Johan Rupert’s sugar mill rejects PRET’s offer

Johan Rupert's sugar mill rejects PRET's offer
The Practical Radical Economic Transformation's (PRET) offer to form a community liaison forum has been rejected by Johan Rupert's RCL Foods in Malelane. PICTURE BY The Bulletin.

The group had marched to the RCL Foods premises in Nkomazi.

An offer to one of billionaire Johan Rupert’s companies by the Mpumalanga Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) group to have a forum that will liaise between the community and the sugar company has been rejected.

The company says this will frustrate the implementation of ongoing community development programs.

Now leaders of the group will have to return to members and give them a feedback on the demands they tabled.

The group last month organised scores of Nkomazi community members who marched to the entrance of RCL Foods in Mhlatikop, Malelane to demand job opportunities but also the formation of a Program Implementing Committee that will connect the sugar mill and the surrounding communities and ensure economic development programs are implemented.

The marchers were bussed in Quantum mini busses and delivered their memorandum of demands to site managers.

The company says such a committee will “only serve as a parallel structure” and frustrate ongoing economic development programs.

“[It] would frustrate the implementation of structured programmes that are being implemented and are designed on the basis of current legislation,” the company said in a reply to the group’s memorandum.

“RCL Foods has an unwavering commitment to actively promote inclusive sustainable economic growth through local community upliftment and economic development initiatives,” the company said.

It says it more than R31 million was paid in the last financial year in rents for land they use belonging to land claimants.

PRET in their memorandum had also demanded that an additional 1 500 people be employed by RCL Foods but the company dismissed this too, saying they currently employ a large number of people in the country – 20 000 workers – and that in the current economic situation adding more workers is not viable.

It said 67% of sugar cane to their mills is already supplied by black-owned companies and that an amount of R2 billion is spent yearly in the purchase of sugar cane from black suppliers.

RCL Foods, a giant South African food producer, is owned by investment guru Johan Rupert.

It has a history of over 120 years and has acquired most of the other food companies over these years and now falls under his Remgro group of companies.

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(edited by ZK)

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