Weeks after the Female the Year prize-giving ceremony in Cape Town, the winner of the prestigious award, Bongiwe Kali, and 30 other provincial winners are yet to be paid their prize monies, totalling R3,1 million. The National Department of Agriculture (NDA) has not made the payments because of an apparent fallout with Absa, the main corporate sponsor of the competition.
According to Absa’s head of media relations, Patrick Wadula, the bank doesn’t take any responsibility for paying the winners as there was no contractual agreement between the bank and the NDA for an annual sponsorship of the Female Farmer of the Year Award. bsa has sponsored the competition for the past three years but, Wadula said, as with all sponsorship considerations, all business segments within Absa continuously review their decisions in line with various criteria, including spending, return on investment, and budgetary and business imperatives.
He explained that the decision not to sponsor the Female Farmer of the Year competition was in alignment with a review of all sponsorships by Absa Corporate and Business Bank. “This is standard business practice,” Wadula pointed out. owever, he confirmed that continues to support various other agricultural initiatives as the bank is committed to the development of the agricultural sector in South Africa. The NDA could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print. – Peter Mashala