Public comments sought on draft AgriBEE Sector Code

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pretoria - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has gazetted the draft AgriBEE (Black Economic Empowerment) Sector Code for public comment, which is set to deal with land and enterprise ownership matters.

The draft code is a product of a negotiation process among agricultural sector stakeholders and alignment with the codes of good practice, which was driven by the AgriBEE Charter Council.

"The AgriBEE Charter Council - through Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries - submitted the charter to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies for approval for [gazetting] towards the end of 2011," said the department on Tuesday.

"The Draft Sector Code makes provision for division of the ownership element into two sections i.e. General/Equity Ownership and Land Ownership -- thus accounting for the unique make-up of the sector in this respect, which is that ownership can be measured in terms of equity but also with regard to ownership of land as an economic asset," explained Davies.

Farming enterprises can score either on the equity ownership indicator, land indicator or both with a total score limited to the weighting of 20%. Farming enterprises that transfer land in excess of 30% of their land can score up to a maximum of five bonus points in proportion to the total land transferred.

"To further support land reform in South Africa, under enterprise development and socio economic development elements, entities get recognition for long terms leases of land to farm workers and/or to emerging black owned enterprises," said Davies.

According to the minister, the agricultural sector has put more weight on skill development compared to the generic codes of good practice. This emphasis was necessitated by the lack of technical skills and high levels of illiteracy in the sector.

The public has 60 days from the date of publication to make inputs and comments on the draft Sector Code before it is finalised and gazetted as a legally binding Sector Code.

Comments on the draft can be sent to: AgriBEE@thedti.gov.za.

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