Archive from February, 2013
Feb 5, 2013 - Business Permit    No Comments

Motsepe family donates to the poor

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Businessman Patrice Motsepe announced on Wednesday his family will contribute at least half the money generated by their assets to the Motsepe Foundation.

“We want to build a track record where ordinary South Africans can really feel that they are making a difference,” Motsepe said in Johannesburg.

“Let me emphasise that the challenges are huge…. It [the money donated] would not significantly deal with the challenges that face our country.”

Motsepe said it was important for those who were successful to help the less fortunate. “We are not going to allow you to suffer alone,” said Motsepe, who is the founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals.

He and his wife Precious had decided some time ago to donate the funds to uplift poor and disadvantaged South Africans, he said.

They intended to, and were duty-bound, to ensure the giving would happen in a way that protected the interests and retained the confidence of their shareholders and investors.

He said his family had decided to join the Giving Pledge, which was initiated by billionaire investor Warren Buffett and the foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

It encourages wealthy families across the world to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

With Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga present at the announcement, Motsepe said education remained one of the best investments in any country.

He said donations would go towards improving the lives and living conditions of the poor, disabled, unemployed, women, youth, workers and marginalised South Africans, and Africans and other people around the world.

SA – the Good News via SAPA

Feb 5, 2013 - Business Permit    No Comments

South African wine industry ‘optimistic’

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Following a few very tough years, the South African wine industry is optimistic on the back of record export levels, good prospects for this year’s harvest, the penetration of new markets, and growing praise from high-profile wine critics, says Wines of South Africa CEO Su Birch.

South African wine exports for 2012 reached 417-million litres, 10-million litres more than the previous record of 407-million litres achieved in 2008 and a 17% increase on volumes in 2011, Birch said on Monday.

“The record levels are the result of a more favourable currency, as well as the global shortage of wines, stemming from a significant drop in the recent harvests of competitor wine-producing nations in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand,” Birch said in a statement.

Birch said all indications were that this year’s local crop could be the third-biggest in recorded history. “This is assuming that good weather conditions continue, there is a speedy and peaceful resolution to the farmworker strikes, and harvests come in on time.

“The anticipated crop size is despite a decrease in total plantings, thanks to one of the best winter seasons in the Western Cape for many years.”

Birch said that while bulk (i.e. non-packaged) exports accounted for 59% of volumes in 2012, this was in line with a growing global trend. She explained that over the past decade, bulk wine exports from the major New World wine-producing countries had risen from around 20% to over half of wine volumes traded, against the background of protracted recessionary market conditions.

“The reality we face also confronts Australia, Chile, Argentina and even New Zealand.”

She said while packaged wines generally offered higher returns, local producers had been forced to accept that to compete globally, they had to provide what the mainstream markets wanted.

“Obviously we would prefer the accent to be on packaged wines, from a reputational perspective for Brand South Africa, in terms of job retention in the packaging industry and also to maintain sustainable profit margins for producers. We are therefore greatly encouraged by the recent growth of packaged exports to North America, Japan, China, as well as several increasingly affluent African nations, all to regions where we have been increasing our marketing investment.”

She said the industry had also been buoyed by the growing confidence in South Africa as a top wine-producing country among high-profile international critics, whose opinion carried great weight in the global wine business fraternity as well as with consumers.

“Over the past few weeks we have had praise from the likes of Neal Martin, who reviews for Robert E Parker’s world-famous The Wine Advocate, and who has singled out South Africa as currently the most exciting New World wine country, as well as from Stephen Tanzer of the International Wine Cellar, the UK’s Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin MW and Sarah Ahmed and Germany’s Eckhard Supp.”

Birch said that while the industry regretted the current labour unrest in the Western Cape, huge strides were being made to ensure decent working conditions on all wine-producing farms.

“The local Fairtrade office has confirmed that South Africa now has the highest number of Fairtrade-accredited wineries worldwide, with 65% of Fairtrade wines sold globally coming from our country.”

At the same time, Birch said, there was steadily growing support for the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (Wieta), with increasing numbers of producers subscribing to its code of good conduct. This was particularly after the international market reacted positively to last year’s launch of the Wieta ethical seal, a world-first that provides a guarantee of fair labour practices.

“Wieta accreditation for rigorously audited fair labour conditions has accelerated since last year and with the increase in producer and worker training sessions scheduled, prior to auditing sessions, we expect many more labels to qualify during this year,” Birch said.

Some of the South Africa’s biggest producers have already earned Wieta accreditation for their labels, including Distell, Spier, Fairview and Robertson Winery.

SA – the Good News via