Forestry in South Africa
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May : FSA Annual Report 2016

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17 May, 2017

FSA Annual Report 2016

Our Industry is often the envy of other sectors who find it far more difficult, perhaps due to their market activities, to collaborate on matters of common interest. Having FSA representing most timber growers across the scale, race and management objectives spectra of the South African Forestry Industry, is a massive advantage to the Industry. FSA is seen by Government, other sectors, the media, investors and other interested and affected parties, as the single focal point for the Industry. Such collaboration continues to reduce the costs and risks of doing business in South Africa in so many areas of the Industry's businesses and examples of this are found throughout this Annual Report.

This credibility has also been seen in the growing membership of FSA, the growth in external funding into FSA and in the growth in sponsorship of our Annual General Meetings. I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our members, sponsors and our implementation partners in research, forestry protection, transformation, education and training, Government and other Industry Associations, for their continued support of the Association. It is our sincere wish that all timber growers will join the Association and contribute to its important work.

On this note, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the R&B Group as the newest member of FSA and we look forward to securing the membership of Sonae-Auraco and Silicon Smelters in 2017, as they have both expressed interest in joining FSA.

There were some major highlights in 2016 which are dealt with in more detail in this Report but which are worthy of mention here. The first of these was the approval by Honourable Minister Davies MP, of the Forest Sector Codes for BBBEE, which he approved for implementation in October 2016. While the Industry is still in discussion with the Minister on some points of clarity, we expect the Charter to be gazetted for implementation in the first half of 2017. The changes which Industry was able to effect in these codes, most notably having Industry's and Government's commitments reflected in a sector-wide score card, are a first for any sector in the country. This offers the first real chance that Government will make good on all its undertakings to support the transformation and growth of the Industry which until now remain almost entirely unmet. The re-appointment of Dr Moshibudi Rampedi as the DDG for Forestry is encouraging, in that she will be able to see first-hand, to what extent DAFF have made progress in these areas, since she was previously responsible for Forestry in 2012.

On the Grower Development Programme, our Business Development Unit has once again achieved some remarkable successes. FSA secured R3.06m from the FP&M SETA which has been used for training of our small-scale growers in business practice, firefighting, silviculture and advanced chainsaw operations. FSA also succeeded in securing another R2.7m from the SETA for 2017. In addition to this, the Business Development Unit secured R1.11m from the King Cetshwayo District Municipality (previously known as uThungulu DM) for the re-establishment of small-scale growers' plantations in Sokhulu, which were devastated by Leptocybe. All these programmes have been funded by external partners, once again demonstrating the credibility and effectiveness of FSA and reducing the cost to FSA's members, in funding the important work of the Business Development Unit.

Another major achievement was the resolution of the seventeen-year old genus exchange debate. DWS finally accepted FSA's position that the highly controversial regulations which sought to compel timber growers to apply for authorisation when switching genera, were not necessary. The DWS undertook to suspend the regulations after FSA demonstrated, using a DWS-respected hydrologist, that DWS had based these regulations on a fundamentally flawed arithmetical error.

On the political front, we have reported regularly to members on the potential impact which political changes have on the economy, on transformation and on investment in South Africa. In the Forestry Industry, the political climate improved significantly in 2016, with FSA having agreed on a Forestry Roadmap with the Deputy Minister of DAFF. In the broader political landscape, it remains to be seen whether businesses and the citizens of the country are able to effect the changes that are needed to restore South Africa's credit ratings and a sustainable growth trajectory. We are, however, fortunate that we have an Industry association like FSA that continues to fight for an enabling and supportive business environment for the Industry.

Thank you to all our partners in both the private and the public sectors, who support the transformation, growth and protection of the Industry. Most importantly, thank you to all of our members who through their membership and contribution to FSA, ensure the sustainability of our sector and the value chain which it supports. I wish you all the very best for 2017 and I once again encourage all timber growers to join and support FSA so that the important work which they and our implementing partners do, can continue.

Last but not least, thank you to all of our FSA staff, for continuing to fight for the Industry on so many fronts. They are a small but highly effective team, who passionately and fearlessly tackle all the issues which affect all timber growers in South Africa.

Viv McMenamin
Forestry South Africa

Download the 15th Annual Report