The Thudana Citrus company was set up under a co-ownership scheme in line with South Africa’s national initiative for the integration and development of rural communities.
For San Miguel, empowering communities and promoting the prosperity of our collaborators is a firm commitment everywhere the company operates. That’s why it decided to invest in its collaborators in South Africa, giving to the 120 workers a 30 percent stake in its Thudana Citrus company in the Sundays River Valley region (Eastern Cape province).
As part of the move, San Miguel is providing training programs and support for the development of the new shareholders, given the new responsibility they have as owners of a productive organization. Andries du Preez, San Miguel’s Country Manager in South Africa, highlighted the extent of the endeavor: “This initiative is not just about giving a farm to our employees,” he said. “Thudana Citrus is a complete citrus operation, and our goal is to empower the community in the long term through education, training and the unique opportunity to become a vital part of a fully functioning citrus company.”
The San Miguel project is being carried out within the framework of the BEE Law, which is part of South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan to address the inequalities suffered by black South Africans under the apartheid regime. The chief challenge of the plan is to reduce poverty and inequality by 2030 through the combination of three factors: growing employment, higher incomes through productivity growth, and good public services.
In total, the value of Thudana Citrus’ assets amounts to 200 million South African rands, or around $14 million U.S. dollars. In addition to the 30 percent now owned by the workers through the Thudana Citrus Trust, San Miguel will maintain a 40 percent stake and will soon incorporate an investment fund that will hold the remaining 30 percent of the new citrus company.
San Miguel has created a program of training and development workshops for the beneficiaries. The workshops will cover specific topics such as the operation of a trust — and the roles and responsibilities of the trustees — and general issues such as running a citrus business. In addition, they will be trained in another aspect of vital relevance for the future: leadership for life.
Photo: The official launch of the new company Thudana Citrus, with the presence of Mr. Sfiso Buthelezi (South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, top left), Andries du Preez (San Miguel Country Manager, top center), Nico Groenewald (Head of Agriculture at Standard Bank, top right), and four employees representing the trust.