The largest tea estate in the Southern Hemisphere, Magwa Enterprise Tea (MET) which was until recently led by an interim Board, has announced the appointment of a Board of Directors for a three-year period with effect from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2024. Located in the Wild Coast region, the estate is comprised of Magwa in Lusikisiki in the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality and Majola near Port St Johns. The black tea producing estates are one of the last remaining operational tea estates in the country. In September 2020, Magwa amended its registration into a state-owned company. The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) transferred its shares to the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) which delegated the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) to take over the shares. This effectively rendered Magwa Enterprise Tea a subsidiary of the ECRDA. The announcement was made recently by Lulama Nare, the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the ECRDA which manages the MET on behalf of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of seven Board Members for Magwa Enterprise Tea which is a subsidiary of the ECRDA. The Board is appointed with effect from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2024. It will be led by the chairperson Ayanda Gabula who is also the ECRDA’s regional manager in the Alfred Nzo region. Vuyani Mapiya (Deputy Board Chairperson); Bongo Qina; Ngcane Madikizela-Renene; Simphiwe Thobela; Lungiswa Patience Goya, Ingquza Hill Local Municipality representative; and Nolwazi Baleni who is the Port St Johns Local Municipality representative. This team is made of individuals with a diverse skills set in areas such as finance, business management, agriculture, marketing, legal and human resources. The four board members employed by state organs will not receive board fees. The Board’s immediate task would be to put into action the recently approved and ambitious Magwa Enterprise Tea Master Plan which aims to expand the estate from tea manufacturing into an agri-eco-tourism hub. The Magwa Board will work in tandem with the ECRDA Board of Directors in constructing a strategy for sourcing strategic investors to assist in the roll-out of these new ventures,” says Nare.
Newly-appointed MET Board chairperson Ayanda Gabula says the Board has the formidable task of driving the execution of the master plan which sets ambitious targets over the next 15 years which aim to transform MET into a bustling eco-tourism centre. The futuristic MET will result in the estates expand from being a tea-producing enterprise to becoming a tourist destination of choice. The proposed plan forecasts countless investment opportunities for the private sector. “For example, on the far east of Magwa lies Mbotyi Beach. We have entered into a contract with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to construct the road between Magwa and Mbotyi Beach in order to encourage tourism inflows into the area. SANRAL will also develop other routes within Magwa to the Magwa Falls and to the other estates. There are more than three estates in Magwa which are being revamped and resuscitated. The plan is for the estates to house workers, tourists and others should be rented out to the public. There is also a tea room planned to accommodate events such as weddings among others. The priority now is sourcing strategic partners and specialists in these areas,” Gabula says. For more information: NobaTembu Pako Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency E. Pakon@ecrda.co.za C. 082 462 2714