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Black-owned wines, spirits to get an EU boost

Aug 21 2019 16:35
Khulekani Magubane, Fin24

Black-owned liquor brands in South Africa can expect to get their spirits lifted, courtesy of a €10m financing agreement between South Africa and the European Commission, according to a submission to Parliament by Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni.

Mboweni submitted an agreement to Parliament on Tuesday between SA and the European Commission, acting on behalf of the EU, agreeing that the latter will provide €10m (about R169.1m) towards a "support programme for the transformation of the wines and spirits sector in South Africa".

According to the document, the deal aims to support 100% black-owned brands, participating black farmers and related beneficiaries to comply with minimum legal requirements to do business. It also seeks to increase productivity of black farms and black agriculture professionals through support and training.

"The wine industry is racially predisposed, limiting any advances of previously disadvantaged individuals, a remnant of the colonial and apartheid era. The social pathologies, such as poor health and alcohol abuse, poor housing, unemployment and substandard worker living conditions, illiteracy and lack of specialised skills, are still common," the document said.

The document said this programme would be managed by the Land Bank and, possibly, National Treasury. However, the European Commission may decide to undertake an evaluation of the programme during implementation.

"Land Bank has a monitoring team that will undertake monthly monitoring of projects of required, which will be sent to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [sic] for review including comprehensive quarterly reports," the document said.

In an accompanying letter to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, Mboweni said he advised the agriculture department to set up a project steering committee for the management of the project and adhere to reporting requirements as per the National Treasury and European Union.

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