De Villiers, Mokgatle in review

Nine months into his tenure as CEO of Grain SA, Jannie de Villiers has pushed for transformation at the industry body.

Nine months into his tenure as CEO of Grain SA, Jannie de Villiers has pushed for transformation at the industry body. Meanwhile his successor as leader of Chamber of Milling, Boikanyo Mokgatle, is overseeing an office restructuring.

De Villiers told Farmer’s Weekly he has been tackling industry challenges. Priority matters thus far have included drawing up a strategic plan for the organisation and transforming the staff component, which included creating three BEE positions.

“We’ve made some good progress with regard to the transformation of our staff component,” said De Villiers, adding that the organisation would move to newly purchased premises in Pretoria in December.

He has also spent a lot of time repositioning Grain SA in the value chain and with government. “In some instances we’ve made a lot of headway,” said De Villiers. “One of these is on the export of the maize surplus, another is in getting government to consider import replacement as a means to assist food security and job creation.”

It has also made great strides with black farmer development, he said, with 3 613 black farmers listed as paid up members of Grain SA’s study groups. Over R50 million has been received from government to assist black grain farmers.

However, the industry needs to improve data collection, so a clear picture of maize exports and stock in silos can guide exports and ensure the country is left with sufficient stock to fulfil its needs. “We also need to work a lot harder on infrastructure, and getting railways working properly and expanding the ports. These things take a lot of graft and effort,” De Villiers said.

At the Chamber of Milling, Mokgatle will hold the title of acting executive director until the board decides on a new office structure. “We embarked on a restructuring process at the beginning of the year and have made quite astronomical progress in that regard,” reported Mokgatle.

The chamber is changing into a “completely new organisation”, he said. While he couldn’t yet reveal any specific changes, he  said a strategy for the restructuring process had been completed. “The board has approved this strategy although there are still minor issues which need tightening here and there. The purpose is to re-engineer and redefine our business model. It will take cognizance of the current dynamic environment. It is management’s and the board’s intention to take it to the next level and make it a very competent industry representative body and to serve the interest of the milling fraternity.” – Robyn Joubert