market and Off take Commitments
-Competitiveness of Sugar Confectionery

The Deputy Minister called on Ms Fubbs to say a few on behalf of the sugar industry.

Ms Fubbs, Vice-Chairperson of the SA Sugar Association, thanked the Committee for being willing to engage first hand with the sugar industry to find out what progress had been made with the challenges, in particular, making the industry viable and to renew industrial capacities while promoting small-scale sugar farming, because, unless there were small-scale sugarcane farmers, the industry would not have medium to large scale growers later on. The sugarcane industry was a critical industry in rural and peri-urban areas as it provided the local economy. Without the sugarcane industry, the villages would collapse and many people would lose their jobs, beyond those employed directly in the sugar industry.

She noted that the achievement of the premium price was simply wonderful, especially so very early after the industry and government had begun to tackle it. That showed that, amongst all associations, there was a recognition that small-scale growers must be supported. Challenges were being experienced in the principle and concept of transformation. Tremendous transformation had taken place in 15 years, especially as, at one stage, Black sugar growers were criminals, but there was currently a challenge emerging as the movement seemed too fast for some and too slow for others. There was a recognition that there was transformation, but many, especially the SA Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) believed that it was too little, too slow. Somewhere along the line, the associations had to find each other and they had to put the sugar industry first, before their associations.

Ms Fubbs stated that the Health Promotion Levy was a problem, but that matter was being actively pursued. Progress was being made in diversification. The sugar industry understood that sugar cane had to be converted into something else, besides using it to sweeten drinks, etc. The pursuit of ethanol and jet fuel as well as plastic was underway. Plastic could be made from biofuel, including sugarcane. Many challenges were experienced by women and so a women’s entrepreneurial association had been established to share ideas with women and to support initiatives, such as growing quick cash crops in addition to sugarcane. That forum included women across the board and in all provinces where sugar was grown. Recognition of youth employment was another consideration. Most young people wanted to race to the city, so how did the sugar industry keep young people in the area, doing work that they loved, being trained and finding employment? If not, they would race to the cities.

She shared with Parliament the concerns about legislation. The team had realised that the SA sugar industry regulation was promulgated before the current challenges had arisen and so the team was working on some amendments to the Sugar Act. The issues ranged widely, from simple but serious issues, such as voting. Was it fair for anyone to veto a decision?  A lot had been said about getting the mills to crush all the cane but as soon as the word ‘delivery’ was used, therein lay another challenge. Delivery of cane from farm to mills was not a problem for bigger growers but smaller farmers could not afford the delivery. SASA was working on grouping together small-scale farmers to make the delivery of cane more economic. There were many others who could add more to what she had said and maybe they could add later.

The Deputy Minister said that she was not calling all stakeholders on the platform as there was another forum in which all stakeholders could present their issues, i.e. the Executive Oversight meeting, but she would call on representatives from some of the associations involved. She called on Dr Madlala, who would be followed by Dr Thomas Funke.

Briefing by SA Farmers’ Development Association
Dr Siyabonga Madlala, Chairperson of the SA Farmers’ Development Association, represented the views of small-scale sugarcane farmers.

He stated that the industry was looking back at a time when the Master Plan had come into action. Without the Master Plan, more sugar mills would have closed and more canegrowers would have gone out of business as the Master Plan had come in at a time when the industry had been totally squeezed.  Small-scale farmers were the ones hardest hit but now they were benefitting from the spin-offs of the Master Plan and could stand tall. With the attainment of the premium price, the small-scale makafarmers had received a R60 million payment in January 2022 – in time for farmers to send their children back to go to school. It was the first of its kind. Farmers were normally running to money lenders to send their children to school.

The Ministers instrumental in the Master Plan, especially Minister Didiza, had begun to rollout farmer support production units to seven milling areas. Government had spent over R80 million in procuring equipment for small-scale farmers. In addition, there was a budget for infrastructure development to build farmer support production units to bring them closer to small-scale farmers.  There was also support of R58 million for irrigation infrastructure for small-scale farmers in Mpumalanga.

He was excited that there was a commitment from government. The farmers could also celebrate that when they heard about the increase in the sugar tax (HPL), the Ministers had intervened in order to have it deferred, although they would be appreciative of a dispensation that would put a moratorium on the sugar tax until such time as the diversification opportunities were unlocked and they could go for biofuels full blast. At that point, when the industry had options for diversions, a sugar tax could be imposed. As small-scale farmers, they celebrated the Master Plan. The” Bring and Braai” that government had spoken about was tangible.  

However, he added, he needed to highlight that there were aspects of the ‘bring’ that the industry should ensure happened quite a bit faster. While they were celebrating that in January 2022, small-scale farmers had received R60 million as a result of the premium price, they could not ignore the 200 000 tons of sugar or R95 million of revenue that small-scale farmers had lost because of the shrinking milling capacity and the exclusionary clause in operation at the mills that discriminated against small-scale farmers in favour of the commercial farmers. The industry was not moving as fast as he would like on that point. About 10% of the small-scale farmers could not deliver one stick of their cane. Commercial farmers could have reduced their tonnage to give those farmers a chance. In the spirit of the Master Plan, which endorsed small-scale farmers, they should be looking at protecting the small-scale farmers in the industry legislatively and not leaving them to fend for themselves.

Dr Madlala was excited that they were in talks, but he wanted the industry to move faster. The transformation kitty provided money to his organisation to support black farmers in a way that they had not been supported in the past. His organisation was really dealing with bread-and-butter issues that had not been dealt with in the past. They were working in areas where people used donkey carts to deliver their fertilisers. His organisation was uplifting deep rural communities. He called for support for his organisation.

He commended the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform for having carried out a feasibility study that showed the need to put a sugar mill in Makatini, one of the poorest areas, although it had huge potential. It would change the face of the industry if there were a mill owned by small-scale farmers who could supply Coca Cola Beverages that wanted to support black sugar farmers. The small-scale farmers were keeping a careful eye on the restructuring of the industry to ensure that it did not impact on the small-scale farmers. There should be a way of protecting the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, even if it was micro-milling, as they could not easily diversify. One had to remember that high value commodities were easily stolen and theft was a huge concern in the rural areas.

The small-scale farmers appreciated the Master Plan and thanked the Ministers. The Master Plan was introducing black farmers into the value chain. He noted that a fertiliser plant had been established, and the fleet of cane haulage trucks had been complemented by 12 new trucks. Small-scale famers owed their very existence to the Portfolio Committee and now there was a need for the Portfolio Committee to change the 1978 Sugar Act. He invited the Portfolio Committee to do an oversight visit to see the development so far.

The Chairperson called on Dr Thomas Funke, Chief Executive Officer at SA Canegrowers, to make some remarks on behalf of the Association.

SA Canegrowers’ Association
Dr Funke handed over to Ms Kiki Mzoneli, Vice Chairperson of the SA Canegrowers’ Association, to speak on behalf of SAGA.

Ms Mzoneli stated that SAGA represented 22 000 growers, 21 000 of whom were small-scale growers. She was a small-scale grower. The Association provided services and support to canegrowers and advocated for legislative changes that supported their interests as well as those of the broader industry. Despite the losses, some important successes had been attained because they valued the cooperation of partners, and government had been supportive during the difficult past few years. The sugar cane value chain was the pinnacle of the collaboration and working together with government, the Master Plan had been developed to revive the sector with a structure for the future. As canegrowers, they were really proud of all that they had achieved thus far under the auspices of the Master Plan, despite the hardships of the past few years.

She was grateful for the opportunity to engage and interact with all the stakeholders who were attending the meeting. She highlighted SASA’s programme “Home Sweet Home”. She stated that the sugar industry was the most transformed in the SA agricultural sector, but it was struggling to transform further as it was still in ‘ICU’ with the economy and problems relating to milling capacity. The industry needed alternatives, such as a sustainable programme to produce jet fuel and new products. Without that, the industry was going to struggle. More had to be done on transformation and in developing new industries and new uses of sugar, but the team was working very hard. SAGA really wanted to drive investment and job creation because of the unemployment of people in rural areas.

She mentioned that the mill she personally used was closed and had a crushing downtime, meaning that growers were losing revenue of R120m, and that was after covid, the unrest and the floods. She asked all stakeholders to address the issues and, especially, to follow up the new investments that they were all interested in.

Ms Mzoneli invited the Portfolio Committee to meet the new leadership of the SA Canegrowers. She was disabled and physically challenged, and it was her personal challenge to introduce other disabled people to the industry. She realised that transformation was a long journey, but she believed that the Master Plan would address the issues and, especially, the issues of women, the disabled and the youth.

SA Millers Association
Mr Rolf Lütge, Chairperson, SA Millers Association stated that most of the most important matters had already been raised but he reiterated the appreciation for the SA Sugar Master Plan. The industry had had robust discussions but had found each other and that boded well for the issues that were still outstanding. The Association also recognised government’s efforts as it had not been an easy road at many of the Master Plan committee meetings, but he believed they had done pretty well.
The industry should not get carried away with the successes as there was still a lot of work to be done, as mentioned, and his Association was worried about the commitment of all stakeholders. The millers were aware of the target of an additional 300 000 tons of sugar in the third year and that the industry might miss that target. They were concerned about continuing cost increases in the current economic constraints, especially from labour demands, and it was hoped that labour would be realistic in the current climate. The millers were looking forward to policy harmonisation to prevent destructive competitive dynamics in Southern Africa. If the challenges were not met, they would not meet targets, especially in the current time of disruptive elements creeping in, such as Covid and then the floods that had caused enormous damage. His Association sympathised with the Gledhow Sugar Mill. What had happened there was regrettable and the millers wished them all of the best to get back up and running, hopefully within the month.

The millers acknowledged that they had to improve milling performance as there had been a dip of late, but all millers were on board in correcting the problems with mills and the incentives were there. The efforts would pay off soon and the mills could get back on their feet. There were many areas where they would like to do more, but some millers were right on the edge financially and more costs would sink them.

He was hoping the Executive Oversight Committee and the operational leadership of the task teams would bring some correction in the industry. They were looking to securing the industry’s future.

Mr F Mulder (FF+) noted that Minister Patel had answered some questions about the sugar industry the previous week during a parliamentary Question and Answer session. He said that the Committee could look at the situation created in the industry by Eskom’s inability to provide constant electricity, the floods, the unrest in July 2021 but he focussed on the risk of deep sea imports and the sugar imports from Mauritius . Realistically, there were lots of external factors that influenced the sugar industry but there was also a situation of wages versus economic growth. How did the deep sea countries, Mauritius and eSwatini manage to export sugar to SA at a lower price than Sa could produce the same product? SA should take note of what they were doing and how SA could adapt or remove obstacles.

Mr D Macpherson (DA) said when he saw Ms Fubbs, it was a moment of déjà vu for him. He was sure all Members appreciated the immense impact the industry could have on the economy. Being a Member of Parliament from KwaZulu-Natal, he understood the industry somewhat as he had grown up amongst the sugar fields. Sugar cane and sugar farming had been a part of life in his town for a very long time. There had to be cross-party support for plans and programmes that sought to advance the industry in total and not just certain players in one sector. Someone had said that the Master Plan was good and there were good parts but Master Plans were only developed after a crisis and dealt with symptoms and not the cause. The Committee needed to start delving into the cause of some the issues: the issue of diversification had been long outstanding but responsibility was outsourced to the Department of Minerals and Energy although it was a regulatory issue. New legislation was not necessary; just regulation. He did not understand why it was so difficult to ensure that took place. Outsourcing the matter to another Department did not help and was not necessary. It was as if Ministers sat in different governments; as if they did not sit in the same Cabinet or speak to each other, and nor did officials.  Unless the Committee set a timeline and demanded concrete answers, it would continue to get the run-around. Economics would just not make sense as time went by.

The Health Promotion Levy was another issue that had not been tackled. He opposed the HPL because the money was not ringfenced for health issues but went into the general revenue fund and so was nothing but a cash cow for government at the expense of the industry and workers. It had cost the industry over R1 billion and a few thousand jobs and yet the Parliament had never been presented with anything that showed the cost to the economy in terms of job losses brought about by the sugar tax. There was no indication what determined the suitability of a sugar tax. The Committee had to seize itself with the issues as again it was something that dtic said was not its problem and so no one was paying attention to the problem of the HPL.

Mr Macpherson stated that the industry was on a precarious edge and without a focus on increasing capacity across all sectors, whether it were diversification, milling or the surplus, it would become a sunset industry and not a sunrise industry. That would be a terrible thing for his province, his constituents and for the country as a whole. He implored the Chairperson, who impressed him with her hands-on approach and attention to detail and her willingness to deal with issues, to ensure that the Committee took  those matters into its own hands as the Department fobbed them off and gave every reason why they could not have a discussion or could not deal with the issues. It was clear that there was inter-ministerial divergence on the issue. He requested that the Committee champion the issues.

Mr W Thring (ACDP) was pleased to hear Ms Fubbs sounding strong and healthy. He too came from a sugar cane area as his family was from Stanger and had worked in sugar mills. It was close to his heart. He asked the dtic, with respect to diversification into biofuels and other value chains, what the impediments were and how they could be dealt with.

He said that the HPL had had an impact on the industry as previous buyers had moved to alternatives. He had heard the call for a moratorium on the HPL. Did the dtic support the call and were there talks with the dtic’s sister departments, such as National Treasury, to look at mitigating the effects of legislation on the sugar industry? What was the role of the beverage industry in supporting the sugar industry? Because of the HTL, many beverage companies had moved to alternates which were far more harmful than sugar. He had heard that Coca Cola was interested in purchasing from the small-scale growers, but were other beverage companies looking to support the  sugar industry?
Mr Thring noted that the Sugar Act went back to the 1970s and was apartheid-era legislation. What was being done about amending that legislation?

Mr S Mbuyane (ANC) acknowledged Ms Fubbs. He stated that small-scale growers needed more assistance than any other players. He asked for an explanation of the process of daily rateable deliveries. In terms of the transformation agenda, it was not possible to rate deliveries on a daily basis. Could those type of deliveries be done away with?

He agreed with Mr Thring that there was a need to review the Sugar Act of 1978 as it did not support the transformational agenda. That matter formed part of the Legacy Report of that Committee. Where was the Committee in terms of implementing the Legacy Report? Where were they in terms of reviewing the Act? He also raised the matter of the Regulation that was introduced to allow for transformation. Was that Regulation temporary or permanent? Was transformation minimal, or was it permanent? The Committee needed clarity on the matter.

Mr Mbuyane suggested that there was a need for joint meetings with the Departments of Health, Finance and Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (DALRRD) to discuss the Health Promotion Levy and to obtain information. The officials in the Departments needed to work together. It was imperative to co-govern. One Department could not work in a silo. He added that the achievements of the Master Plan could not be eroded by other departments.

He welcomed the oversight invitation by the canegrowers. How many people with disabilities were working in the industry? How many hectares were cultivated by small growers?

For first time, he agreed with Mr Macpherson. The Committee had been discussing diversification for a very long time. What was the timeline for dealing with diversification. There could not forever just be talk about diversification. The Committee needed to be able to measure progress in the matter.

Ms R Moatshe (ANC) said climate change posed a threat, if the floods were anything to go by. Had the Department done an assessment of the risks to the sugarcane industry? What protective measures had been taken to assist the industry going forward?

Mr C Malematja (ANC) noted that states such as eSwatini were doing well in the sugar industry. Parties had to understand that there was a need in SA for the release of land, especially land in the hands of the few who were not releasing it. The day that it was agreed to release that land, was the day that SA would beat eSwatini and other countries. As long as the release of land, especially land that was not utilised, was politicised, no progress would be made. He was glad that DALRRD and Minister Didiza were coming onboard, but other political parties had to support the acquisition of land.

He asked about the Competition Commission’s report which noted broader participation by the small-scale sugarcane grower who were mainly black. However, most of the sugar was delivered by whites. What was being done to assist the Blacks? Considering the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA ), what were the interlinkages with sugar used across the continent, noting that the original AfCFTA agreements did not include sugar?

Ms N Motaung (ANC) noted that 19 188 black sugarcane farmers had been supported to the tune of R44 million. What had been the impact of the grant and how many jobs had been created?

Mr Tshwaku said that his ANC comrades were giving good revolutionary inputs in siding with the weak and poor. The daily deliveries benefitted the large-scale producers of sugarcane. But what about small-scale farmers? If one had a large mill for large scale production, why did they not get a small mill for small-scale farmers from India or China, where they were available? The Committee should instruct the dtic to look at small mills for small-scale farmers so that they did not have to wait and wait for their turn. The dtic had researchers, so why were they not looking at getting smaller mills? It was counter-revolutionary to not get the small mills.

He declared that the dtic presentation was very colourful and wordy, but it did not provide concrete timeframes. The presentation did not make clear what it was about. Maybe the intention was to confuse the Committee Members or maybe they thought Members did not read. Perhaps they knew he read and that was why he received the presentations so late, if at all. Did the dtic know what it was talking about? He suggested that the Master Plan should be put on the Annual Performance Plan of the Department so that they could finish dealing with the issues.

Mr Tshwaku asked if the dtic could do an impact study of the HPL on small-scale farmers. There was a need for a joint meeting with the Department of Health and National Treasury to understand what they wanted to achieve with the HPL.

He doubted that the dtic understood biofuels and the complexities thereof. He stated that sugarcane had to be made into molasses and fermented to make bioethanol which could be used as an octane booster for fuel. There were many motor companies, including BMW, that did not want to approve the use of fuel boosted with bioethanol in their vehicles. Was there a delaying tactic or was the Department trying to put a spanner in the works? What was it actually? He wondered if people understood the complexity of biofuels.
The government had put a moratorium on the use of food grade produce for fuel. They could dream on; diversification into biofuel would not happen. BMW would never allow its vehicles to use biofuels.

Regarding the expropriation the land, Mr Tshwaku agreed with Mr Malematja. People had acres and acres of land and he would call them out if they did not give it to black farmers. He had heard serious news about how black people were being sabotaged by the industry that discriminated against blacks. It was not very nice 26 years into democracy. The expropriation of land without compensation had to be done. They said that was in the Constitution, so they should practice it. Farming by black farmers constituted public use, so if that was what the Constitution said, they should expropriate the land.  Small-scale farming created massive employment. If the Committee was not on the side of small-scale farmers, it had to put weight on supporting small-scale farmers. Expropriate that land!!

He asked for a workshop and the Minister must stop the thing of addressing and running away. He could not do the introduction from the car and then run away. When was he going to commit to finishing things? The Department was supposed to be getting things done.

The Chairperson reminded Mr Tshwaku that he could not blame the Department for the late documents as everyone else had been getting them and she had committed to sorting out his problem. Also, Minister Patel had requested permission to leave and no one on the Committee had tabled an objection.

Responses by the Deputy Minister, the dtic and stakeholders
Remarks by the Deputy Minister
Deputy Minister Gina stated that one of things that the Department prided itself on was the high level of cooperation with the role players in the sugar sector, hence some role players had presented. There were challenges but the role players were working with the Department to resolve the issues. It was an important industry, contributing a lot to the economy of the country and the dtic was working together to transform the industry. The dtic was not imposing diversity. It was sitting together with the role players and the experts to plan the way ahead for changing the image and changing the plight of the sugar industry. The Department was not just running and leaving behind the role-players. Open, brutal and honest discussions were held to change the plight of the industry and the way that it was seen. It was not only the dtic involved. Land might not be the competency of Trade, Industry and Competition but it accepted the importance of being involved in the land issues, even to being a member of the task team that was dealing with the issue of land. Before the end of the month the land indaba would be held under the leadership of the Deputy President as that formed the cornerstone of the economy and the country. All the leadership, traditional leadership and industry would be involved in the indaba.

The Deputy Minister informed Members that when it came to the issue of the AfCFTA and other details, Ms Ncumisa Mcata-Mhlauli, Chief Director: Agro-Processing Unit, dtic, would lead the responses.
Responses by dtic and stakeholders
Ms Ncumisa Mcata-Mhlauli led the responses to issues raised by Members. She explained that the dtic had put in place a number of task teams to lead on very important issues. She would be assisted in providing responses by stakeholders who were coordinators or members of the various task teams.

She responded to Mr Mulder’s question about Mauritius and eSwatini. His concern probably stemmed from the large imports from eSwatini and the fact that both eSwatini and Mauritius had requested an increased quota for import into the SA domestic market. That was being addressed by the Harmonisation team, Task Team Number One. The team had developed a position that had been sent to government. She was aware that eSwatini had asked for increase in imports to SA but that would be looked at by a SADC meeting. It was about the regional value chain. It was on top of the agenda and SA was looking at a position where the two biggest producers of sugar in Africa could work together to ensure regional integration in the sugar value chain. That proposal would be tabled at the SADC Council of Ministers. She assured Dr Mulder that the matter was at the top of the agenda.

In terms of exports to the EU market, the industry was utilising the old quota of 150 000 tons of sugar and 22 000 tons had been exported to the USA, in addition to the  exports to SADC. Ms Mcata-Mhlauli cautioned that sugar was being exported at a loss due to the depressed world price of sugar.

Ms Judith Wilson, Commercial Director South African Sugar Association, and coordinator of the Harmonisation task team responded to the question related to Dr Mulder’s concern that other countries seemed to produce sugar so inexpensively that they could export it to SA at a price below SA’s cost of production. She explained that the world market of sugar was a surplus market and so no sugar producing country was selling at what it actually cost to produce it. Countries such as India and Brazil were selling below cost because they enjoyed other subsidies, such as the export subsidies in India and the support received for ethanol production in Brazil. Most countries protected their domestic sugar producers by means of import tariffs. eSwatini and Mauritius had both set up the industry to export to Europe but because those prices had fallen, those countries had turned their attention to markets closer at hand. eSwatini produced between 700 000 and 800 000 tons of sugar but used only 60 000 tons. The price that sugar was sold at internationally was definitely not equivalent to the cost of produce

She added that there were over 120 countries producing sugar, and SA was in the top 25 most cost-effective producers of sugarcane. The dynamics of the market meant that there was an overload of sugar and it was being dumped.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli responded to Mr Macpherson’s questions on regulations, health and biofuels. She pointed out that the dtic had commenced with the drafting of new regulations a few years back and hence the transitional regulations were in place. Those regulations would expire in 2024. Those regulations did not include the downstream diversification products so, in terms of the Master Plan programme, the dtic was looking at amending the regulations to include the downstream diversification processes, such as the biofuels, etc. That work was being championed by SASA and dtic was now awaiting consultation with all of the task teams so that all role-players, upstream and downstream, would find expression in the regulations. She added that there had been Cabinet approval for a biofuels framework and a biofuels task team had been set up to look at the diversification programme, especially ethanol.

The main issue that the diversification programme was waiting for was subsidisation. The dtic had proposed two subsidies: one for farmers and one for producers of biofuel. Ms Mcata-Mhlauli explained that one needed capital to set up a biofuel programme and the dtic was in discussion with National Treasury to get funds to set up such a biofuel programme. The intention was to follow the Brazilian model, but producers needed a subsidy.

Regarding the HPL, she stated that it was a very complex policy of government that had looked at a balance between the health of communities versus the impact on industry. The dtic had applied for an exemption from the tax for the first three years of the implementation of the Sugar Value Chain Master Plan. The industry had been exempted from increases for three years, but much work had still to be done. The Sugar Policy Task Team, team no 7, was dealing with the issue which had been taken to NEDLAC. She added that she was aware of the frustrations.

The Convenor of the Task Team on Sugar Tax Policy, Ian Hirschfield of Africa Group, requested Mr Mpho Thothela (BEVSA) to respond. Mr Thothela stated that BEVSA had committed to use SA locally produced sugar and to utilise 95% SA sugar by Year 3. BEVSA was a member of ProudlySA. They were hoping that the Department of Health would come onboard as well as National Treasury which had not yet come onboard to share data on sugar tax. NEDLAC research on the impact of the HPL in its first year of implementation showed that there had been 16 600 direct job losses as result of the introduction of the HPL. Mpho promised to share that report with the Portfolio Committee.

He had expected an assessment by the Department of Health (DoH) but not it was presented to the Task Team. The DoH had promised that any increase in tax would come with data. It was also important to know the science linked to the SA dynamics and not rely on data from other parts of the world as obesity might have different causes in SA. He was waiting for that study and would be involved in processing results. There had been no support from National Treasury as it did not seem to recognise the Sugar Value Chain Master Plan. Treasury had simply unilaterally announced the increase in the HPL, which had since been changed. There was no alignment between departments on HPL and that was a concern for the task team.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli stated that the technical dietary study had not yet been commenced and DoH had committed to start that in 2022. In terms of the Master Plan, Task team 6 was doing research into diversification. It had looked at four major streams, of which the priority was sustainable aviation fuel. Studies were taking place in conjunction with major airlines. The four major projects into diversification also included bioplastic and ethanol, sugarcane juice and engine repurposing. Additional research was needed to look at the most sustainable medium- and long-term diversification projects. Those projects would be adopted by the Executive Oversight Committee at its next meeting.

Dr Thomas Funke, Convenor of Task Team 6, said his view was that diversification was critical, and his views had been echoed by several Members during the discussions that morning. Diversification was key to the industry as 2 million tons of sugar cane would not be crushed as two sugar mills had closed. [He raised a booklet for Members to see.] The booklet ‘Fuel for the Future’ was published by the World Wildlife Fund and Boeing at a conference at  OR Tambo Airport and a number of people in the meeting had been present at the conference two weeks previously. The booklet highlighted the fact that sugar cane molasses produced the most cost-effective aviation fuel. Dr Funke noted an irony: that very day OR Tambo, and indeed airports throughout Africa, was facing a critical shortage of aviation fuel. That was the future. Various countries and continents were pushing for a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as they pushed towards a 2050 deadline for carbon neutral economy in the airline sector. Countries were raising levies on air lines to support the production of sustainable fuel. That would be a megatrend and the sugar industry could be part of it.

Dr Funke stated that the fastest and most effective way to undertake transformation was to diversify the industry and to ensure that there was investment to undertake the changes. He was passionate about SAF as that was the future for the industry. To accelerate the process, funding was needed to finalise the feasbility study for future investors in that very exciting prospective.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli acknowledged that funding was an issue. The Industrial Development Corporation had already assisted with funding for the research and would be approached for further funding. Bioplastic was another project being considered and that and ethanol were priority projects. The beverage industry was participating in researching diversification in the downstream industry. There was also a study by the beverages and confectionary industries as they were not permitted to use sugar in their products.

She pointed out that amendments to the regulations under the Sugar Act were underway.

Mr Trix Trixham, Executive Director at South African Sugar Association, said the industry was working on regulations as the current regulations came to an end in 2024. The task team was committed to sending the amendments to the dtic well before that date.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli responded to Mr Mbuyane’s question on daily rateable deliveries. The challenge for the industry was in crushing all the sugarcane that was delivered to the sugar mills. The mills simply could not cope. Issues related to the cost of electricity, the increase in production and the performance of the milling companies. One solution was to prioritise small -scale farmers, which would be done in the regulations, and the Master Plan could look at supporting the milling process by looking at small mills as proposed by Mr Tshwaku. The transformation plan was being implemented but it was necessary to ensure permanent transformation and that would come with ownership of land and mills by black players.

Ms Portia Mpofu, Director: External Affairs at the South African Sugar Association said that her task team was dealing with transformation issues in industry. A transformation specialist had been appointed to develop a medium- to long-term strategy that was built on the transformation achieved by the task team under Ms Fubbs. A draft plan would be ready in two to three months’ time. She would be able to provide an update if invited to do so when the Committee next sat on the matter.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli responded to the question of how the industry was addressing the impact of climate change. Very important work was being done in terms of crop diversification and Task Team 6 was looking at a number of measures, e.g. looking at support, such as was required after the floods. Dr Madlala had spoken about the support provided for farmers by Minister Didiza. Long term planning was taking place around climate change. The crop diversification group was also looking at climate change.

Dr Funke agreed that a climate change study was a priority as the recent floods had highlighted the vulnerability of the industry and especially small-scale farmers who were particularly vulnerable to climate change. The SAF study was looking at sustainability as the aviation fuel would require sustainable biofuel and that linked into a risk mitigation on climate change. Sugarcane would have to be certified as having been produced in a sustainable way.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli noted that the Deputy Minister had covered the issues regarding access to land and the land reform programme as led by DALRRD. 90% of the cane growing land was under the ownership of large-scale farmers and only 10% of cane growing land belonged to small-scale farmers. That was part of the land reform programme. She had spoken about the South African Customs Union (SACU) Harmonisation but asked Ms Furriel to address issues around AfCFTA.

Ms Claudia  Furriel, Director at dtic responsible for the African Continental Free Trade Area and Africa’s strategic partnerships, added that there had been an initial engagement with eSwatini and an agreement had been reached to develop a mechanism through which a common approach could be formulated to deal with the regional value chains related to sugar which was in line with the SACU work programme. The first meeting would take place in June 2022.

Regarding AfCFTA, Ms Furriel explained that the Rules of Origin were contained in Chapter 17 of AfCFTA and there were 17 broad tariff lines. Seven tariff lines had been agreed, i.e. mainly raw sugar which had to be wholly obtained in order to benefit. Some of the key lines that were outstanding were those that related to other sugars, including chemical or pure lactose, sugar confectionary and molasses. Those lines had not been agreed but the Ministers of Trade had agreed that the work had to be expedited to be concluded by September 2022, with the overall directive that the rules that they agreed had to create or provide a platform for regional value chains and they had to incentivise investment in the economies so that beneficiation and production on the continent could be increased. That work should be concluded by the end of September 2022 as directed by the Ministers of Trade and on that basis the tariffs would then be finalised for the liberalisation of trade under the AfCFTA.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli responded to Mr Malematja’s concern about the participation of black people. He had referred to a study commissioned by the Competition Commission. The transformation task team would be dealing with the transformation issues and had already commissioned a study which would be completed by the end of the year and would include the participation of black people as well as ownership and land issues along the value chain, including the industrial side of the sugar industry.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli noted Ms Motaung’s question around the 19 188 black farmers who had benefited from the R44 million in 2022. She said that work to be done by Task Team 4 which was dealing with transformation issues and was looking at the impact of the R200 million that had been spent. They were doing a study to look at the impact of the R1 billion allocated to transformation and would be able to share that work with the Committee.

Dr Madlala explained that the industry introduced the payment to small-scale farmers as the cost of production for small-scale farmers was higher than for big scale farmers and the payment model in the industry was based on the costs of large scale farmers, so it was a top-up payment of R87 million, R44m in middle of the season and R43 million in November. Everything was more costly for the small-scale farmer who also relied on contractors to deliver their cane, and they were further from the mills than the large scale farmers. Access to the mills was one of the small-scale farmers’ biggest problems. The funds had been a great help, just as had the premium price, but they were looking for a long-term solution for the payment of small-scale farmers. There had to be a sustainable payment model for small-scale farmers.

Regarding the daily rateable deliveries, Ms Mcata-Mhlauli agreed that it was one of the challenges of small-scale farmers as some millers could not crush the sugar on time. Regulations would deal with the issue but at the same time the daily rateable deliveries and the shrinking milling capacity was being dealt with by Task Team 3, convened by Ms Fubbs.

Ms Fubbs said there were issues that touched on millers. In the initial stages, challenges regarding milling were not clearly seen. The team had undertaken a survey to see how best the matter could be addressed. Small-scale farmers did not want to rely on the kindness of the milling company to crush their cane, hence the regulations. However, they were aware that once things had been legislated, it was very difficult to tweak things afterwards. She believed that farmers and millers were beginning to converge but everyone needed to understand commercial farmers could do rateable deliveries but small-scale farmers did not have the cashflow to follow the system. She acknowledged that some farmers wanted legislation but she believed that a workable solution had to be reached.

Dr Madlala stated that it was a thorny issue, exaggerated by the unrest the previous year so that over two million tons of cane from small-scale growers could not be crushed in the previous year. The daily rateable delivery model took the total tonnage to be delivered in a season and farmers were allocated certain days on which they were to deliver sugar. The model was perfect for large scale farmers as it was highly efficient and allowed farmers to plan deliveries. However, the small-scale farmers could not always deliver on the specified date. The legislation currently did not favour the small-scale farmers as if they did not deliver in time, there was nothing to fall back on. The millers felt that they were at risk of prosecution by small-scale farmers if they did not crush their cane, but he believed that the proposed regulations would favour the small-scale farmers who would get paid whenever they delivered cane or get paid out if it could not be crushed. While many farmers had enjoyed the bonus in January, 10% of small-scale farmers had been unable to participate as they had not delivered any cane at all to be crushed. That was how they fell out of the business. They were farming on communal land and their cane would be burnt in the off-season. He wanted the law to protect the weak as small-scale farmers could not negotiate with the big industry players. The commercial farmers had to find a way to work around the milling of the small-scale farmers. It could not be left to the willingness of the miller. He agreed that there was an industry process but it could take two to three years and the small-scale farmers would not allow that situation.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli stated that it was a difficult issue and she believed that changing the regulations was the only way forward. She invited the Millers Association to comment.

Mr Lütge stated that it was a thorny issue, but he could provide some context to assist the Members to understand the issues associated with that particular problem. He pointed out that the challenges only affected three or four of the 14 mills; all others were doing well and had solutions in place. Even the millers agreed that no one could deliver rateably. The challenge came when groupings of the small-scale farmers had to be given dates, especially when there was exceptional weather and new varieties of cane were doing very well. Over the past decade, the dry weather had meant that all millers needed all the cane available and so it was a periodic issue and in some years there was no problem.  The few millers who were finding challenges with the issue had problems with poor quality cane and downtime in the event that small-scale farmers did not deliver their cane in a controlled manner. The current proposals did not address those problems that millers encountered, and those issues had to be sorted out. There would be a liability for millers if the regulations as currently proposed were made law. Balance had certainly not been found in that matter. One could not solve the problem of small-scale growers by creating liabilities for others in the industry.  A balance had to be found. He believed that there were other ways to deal with the lack of rateability which would provide a better solution than legislation could and there was a willingness to find solutions. One way was to put small-scale farmers into pocket, i.e. pay them out, when they could not deliver in the manner and time required.

Dr Funke believed that a solution could be found very shortly that could be implemented immediately while the legislative changes would take a lot longer.

The Chairperson stated that a solution had to be found. She noted that the plans were not finalised; Members had demanded timeframes.

Dr Thandokwakh Sibya, from SAFDA, said that his organisation had written to the Committee about rateable issues because nothing had been agreed upon. There was no solution. Small-scale famers had lost R95 million. It was not true that something had been agreed upon. They were talking about regulations so that it could happen at the stroke of the pen and then the millers would have to crush small-scale farmers’ cane when the farmer was ready. One could not brush the problem aside as it affected many people and, without a solution, people would suffer in the current season.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee was processing the correspondence. She appreciated his input because the Portfolio Committee had to hear everyone’s voice on the matters.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli stated that the DDG would deal with timeframes. The biofuels programme had been addressed. Expropriation of land was a DALRRD issue, but the Deputy Minister had explained how the dtic was involved in the process.

Ms Mcata-Mhlauli requested the DDG to sum up. She thanked the industry for working so closely with government. The Master Plan was a social compact, and everyone was contributing to the solution.

The Chairperson informed Members of the Committee that she had received correspondence from the SA Sugar Converters Association that had spelt out the high cost of sugar and the impact on job creation. They had requested to meet with the Portfolio Committee so, in the next discussion with the sugar industry, the Association would be invited to present their challenges.

DDG Mataboge responded on behalf of the dtic regarding the question about timeframes. She referred Members to the last two slides of the presentation which showed the work programme for coming 12 months. It was quite demanding, but the issues were being addressed by the task teams. The dtic would welcome the involvement of SA Sugar Converter as the Master Plan could also address those concerns and the matter could be taken to the Oversight Council which brought political leadership into the programme.

Mr Tshwaku asked about the view of the dtic as to using small mills as he had suggested. He stated that Mr Lütge and Mr Funke were playing games and dillydallying around the matter rather than giving solutions. On the diversification, he asked what was in it for the small-scale farmers.

Ms Mataboge responded to the issue of small-scale farmers generally, saying that the dtic was doing a full survey in order to develop a multi-faceted support strategy and a programme of action to address the needs of small-scale farmers, including diversification. The dtic was not in a position to posit an answer to Mr Tshwaku’s questions. She noted that, as the Deputy Minister had said, small-scale growers were fundamental to the industry, which was why the dtic was looking at a clear strategy for the long-term.

Ms Dipuo Ntuli, a member of the Canegrowers Association board, spoke up. She said that she was previously a disadvantaged farmer and also a small-scale farmer in the Umfolozi area. She wished to have her say.  She was farming on Ingonyama Trust land and no financial institution could offer financial support because someone farming on trust land did not have PTO (permission to occupy). She welcomed the Sugar Master Plan but it was moving at a very slow pace and small-scale farmers were not yet benefitting. She agreed with Mr Mbuyane regarding the sugar tax and thanked him for accepting the invitation to visit the sugarcane growers. The small-scale farmers did not need an exemption from the sugar tax; they needed the eradication of the tax because it was stealing jobs. The war between Russia and the Ukraine had already had an impact on fertiliser because prices had risen. They could afford not afford fertiliser and so the production would be low. She added that the fuel price was expensive and that was an added burden. That was why they always said that local was “lekker”(nice). Time was limited in such meetings; hence the small-scale growers had invited the Portfolio Committee to their offices in order to show Members what they were doing regarding the sugar tax and all the matters of concern. She wanted the Members to come and negotiate so they could come to a solution together.
Deputy Minister Closing Remarks
Deputy Minister Gina thanked everyone for their input, noting that the Members always provided good guidance. Regarding the issues of transformation of the industry, there was a lot to do, but a lot had already been done. Task Team 4 was responsible for transformation and that was an important area. The participation of black people was a primary concern. When it came to women enterprises, and the issues of youth, that required targeted and focussed consideration. The dtic agreed with that. So much had been highlighted in respect of legislation and both the dtic and the industry needed to look at amendments to changes the lives of previously disadvantaged people. Lessons were learnt every day about climate change. It was one area in which the industry needed direction as the industry had been taught many lessons about climate change lately. The issue regarding departments working in silos, had not yet reached the final stage but the departments were slowly but surely getting to work together. Concerning the meetings about HPL and so on, the leaders were trying to break down silos. She stated that they were working with other departments regarding HPL. She assured everyone that government was committed to the Master Plan.
She thanked all the stakeholders in the industry. Soon the executive oversight meeting would be held to iron a number of issues that had been raised that day.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for the robust discussion that had taken place, although the Committee realised that there was still had a lot of work to do. She welcomed the invitation to conduct an oversight visit. The Committee had gone to Tongaat-Hulett in 2021, but that visit had been to assess the impact of the unrest in July 2021. The oversight visit would be put on the programme. The Secretary would arrange to have a meeting when the Committee was there on its oversight visit. The Committee would also organise joint Portfolio Committee meetings. She noted that many important things, particularly regulations and legislation, had to be dealt with by the Committee.

Closing Remarks
The Committee Secretary informed Members that the following meeting would be on Wednesday, 11 May 2022. Responses to the Copyright Bill would be presented and Members would be requested to consider the Trade, Industry and Competition Budget Vote Report.

The meeting was adjourned.


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