Urgent discussion needed on jobs blood bath in sugar industry – Dean Macpherson

DA MP says industry facing a ‘perfect storm’ due to ANC’s failure to provide farmers with assistance

DA calls for urgent joint Parliamentary meeting on impending jobs blood bath in sugar industry

11 February 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of the Trade and Industry Committee, Joanne Fubbs, to request an urgent joint meeting with the committees of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Land Reform and Rural Development to discuss the imminent threat facing the sugar industry.

The industry is facing a ‘perfect storm’ Due to the ANC’s failure to provide sugar cane farmers with assistance following a 3-year drought in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the blind eye turned to 500 000 tons of dumped sugar as well as tariffs that have not protected the industry, it is now at risk of losing thousands of jobs and collapsing all together.

The simple fact is, if sugar cane farming implodes, it would have devastating consequences for the 350 000 people who work in this sector and which contributes R14 billion to the economy.

An urgent meeting is therefore required to find solutions to the following critical issues:

- The 3-year drought in KZN which has cost the industry R2 billion;

- The alleged “dumping” of 500,000 tonnes sugar in South Africa; and

- International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) refusal to adjust the reference price of sugar to protect the industry to the required level of $856 dollars per ton.

South Africa already has an unemployment rate of 9.4 million people and we cannot afford to lose even more desperately needed jobs.

The DA will continue to fight for South African jobs, agriculture and industry in a competitive and challenging global environment.

Issued by Dean McPherson, DA Shadow Minister of Trade & Industry, 11 February 2019