Where good wine is legendary
In South Africa, where good wine is legendary, there is also a history of unequal opportunity. The wine industry has been particularly bad –with farm workers being denied basic rights, skills and opportunities. Addressing this problem is not simple and is often dependent upon on–going support from landowners and wineries.
Koopmanskloof is an exciting response. In 2004, with the financial assistance of the Department of Land Affairs who provided the finance, the worker community became owners of their own farm Vredehoek and co-owners in the operational company, Koopmanskloof Wingerde (Pty) which has another 6 farms.
The business was then re-structured with 3 non executive Black Directors who appointed a Black CEO to oversee grape farming, winemaking and marketing. Black employees now own 26% and the 3 black directors 18%, bringing the total black shareholding in Koopmanskloof to 44%, making it a broad based black economic empowered company. Workers are now involved in regular skills development and training programmess.
The fairtrade premium from this wine will go to support improvements for workers and their families. The Koopmanskloof Fairtrade Joint Body is responsible for identifying the priorities in the community and ensuring that these are met and addressed. These include care for the elderly and young, education and training, sport and recreation, as well as healthcare and transport. These vitally important social needs will be addressed in a dignified manner with the help of the Fairtrade premium payments.
These schools have only very basic equipment
There are 88 workers with their families who live on the farms. The day-care centre has five staff who take care of about 20 children. The children are fed 3 meals per day and are entertained with educational games in a safe and clean environment. The government school on the farm has 388 children from all the farms in the area. These schools have only very basic equipment.
The houses have running water, electricity and sanitation but 25% have no inside bathrooms. The plan is to have all houses fitted with bathrooms and toilets within the next 3 years. At the moment there are no sporting facilities on the farms, and limited transport to clubs in the townships some miles away.
Traidcraft will be working with the CEO and the joint body to support their developing understanding of fair trade and the opportunities it can bring.
It is planned that Koopmanskloof will also feature in the Meet the People Tour of South Africa – for it is situated in an area of outstanding beauty with a 100 hectare private nature reserve monitored by Cape Nature Conservation on the farm. From this reserve there is a 360° view of the Cape Winelands, Wheatlands, Coastal, Bay , Robben Island and mountain views including Table Mountain Cape Point .