News – Date: 04 November 2017
Written by: Isabel Venter
Four macadamia thieves appeared in the Louis Trichardt District Court this week where they were punished for their crimes.
Bushy Nedzamba Musiiwa (33), Always Nedzamba (43), Eric Makanise (42) and Jimmy Munyai (34) pleaded guilty to single counts of theft. They were caught red-handed while stealing a bakkie load full of macadamias from Mr Fritz Ahrens on 10 April this year.
According to Ahrens, the men (who were all in his employ at that stage) managed to switch off the security cameras in order for them to pick the nuts. They were caught leaving the farm with the bakkie.
In their plea explanation, which was read into the court record by their legal representative, the men did not give a reason as to why they had unlawfully taken a load of nuts. They did, however, offer an apology to Ahrens and asked the court not to hand down a sentence of direct imprisonment . The men stated that they, together with their families, had been punished enough in the months following their arrest since they lost their income.
“The complainant [Ahrens] has not suffered any financial loss … the goods were recovered in a good marketable condition,” said the four men.
State prosecutor Bethuel Makhado pointed out to the court, however, that the fact that the men were without employment and income was as a result of their own actions. “Did they work on the farm for free? No, they committed a serious offence. If this court does not give out stiffer sentences, we will not be rid of this cancer … day in and day out this court deals with the theft of avocadoes and macadamias,” said Makhado.
Makhado further pointed out that, taking into consideration that all four had been employed at the farm, they might have been at the head of an established syndicate.
The court took this into consideration and sentenced all four men to a fine of R10 000 or 18 months’ imprisonment, of which the fine was suspended to the amount of R5 000 or nine months wholly suspended for five years.
This in effect means that the men were slapped with a R5 000 fine each, which they were ordered to pay in instalments over the next three months. Their bail money, which they paid in the amount of R5 000 after their arrest, was also declared forfeited to the State.
November 22, China’s Tariff Policy Commission of the State Council promulgated changes to 2017 tariff policies. According to the notice, effective December 1, import tariffs for some consumer goods will be reduced by implementing a provisional tax rate.
A total of 10 nuts and dried fruit are among those affected. This is the first major adjustment to tariff policy since the value-added tax on imported agricultural products was reduced to 11% in July.
Import tariffs on the Brazil nut, cashew, and pecan will fall to 7%—this includes dried, fresh, in-shell and no-shell goods. As for the macadamia nut, the tariff rate will drop from 19% to 12%. Almond and pistachio tariffs remain unchanged at 10% and 5% respectively.
With regard to dried fruit, duties on both dried coconut and avocado (dried and fresh) will be reduced to 7%. The import tariff rate on dried cranberries remains at 15%, however.
Overall, growing demand and upgraded consumption by Chinese consumers necessitates the reduction of tariff rates on agricultural goods. At the same time, tariff reductions for products, such as the macadamia nut and avocado, bring some primary supplier countries closer to the benefits enjoyed by nations with a free trade agreement with China.
Taken from: http://www.producereport.com/article/china-cuts-import-tariffs-dried-fruit-nuts
Dear SAMAC member
It was recently brought to the attention of the SAMAC board that due to a legal technicality in the announcement of the General Meetings regarding the adoption of proposed Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI), voting on the MOI, SAMAC directors and the statutory levy will be postponed and no voting will take place this week.
Therefore only the SAMAC AGM will take place at the Sibaya Casino on Wednesday September 2017. The meetings scheduled for Levubu and Nelspruit on 7 & 8 September respectively have been cancelled.
The board will shortly send out a communication regarding the rescheduling of the voting on the three motions. In the interim the board has taken the opportunity to address some areas of dispute and we believe we have come up with solutions acceptable to all.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused but believe the long term benefits will be worth the delay.
SAMAC Board of Directors
Die Nasionale Minimumloon wetsontwerp, sowel as die NEDLAC ooreenkoms, blyk ‘n groot bron van kommer te wees in die landbousektor. Hierdie dokument lig die mees belangrike aspekte van beide uit:
Die bogenoemde teikendatum word in die NEDLAC ooreenkoms uitgesit, en dit beteken dat die regering nasionale wetgewing tussen nou (Augustus 2017) en die teikendatum (1 Mei 2018) wil promulgeer en implementeer.
Gegewe dat die wetsontwerp waarskynlik hewig by NEDLAC gedebatteer gaan word en daarna nog deur parlementêre prosesse moet gaan voor goedkeuring, is die tydsraamwerk besonder kort. Tydens ‘n gesprekforum met die Departement van Arbeid op Vrydag 10 Augustus het dit duidelik geword dat die implementeringsdatum nie geskuif gaan word nie, maar ook nie sonder die nuwe wet ingebring kan word nie. Amptenare kon nie die teenstrydigheid aanspreek nie.
Nietemin sal Agri SA voortgaan om deel te neem aan die proses en seker maak dat die belange van die landbousektor beskerm word. Deur BUSA lewer Agri SA kommentaar op die wetsontwerp en word daar seker gemaak dat die wetsontwerp binne die bestaande arbeidswetgewing inpas. Verder vergader Agri SA Maandag met die CCMA om verhoudinge te verstewig. Die CCMA gaan die aangewese forum wees waar geskille oor minimumlone aangehoor word.
Die ooreenkoms vermeld twee uitsonderings: Huiswerkers kwalifiseer vir 75% van die minimumloon (R15 per uur), en werkers in die landbousektor vir 90% van die minimumloon (R18 per uur). Hierdie uitsondering is soortgelyk aan internasionale tendense, waar werkers in hierdie twee sektore normaalweg ‘n persentasie van die totale minimumloon betaal word, of heeltemal uit so ‘n ooreenkoms gelaat word.
In die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, met ons hoë werkloosheidssyfer, bly die vraag of ons die werkloosheidskoers wil vererger, of meer mense toegang wil gee tot werk, teen laer betaling. Die regering sal nie hele sektore toelaat om nie die minimumloon te betaal nie, maar het besluit dat ‘n Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie tot stand gebring moet word, wat spesifiek navorsing sal doen om die vlak van die minimumloon te bepaal, en ook metodes om die betaling van die minimumloon te beloon, sal ondersoek.
Die huidige minimuloon soos bepaal in die landbou sektorale vasstelling is R15.39 (Maart 2017 to Februarie 2018). In Maart 2018 sal dit verhoog na R15.39 + CPI (5.5% geskat) + 1% = R16.39 (Maart 2018 – Februarie 2019). Dit bring die minimumloon volgens sektorale vasstelling na R1.61 per uur minder as die Nasionale Minimumloon, wat op 1 Mei 2018 sal inskop.
Aftrekkings wat volgens die sektorale vasstellings toegelaat word (soos behuising), sal steeds toegelaat word. Die sektorale vasstellings sal voortaan as skedules aan die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes geheg word, eerder as aparte sektorale vasstellings soos nou die geval is.
Die Nasionale Minimumloon is van toepassing op die volgende kategorieë werkers:
Die Nasionale minimumloon tref nie onderskeid wat gebied betref, soos die sektorale vasstellings soms doen nie.
Die Nasionale Minimumloon word aan werkers betaal vir ure gewerk, en sluit bonusse en ander voordele uit. Aftrekkings ingevolge artikel 34 van die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes word toegelaat, met die instemming van die werker.
Dit is belangrik om te onthou dat dit die werkgewer se verantwoordelikheid is om produktiwiteit te bestuur, en dat dit meer en meer belangrik gaan word om die produksie van werkers korrek te bestuur, soos arbeidskoste verhoog.
Die doelwit is om huiswerkers en werkers in die landbousektor binne twee jaar op dieselfde vlak te betaal as werkers in ander sektore. Dit sal onderhewig wees aan die navorsing wat deur die Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie gedoen sal word.
Die huidige voorstel is dat ‘n werker vir ‘n minimum van 4 ure per dag vergoed word, ongeag hoe lank daar gewerk is.
Dit beteken dat die minimumloon eers weer in 2020 hersien sal word, en werkgewers het die diskresie om verhogings (al dan nie) in 2019 toe te staan.
Volgens die huidige vasstellings mag werkgewers ingevolge artikel 50 van die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes aansoek doen vir kwytskelding. Dieselfde proses sal met die Nasionale Minimumloon gedoen word, maar die aansoeke moet binne 30 dae hanteer word. Indien ‘n werkgewer nie binne 30 dae terug hoor vanaf die Departement van Arbeid nie, mag die werkgewer aanneem dat die kwytskelding toegestaan is. Die proses sal ook elektronies hanteer word, baie soos SARS se e-filing stelsel.
Volgens die NEDLAC ooreenkoms sal geen werkgewer toegelaat word om eensydige veranderinge aan diensvoorwaardes soos werksure te maak as gevolg van die implementering van die Nasionale Minimumloon nie. Deur dit te doen sal ‘n werkgewer hom skuldig maak aan nie-nakoming (non-compliance), en/of ‘n onbillike arbeidspraktyk. Afleggings as gevolg van die implementering van die Nasionale Minimumloon kan werkgewers blootstel aan nie-nakoming of onbillike ontslag-sake. Die regering het aangedui dat werkgewers bygestaan sal word om die Nasionale Minimumloon aan werkers te kan betaal, en die bystandsmetode sal bepaal word deur die navorsing wat die Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie sal moet doen.
‘n Minimumloon is nie ‘n vreemde konsep vir die landbousektor nie, siende dat die sektor se arbeidskoste alreeds sedert 2003 deur sektorale vasstellings bepaal word. Hierdie sektorale vasstellings word grootliks nagekom, veral in Gauteng en die Wes-Kaap, met die kwytskelding proses wat nog altyd ‘n opsie is vir werkgewers wat nie die minimumloon kan bekostig nie.
Agri SA moedig nakoming van die Nasionale Minimumloon aan, en sal elke geleentheid benut om die wetlike proses te beïnvloed om te verseker dat werkgewers in staat gestel sal word om werkers volgens die Nasionale Minimumloon te betaal, en sodoende groei en voorspoed in die landbousektor te verseker.
Jahni de Villiers
Hoof: Arbeid en Transformasie
The National Minimum Wage Bill, as well as the agreement signed at NEDLAC (hereafter the NEDLAC agreement) in February 2017, has been a source of concern within the agricultural sector. This document highlights the most important aspects of the agreement reached, as well as specific provisions in the draft Bill:
In the NEDLAC agreement, a target date is set at 1 May 2018. This means that government wants national legislation, enforcing the national minimum wage, promulgated and implemented between now (July 2017) and the target date.
Given that the bill is currently at NEDLAC where it is foreseen that it will be robustly debated, and that it will still need to go through the parliamentary processes before it becomes law, this timeframe is extremely narrow. During a discussion forum with the Department of Labour on Friday 10 August 2017, it became apparent that the implementation date will not be moved, but that the minimum wage cannot be introduced without the new legislation. Officials could not clear up this contradiction.
However, Agri SA remains committed to participating in the process, and will make sure that the interests of the agricultural sector are served. Through BUSA, AgriSA can comment on the draft legislation, and ensure that it fits into the current employment legislation framework. Furthermore, Agri SA is meeting with the CCMA National Office on Monday 13 August to strengthen relations. The CCMA will be the forum where disputes regarding the minimum wage will be adjudicated.
The agreement stipulates two exceptions: Domestic workers qualify for 75% of the minimum wage (R15 per hour), and workers in the agricultural sector will be paid 90% of the minimum wage (R18 per hour) as from 1 May 2018. It is important to note that this dispensation is on track with international trends, where workers in these two sectors are often paid a percentage of the agreed minimum wage, or excluded in total.
In the South African context, with such a high unemployment rate, the critical question remains whether we want to exacerbate the unemployment challenge or whether we want to give more people the opportunity to be employed at lower wages. Government will not allow whole industries to opt out of paying the National Minimum Wage, but has resolved that a National Minimum Wage Commission will be created, with the view of providing research to support the level at which the National Minimum Wage is set as well as providing guidance on incentivising the payment of the National Minimum Wage.
The current hourly rate in terms of the sectoral determination is R15.39 (March 2017 to Feb 2018). In March 2018, this will increase to R15.39 + CPI (5.5% forecast) + 1% = R16.39 (March 2018 – Feb 2019). This brings the sectoral determination to R1.61 per hour less than the National Minimum Wage, which will be applicable as from 1 May 2018.
Deductions which are made in accordance with the sectoral determination, will still be allowed. The sectoral determinations will be attached as schedules to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, instead of stand-alone determinations as they are now.
NMW is applicable to the following categories of workers:
The National Minimum Wage is not subject to the distinction between urban and non-urban areas, as is found in the current sectoral determinations.
The National Minimum Wage is calculated as money paid for hours worked, it excludes bonuses and other benefits. Deductions are allowed in accordance with section 34 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and must be agreed to by the employee.
It is important to remember that managing productivity is the responsibility of the employer, and it will become more important to manage productivity properly as the cost of labour increases.
The aim is to elevate both the domestic worker and agricultural sectors to be on par with the National Minimum Wage, within two years of implementation. This will be subject to research done by the National Minimum Wage Commission, which will be established in terms of the National Minimum Wage Act.
The current proposal is that workers will be paid for 4 hours of work, regardless of how long they worked.
This means that the minimum wage will only be reviewed in 202, and employers have the discretion to determine increases (if any) in 2019.
Employers may, currently, apply for exemption from the sectoral determinations in terms of section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The same process will be followed for the National Minimum Wage, but with the added commitment that the turnaround time for exemption applications will be 30 days. If an employer has not heard whether an exemption has been granted within the 30-day time-frame, such an employer may deem the exemption as granted. The system used will resemble SARS’ e-filing system.
According to the agreement reached at NEDLAC, no employer will be allowed to unilaterally adjust conditions of employment, such as working hours, because of the introduction of the National Minimum Wage. Doing this would constitute non-compliance, and/or an unfair labour practice. Retrenchments due to the inability to pay workers the National Minimum Wage, may also open employers to possible non-compliance, or unfair dismissals. Government has resolved to assist employers to reach payment of the National Minimum Wage, the method will depend on research done by the National Minimum Wage Commission.
Minimum wages are not a foreign concept to the agricultural sector, as the sector has been subjected to sectoral determinations since 2003. These are largely complied with, especially in Gauteng and the Western Cape, with the exemption process being available to all employers who are unable to pay their workers in accordance with the sectoral determinations.
Agri SA encourages compliance with the National Minimum Wage, and will utilise every opportunity to influence the legislative process to enable employers to pay the National Minimum Wage, to ensure growth and prosperity in the agricultural sector.
Jahni de Villiers
Head: labour and Transformation
SIZA has complied a useful guide to the law and best practice in fire safety on farms.
The macadamia industry has received a boost this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a petition to allow a qualified health claim connecting the nut’s consumption to a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
The claim is quite specific however, with the following wording put forth by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc. in its request to the regulator:
“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content,” states the now permitted claim.
The decision comes almost two years after the petition was initially filed, putting the native Australian nut in the same league as other nuts renowned for their health benefits such as walnuts and almonds.
“This is a truly a historic day for everyone in the macadamia nut industry,” Scott Wallace of Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut said in a release.
“Research about the benefits macadamia nuts have for heart health has existed for decades, and we’ve worked tirelessly to secure the legal right to share this with the masses.
“Many people associate almonds, pistachios and walnuts with better health, but this momentous decision from the FDA now puts macadamia nuts in a similar category.”
In the release, the company highlighted macadamia nuts have no cholesterol and are high in monounsaturated fats – the same healthy fats found in olive oil and avocados, which are known to help reduce bad cholesterol levels and can lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Scientists first discovered that adding macadamia nuts to the diet appeared to lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood during the 1990s and 2000s.
Since then, researchers have been exploring the connection, resulting in a growing body of scientific evidence supporting that a diet including macadamia nuts can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
One ounce of macadamia nuts (about 15 nuts) is also an excellent source of thiamin and manganese, a good source of dietary fiber and copper, and contains protein, magnesium, iron and phytosterols.
Taken from: www.freshfruitportal.com
Overview of the South African Macadamia Industry
THE SOUTH AFRICAN INDUSTRY – Updated 2 June 2017
From fairly humble beginnings in the 1960’s when macadamias were first introduced into the country, the South African macadamia industry has grown into a major world force, competing with Australia in terms of being the largest producer. It is arguably the fastest growing tree crop industry in South Africa with production increasing more than 20-fold in the last 20 years, from 1 211 tons of nut in shell (NIS) in 1991 to an industry capable of producing 46 000 tons in 2015. The total value of annual production has increased from R32 million in 1996 to approximately R 3.2 Billion in 2015. Due to a severe drought period, production decreased with a total production of 38 000 tons NIS produced in 2016, valued at R2.714 Billion.
New macadamia tree plantings have increased the number of trees from about one million in 1996 to more than 8 million in 2016, covering a total area of approximately 28 000 hectares. New plantings ensure that the industry is growing by an estimated 3 900 ha annually.
The main growing areas are Levubu and Tzaneen in Limpopo province, Hazyview to Barberton in Mpumalanga and coastal KwaZulu-Natal. There are an estimated 700 farmers involved in growing macadamia nuts, with more than 650 that are members of SAMAC. A number of growers are GlobalGAP and SIZA accredited and most of the cracking facilities are HACCP and/or ISO 9001 accredited. Quality assurance is given priority throughout the industry, from farm level through the processor and exporter to the customer. Individual batch processing used in all the cracking facilities provides for the kind of attention to detail that not only ensures full traceability of every container of macadamias from the customer back to farm level, but also supplies farmers with fast feedback of quality attributes of each batch processed.
[Go to “SUPPLIERS” for a list of SAMAC affiliated South African macadamia marketing companies to make your purchase of fine quality macadamia nut products]
The industry is export based with more than 95% of annual production shipped to international markets. Approximately 50% of the South African crop is exported as NIS to Asia, and the remainder of the crop is processed to kernel. The USA and Canada is the largest market for kernel exports. Other markets include Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Given the large number of young trees yet to come into production, the industry has tremendous growth and development potential. Although most of the workforce in the industry is employed seasonally, for the harvesting and processing from February to August, it is estimated that at least 7 150 permanent job opportunities have been created on macadamia farms and another 600 permanent jobs in cracking facilities. In peak season, the industry presently provides employment for an additional 8 150 workers. A total of 12 500 full-time equivalent workers are estimated to be employed by the macadamia industry in South Africa. Since production is expected to continue to increase due to the rate at which new plantings are being established, employment creation is expected to continue to grow at a similar pace.
The industry body SAMAC was formed in the early 1970’s by a group of growers seeking to pool their resources in order to address their common problems and issues. SAMAC opened its first permanent office in October 1997 with two staff members. Currently (2016) SAMAC has a membership of more than 500 members, which consists of growers, international members, nurseries, handlers and service providers. SAMAC is a dynamic organisation, funded by a statutory levy and voluntary membership contributions and directed by macadamia industry participants who have the orderly growth and development of the industry at heart. SAMAC initiated contact with other African macadamia producing countries, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe, at an historic “indaba” held in Harare in 1998 and after more than a decade SAMAC still works closely with these industries to promote the global industry.
Global contacts and cooperation has been further developed through the participation in the seven International Macadamia Symposia that have taken place since its inception in 1999, of which three have been hosted in South Africa (1999, 2009 and 2015).
SAMAC is also a member of the INC (The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council) where the industry has the opportunity to interact not only with international macadamia role players, but with various other key role players within the international nut trade.
The South African macadamia industry is proud of its strong private enterprise base and the structures in place for its governance, created, funded and controlled by the growers, processors and marketers who are committed to its successful future.