wida_90pxTransforming the wine industry landscape
WIDA met on 15th June 09 at Lemoenkloof Conference Centre in Paarl to assess their current capacity to transform the challenging Wine industry.

 

The Wine Industry Development Association (WIDA) met on 15th June 09 at Lemoenkloof Conference Centre in Paarl to assess their current capacity to transform the challenging Wine industry.

Their vision is to promote transformation through social development, human resource development and training, economic empowerment and industrial relations in the South African wine industry in accordance with policy guidelines. The huge current challenge is extended, if one considers the past where stakeholders in the industry were working in isolation and failing the farming communities in the Winelands. In the past the government, farm owners and farm workers were struggling to find each other and WIDA has taken it upon them to allow for synergy between stakeholders, thereby delivering on land reform, human resource development, empowerment transformation, social development and industrial relations.

The chairman of WIDA, Willy Williams, believes a scoping process on the industry will allow for access to information around the marketplace, stakeholders, funding sources and conditions on farms. The stakeholders in the Wine industry that would need to work with WIDA in the future are Farmer’s Unions, SETA’s, Agri Western Cape, farmers and farm workers. Hopefully Carl Opperman of Agri Western Cape grabs the opportunity that WIDA offers and strategically align with WIDA to create a relation perfectly healthy and capable to implement the industry transformation strategy. The draft Agri-BEE scorecard would finally be in a position to take shape around WIDA and Agri Western Cape.
The WIDA board members are thoroughly skilled warriors and their mission is clear and focused. The 5 areas of operations for WIDA consist of special projects, human resource development, industrial relations, social development and BEE. WIDA also set up an advisory council to facilitate project teams and to allow for feedback on work delivered by project teams. Henk Bruwer indicated in an interview that the Board of WIDA is well aware that mentorship is a vital component in operations and a way of risk managing the changing process. What I found interesting in this engagement at Lemoenkloof is the honesty of members in communicating with another and my belief is that transparent communication would allow for an ethical and accountable development process.
Having spent time with Nosey Pieterse in the West Coast during 2002, when the fishing industry required transformation, gave me enough confidence that this Board was on the right track. Steve Woods did his bit to look at how the dreams of WIDA can best be realized through his Achievement Process seminar and Denver Williams had a glow on his face, obviously realizing that his life long vision is becoming a reality. There is hope for the Winelands in WIDA’s vision and we are going to see projects in enterprise development, job creation, skills transfer and training, youth and women development and an organization addressing HIV/Aids, substance abuse and early childhood development.

In summary, WIDA brings hope in a time where faith was lost in the wine industry transformation process. I remember the disappointment on Thabo Mbeki’s face when he visited Pniel in 2007 and commented that the landscape shows no signs of change. Although farmers such as Chris Nissen of Boschendal is committed to transformation, there are still many farmers that require a visit to the Rubicon and soon we might see the “washing of feet” in the wine industry. Nissen recently extended his commitment to transformation and established with Ashley Appollis of Longain Holdings, a Public Administration Advisory Service called Ukuzoluleka. Ukuzoluleka already committed to assist WIDA where possible and one is hopeful that more assistance will flow from the industry. Ukuzoluleka’s offer extends to skills transfers that range from ABET to technical training (welding etc) for farm workers. The Ukuzoluleka offer is in line with Jacob Zuma’s rural development and job creation strategy. Training courses and short courses could be made available under the WIDA banner! Now we are waiting to see how Agri Western Cape and government extend further relations to WIDA, securing a sustainable future for our people in the Winelands.