Agri HourAssistance may be on the horizon for KZN cane growers crippled by unrest
─── OLEBOGENG MOTSE 05:00 Wed, 15 Sep 2021
Financial assistance may be on the horizon for cane growers who collectively lost more than R84 million due to unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July 2021.
The chairperson of the SA Canegrowers Association, Andrew Russell, tells OFM Business Hour, that whilst nothing is set in stone yet, the government has reverted back to them regarding their requests for financial assistance.
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Russell says as much as the response to their pleas is encouraging, it is far from being enough. Again there is no value that has been mentioned as yet.
More than 500,000 tons of sugar cane were burned during the unrest. Most of it can't be processed now as a result of the damage, says Russell. Mills in KwaZulu-Natal have not taken in cane due to burning damage. The cost has amounted to the aforementioned R84,5 million. Russell says the one key takeaway for the industry from the unrest is how vulnerable they are to instigators or disgruntled members of our society. He says that they now need to prioritise security to avoid a similar event in the future.
The OFM Business Hour reported in mid-July that the Amatikulu Sugar Mill in Gingindlovu, KwaZulu-Natal, was placed under strict surveillance by law enforcement and the farming community following reports that protesters in the province were eyeing to cause damage to it.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s detention for defying the Constitutional Court is believed to have triggered the unrest, in which it is reported that 354 people lost their lives and hundreds of others were arrested for their alleged involvement in the looting, violence, and overall criminality that took place during that month.