This has largely been achieved through co-operation with government in transferring properties to communities under land restitution legislation and the establishment and implementation of operational partnerships with the community recipients of claimed land. Over the past eight years the group has transferred land to the value of R288 million to the government or communities on a willing buyer – willing seller basis. In the majority of these cases we have engendered sufficient trust to partner the new owners for sustainable long-term success of these operations.

This model has been proven by Crookes Brothers to be an effective option for land reform. In this model, the community retains ownership of the land and also partners for the medium-term with an established commercial agricultural group to farm the land. The jointly-owned farming company typically leases the land from the community and the commercial farmer has a management contract with the farming company to provide administration and technical services, as well as to train and mentor aspirant farmers from the community. This model not only ensures the commercial viability of the business, but also facilitates community involvement at all levels. Our reputation for integrity, excellence and fairness is a key differentiator in earning selection as a preferred partner in such structures.

We continually seek opportunities to establish viable businesses with community partners as an effective transformation mechanism. We pride ourselves on the success of these ventures and believe that with the right government support we can play a far wider role in this arena.

Employment equity is a further focus area in terms of the group’s transformation activities. We strive to increase representivity in management through the implementation of affirmative action employment policies, supplemented by well-established training and mentorship programmes.

We follow similar policies in the other southern African countries in which the group operates to increase the involvement of the indigenous populations in the agricultural sector and ensure that the benefits derived from agriculture are shared with local communities.