Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, together with other government officials and relevant stakeholders including Wesgro, has met with executives from Tiger Brands to receive an update on the future of the company’s Langeberg and Ashton Food canning plant.
This comes after reports that the facility is facing possible closure with the possibility of more than 4000 people losing their jobs. Winde said this was his second meeting with Tiger Brands, while Wesgro has been in constant contact with them, with the aim of finding a lasting solution. He added that for the provincial government, ensuring economic growth and job creation is a top priority.
“During the meeting, the Western Cape Government learned that a process is underway to sell the business so that its operations could continue, and we welcome the news that there are now interested parties engaging with the company. Tiger Brands also made an appeal to other interested parties to come forward,” he said.
The officials were also informed that Tiger Brands wants potential buyers to demonstrate that they have sufficient working capital to keep the cannery operating as a going concern.
Tiger Brands’ Chief Corporate Affairs, Mary-Jane Morifi, told the officials that they continue to proactively engage with parties interested in acquiring the Langeberg and Ashton business.
“The efforts to facilitate the preservation of jobs include an offer by Tiger Brands to provide ‘level of vendor’ and a guaranteed off-take if the Growers Consortium was able to raise the necessary funding to continue to operate the business as a going concern. However, the Consortium has not been successful, so far, in raising this required funding,” she said.
The provincial Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, said they are working closely with organised agriculture, other national departments, and key stakeholders to support the agri-processing sub-sector and jobs in the Western Cape. “I have also written to the National Minister of Agriculture Rural Development and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, requesting her support in line with the National Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Processing Master Plan.
Agriculture’s Agro-Processing Master Plan is one of the seven priority plans identified by President Ramaphosa as part of key economic sectors essential for the economic reconstruction and recovery during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will regularly communicate updates on the processes of seeking possible investors to save jobs in the Ashton area,” he said.