Women sugarcane farmers with a lifetime of experience in the sector have made it to the top echelons of the SA Canegrowers’ leadership ladder after the elections of the association’s new board at its annual general meeting last month.
Dipuo Ntuli, a smallscale grower from northern Zululand, was elected for a second term as vice chair, while Rejoice Ncwane and Kiki Mzoneli, who farm near Sezela and Groutville respectively, have taken up their seats on the board for the very first time.
Congratulating the women on their appointments, outgoing chairman of the association Graeme Stainbank said not only was it a historic and exciting moment for the 92-year-old member-body, but the women were all experienced sugarcane growers who would bring a wealth of knowledge and vision to the leadership structures.
All three women said not only were they honoured to have been elected by the SA Canegrowers members, but they were there to serve the sugar industry and their communities of mainly smallscale growers.
New chairman Rex Talmage said the appointments were “extremely exciting” and he was looking forward to working with them.
“One of the key attributes of a board is having true diversity of perspective, experience and expertise that feed into a more holistic understanding and approach, which then allows for better decision-making.”
He said of paramount importance – notwithstanding the valued diversity of the board from a cultural, gender, experience, areas of expertise or scale of operation basis – was that everybody who was elected subscribed to a common set of values: democratic, inclusive, transparent, integrous, accountable, transformative, non-racial and high governance throughout the organisation.