The South African Farmers Development Association (Safda) said in statement issued last month that it “welcomes and congratulates” the appointment of new South African Sugar Association (Sasa) vice chairperson Joanmariae Fubbs.
Fubbs was nominated by Safda and voted in at a special meeting of Sasa delegates held on November 4. The vote was unanimous.
“We are excited to be joined by Fubbs in an industry that is busy transforming and becoming an industry of the future, which will be characterised by inclusivity, making sure that the under-resourced small-scale and land reform farmers are taken along. Fubbs has demonstrated her commitment to transformation,” said Safda executive chairperson Dr Siyabonga Madlala.
The statement issued by Safda said that the industry body believes this appointment augurs well for the sugar industry, which signed the South African Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030 last month, and is working to ensure that the sugar sector moves from being a sunset industry and to being a rising sector.
According to Safda, Fubbs brings significant leadership experience to her new post, including in-depth insights into the regulated sugar sector, having been in charge of a parliamentary portfolio committee that was custodian of the Sugar Act and its regulations.
“We hope to make more strides in bringing about much needed changes to our sector with her on board,” Safda said in the statement.
Fubbs joins other women who are already in senior leadership roles within the industry association. Safda previously appointed another woman, Safda deputy chairperson Lindiwe Hlubi, as Sasa vice chairperson in 2018.
In the statement, Madlala thanked Hlubi for being a “pioneer “as the first woman to be in the chairpersonship of Sasa.
“She was brave and took the bull by its horns. She represented us well within the industry. We have now asked her to come back home and help to build Safda, which is growing in leaps and bounds. Her contributions to the industry will be celebrated and cherished,” he said.
Safda claims that it is now “normal” in the agriculture industry for women to occupy such high profile positions, saying that the appointment of new Sasa independent chairperson Sindi Mabaso-Koyana earlier this year corroborates this assertion.
Mabaso-Koyana is an established businesswoman and a chartered accountant by training. She takes over the reins from the previous Sasa independent chairperson Hans Hackmann, who is now one of the three Sasa vice chairpersons, in accordance with the amended Sasa constitution.