Communities taking over management of state plantations

DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy (centre) and Deputy Minister Makhotso Sotyu (left) hand over the signed Community Forestry Agreement to Inkosi Silinga.

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, and Deputy Minister Makhotso Sotyu, handed over the management of three plantations to Eastern Cape communities at a function held at Butterworth in April.

The plantations – Mission (79 ha Eucalyptus), Nqamakwe (160 ha Eucalyptus, 35 ha wattle) and Mgomanzi (105 ha Eucalyptus) – were handed over to the Tobotshane, Amahlubi and Amazizi traditional councils following the signing of Community Forestry Agreements with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

In the past three years, the department has facilitated the transfer of 27 plantations, totalling 6 210 hectares, in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, as part of the implementation of the Forest Sector Masterplan.

“This is a milestone that requires commitment not only by government, but by industry and the communities taking over these plantations,” said Deputy Minister Sotyu at the handover function.

Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment Makhotso Sotyu addresses the gathering at the plantation handover function.

“Government, through the DFFE is expected to provide post settlement support to the communities, ranging from technical to financial support where possible. The industry is expected to support these communities through investments that will ensure that the plantations are managed sustainably.

“The communities on the other hand are expected to ensure that they protect these plantations and manage them for the benefit of all, which is why we have the Traditional Councils taking centre stage in the process,” she said.

The Deputy Minister encouraged the communities to take responsibility for managing these plantations seriously as they represent “a legacy for them and their generations to come”.

Inkosi Nyhila signs the CFA for the Mission and Toboshane plantations.

Role of traditional leaders
In her address Minister Creecy thanked the Traditional Councils for their support in facilitating the handover of the plantations, and outlined the broader strategy for transforming the forest sector.

“I would like to begin by thanking the traditional leaders present here today for their support and collaboration during this process. Inkosi Bikitsha, Inkosi Nhyila and Inkosi Silinga and their respective traditional councils were a key part of the establishment and finalisation of the community forestry agreements. Numerous engagements and consultation sessions were held with the traditional councils to tailor agreements best suited to the conditions of the relevant communities, which will maximise benefits and ensure the sustainability and continued prosperity of the plantations.”

She said that the support given by the royal houses demonstrates the vital role traditional leadership plays in facilitating government initiatives, making collaboration and project success more attainable.

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment, Barbara Creecy, delivered the keynote address at the handover.

“DFFE has been actively pursuing community forestry agreements with various communities nationwide. These legally binding agreements are designed to ensure the sustainable management of community forests for the economic, social and environmental benefit of the communities involved.”

Minister Creecy said that the Forestry Sector Masterplan is also focussed on investment in the sector, with a target of R24,9 billion to be invested, of which R8.4 billion had already been invested at the time of finalising the masterplan.

With regards to employment, the masterplan has set a target of 100,549 additional jobs in the forestry sector, the bulk of which will come from new afforestation schemes.

To ensure that previously disadvantaged communities are included in the forestry value chain, the Masterplan aims to increase share of SME procurement in the sector.

“The Masterplan will also attract investment through issuing a call for proposals for the industry to support owner-growers, and encourage commercial players to partner with communities by providing opportunities throughout the value chain,” she said.

Inkosi Mkhatshane signs the CFA for the Ngqamakwe plantation.

Minister Creecy noted a number of requirements that communities entering into Community Forestry Agreements need to adhere to in order to ensure that the forestry resources are sustainably managed, and communities can reap the benefits:
• Traditional councils, on behalf of the communities are expected to manage the community forests sustainably so that they can yield economic, social and environmental benefits.
• An operating company owned by the community must be established to manage and operate the plantations. This will enable transparent procurement processes for strategic partners, adherence to land use regulations and the development of comprehensive management plans.
• The revenue from the plantations should be adequately invested and surplus be distributed equitably for the benefit of the community.
• Changes of land use are not permitted unless approved by the minister responsible for forestry.
Minister Creecy said that more CFAs are set to be concluded in the current financial year, with ongoing assessments of investment proposals from potential partners.

Inkosi Silinga signs the CFA for the Mngomanzi plantation.

National Minimum Wage beats inflation - again

A National Minimum Wage of R27.58 per hour – effective from 1st March 2024 - has been announced by the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi.

This represents a CPI + 3% increase in minimum wage, and follows a CPI + 2% increase in 2023.

This minimum wage applies to all workers in South Africa across all economic sectors – including farm/forestry workers as well as domestic workers.

The 2024 Minimum Wage means that workers in South Africa will be paid R 220.64 for a normal eight-hour day, and R 1 103.20 for a 40-hour week.

The only exceptions are:-
• Workers employed on Expanded Public Works programmes for whom the minimum wage for 2024 has been set at R15.16 per hour;
• Workers employed under Learnership agreements in terms of the Skills Development Act.

Predictably, the increase has been met with a chorus of criticism from business who claim that an above CPI wage increase is counter-productive in the current economic climate. The gist of the argument is that it will simply exacerbate unemployment as many small, medium and micro businesses will either cut their staff numbers or find other ways of reducing their wages bills, which will impact negatively on bottom rung employees at the end of the day.

Bigger businesses will in all likelihood continue to mechanise their operations and use technology innovation to reduce staff overheads. The end result will be fewer, skilled people employed at higher rates. Where does this leave unskilled school leavers seeking entry level employment in South Africa?

Many small scale tree farmers operating on communal land will not be able to afford the minimum wage, and so they will remain outside of the formal ‘legal’ economy and will continue to conduct their businesses on the economic fringes.

Commented Gerhard Papenfus of the National Employers’ Association of SA: ‘The National Minimum Wage Commission ignored the input of numerous business institutions and trade unions who warned of the dire consequences of implementing further increases, the calls for the scrapping of the National Minimum Wage, and simply proceeded with recommending the implementation of its own original proposals. The manner in which the NMWC reached its conclusion, once again, illustrates the futility of the public participation process leading up to their eventual recommendation.’

The National Minimum Wage Act does make provision for an employer or employer organisation acting on behalf of its members to apply to the Department of Employment and Labour for exemption from the NMW. This is a loophole that may yield some relief for hard-pressed employers who can demonstrate that their businesses simply can’t afford the current minimum wage, but the admin involved will be daunting.

Bell Equipment appoints Ashley Bell as new CEO

Bell Equipment’s new CEO, Ashley Bell.

Bell Equipment has appointed Ashley Jon Bell (41), grandson of the company's founder Irvine Bell, as the new Group Chief Executive Officer effective from 1 January 2024.

This follows the resignation in July of the outgoing Group CEO, Leon Goosen, who leaves the company after 16 years of service, five and a half spent as Group CEO.

Ashley is well acquainted with the company having served as a non-executive director on the Board since 2015 and has provided valuable input as a member of the Board’s Risk and Sustainability and Social, Ethics, and Transformation committees.

A qualified commercial helicopter pilot, Ashley holds a degree in business management and has previously worked for Bell Equipment after graduating in 2007 assisting with product marketing management of the Bell Articulated Dump Truck and Backhoe Loader ranges. Since then, he has jointly established and managed several successful businesses in various industries.

He co-founded Matriarch Equipment with his brother, Justin Bell in 2009. The company focused on developing innovative equipment - including the Matriarch Fastfell and Skogger - for a wide spectrum of industries and enjoyed notable success in agriculture and forestry due to its ‘customer-centric’ approach and quick turnaround of niche solutions. Bell acquired Matriarch in 2019 as part of its strategy to revitalise its presence in the agriculture and forestry industries and Matriarch products now fall under the Bell brand.

Ashley Bell introduces the Matriarch Skogger to foresters at a Focus on Forestry field day in 2017. It was developed under the Matriarch banner by Ashley and his brother Justin Bell, and is now manufactured and distributed by Bell Equipment.

Gary Bell, non-executive chairman of Bell Equipment, congratulated Ashley on his appointment. “Ashley joins a sizeable team representing the third generation of the Bell family actively engaged in the business and it’s heartening to see the next generation stepping up to play an integral role in the future of the company. Having worked closely with Ashley for several years he has all the personality traits and credentials we need, is well aligned with the Board’s strategy, and is a good fit to lead our experienced management team. I have every confidence that he will build on our family legacy with dedication and a passion for the business. On behalf of the rest of the Board, we congratulate Ashley on his appointment and look forward to working with him in his new role and contributing significantly to our continued success and growth."

Ashley Bell said: “I am fortunate to have grown up in an environment where Bell Equipment has been a central theme, and I am both honoured and excited to step up as Group CEO. I look forward to working with the entire Bell team, supported by our customers and suppliers, to ensure we execute our group strategy and make a positive impact for all stakeholders. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Board for the trust and confidence they have shown in me taking on this role.”

NMU students representing Africa at international conference

(Left to right): Ronewa Sathuma and Avelile Cishe (NMU), and Irene Mathabela (DFFE Representative) at the International Forestry Students’ Symposium in Chile.

Two Forestry and Wood Technology students from Nelson Mandela University (George Campus) recently attended the 50th International Forestry Student's Symposium in Chile. This is one of the world's most prestigious forestry student events. The main aim of the event was to learn about forestry and the management of natural resources of Chile, with specific focus on the sustainability of the forest sector. Furthermore, the event was aimed at networking and exchanging ideas among different delegates from all over the world.

Delegates from over 30 countries including Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Estonia, United Kingdom, Canada, Finland and Slovakia attended the event. NMU forestry students Avelile Cishe and Ronewa Sathuma represented South African and African students at the conference. This was made possible by funding assistance from the Nelson Mandela University, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental (DFFE), South African Forestry Contractors Association (SAFCA), Hans Merensky, and Forestry South Africa (FSA).

Some of the topics that were discussed in the congress included the future of forestry in the world, climate adaptation strategies, forest certification systems, wood science and wood products in support of the green economy, climate-smart forest technologies, forest trade and governance, water quality, and higher education policy and development. These topics are of significant value to the South African forestry industry.

"The South African forestry industry plays a positive role in the climate debate and other global environmental concerns like that of water quality and soil degradation," said Avelile, President of the NMU Forestry Students Association, who gave a presentation at the conference about the role of forestry in solving major environmental threats.

Participating in a tree planting event at the IFSA symposium.
IFSA Symposium delegates got together for a group photo.
Avelile Cishe with the full Symposium programme.

NCT’s Top Tree Farmers of the Year

NCT’s Top Tree Farmers for 2022: Zodwa Bhengu (left) in the Small-Scale Grower category, and Gudrun and Rudolf Johannes in the Commercial Grower category.

NCT Forestry’s Tree Farmers of the Year for 2022 are Gudrun and Rudolf Johannes of Vryheid (Commercial Grower category), and Zodwa Bhengu of Matimatolo (Small-Scale Grower category).

The candidates for these prestigious awards are nominated by NCT staff, and are assessed against sustainable plantation management principles. This year’s winners were announced at the NCT AGM in July, and received brand new chainsaws sponsored by STIHL and PMB Power Products as rewards for their forestry excellence. 

Zodwa Bhengu grows a small block of wattle close to her homestead in the Matimatolo tribal area near Greytown in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. She has been associated with NCT for over 20 years since she and her late husband Isaac started a forestry contracting business transporting timber and bark for other small-scale growers like themselves.

Wattle has proved to be an ideal crop for people living around Matimatolo, including the Bhengus, as growing conditions are good and the markets for both timber and fresh bark are located close by. Timber is marketed through NCT while the wattle bark is sold to NTE which operates a bark factory at Hermannsburg.

Proud wattle grower Zodwa Bhengu (centre) in front of her woodlot in Matimatolo, with Cliff Walton of NCT (left) and Eza Mapipa of NTE, during a Project Wattle Regen field day.

In 2018 NCT and NTE joined forces to launch Project Wattle Regen, a joint venture initiative focused on the growing of wattle which is a popular tree crop in the Greytown/KransKop area. The primary aim of the initiative is to promote sustainable forestry in co-operation with small-scale wattle growers, to increase managed hectares of wattle plantations and thereby facilitate the development of the small growers to optimize their business potential and management.

Zodwa Bhengu was one of the first local growers to join Project Wattle Regen, and she has taken full advantage of the opportunities to improve and grow her timber related businesses. She has also played an active role in sharing ideas and expertise with other programme participants at workshops and field days.

Zodwa’s 0.6 ha wattle block has been fully fenced to keep out browsing animals, and she has diverted surface run-off water into her block to improve soil moisture. Currently four years old, her plantation is immaculately maintained with no competing weeds in sight. It is kept clean both inside the compartment and around the perimeter to reduce the fire risks.

A concrete block making operation at her homestead and a taxi business is further proof of Zodwa’s never-say-die entrepreneurial spirit.

Concrete block operation at Mrs Bhengu’s homestead in Matimatolo attests to her entrepreneurial spirit. Her well maintained wattle woodlot can be seen in the background.

Commercial forestry operation
Gudrun and Rudolf Johannes’ agriculture and forestry business started in 1993, managing a family-owned 750ha smallholding in the Dumbe area of KwaZulu-Natal. Soon thereafter they started their own harvesting contracting business, and a few years later acquired their own 630ha farm, also in the Dumbe district.

Today they manage over 2 000ha of farming land, almost half of which is used for forestry, including gum, wattle and pine.

All forestry operations are performed by their own staff except for the harvesting business which was handed over to a long serving employee.

The farms employ a total of 70 local people, with 30 permanently employed for own operations and 40 allocated to outsourced operations.

The harvested timber is marketed through NCT and Paulpietersburg Timbers. Wattle bark is sold to NTE which has a bark factory close by.

Silviculture on the farms is of a high standard with careful attention to matching the right species to the site and the market requirements.

Harvesting operations are manual, using labour to fell, de-bark and cross-cut the timber.

Gum harvesting on the Johannes’ timber farm.

The Johannes’ utilise everything including the plantation residue and even the tree stumps to manufacture charcoal in their own kilns, which is marketed through Ignite charcoal. The stumps are harvested by a contractor who uses a locally manufactured stump clipper which cuts off the stumps cleanly at ground level.

Only minimal harvesting residue is left behind in brushlines after all the usable material has been collected. These brushlines are reduced further using cool burns after rainfall events, leaving a light residue layer behind to protect the soil.

The open areas on the farms are all under maintenance phase, wetland and riparian areas have been delineated, wattle jungle and weed patches have been cleaned and rehabilitated and natural corridors between open areas have been established to promote and support biodiversity.

A healthy open corridor on the Johannes’ timber estate promotes biodiversity.

The Johannes’ contribute to local communities and have created temporary employment for local people to maintain municipal district roads and rail servitudes.

According to the NCT team that adjudicates the Top Tree Farmer awards: ‘Rudolf and Gudrun Johannes have built up a successful forestry business through hard work and an acumen for identifying opportunities. Diversification has been an important strategy in achieving this success. They have done this with a commendable social and environmental conscience.’

Hamba Kahle Daniel

It is with great sadness that the Kwamahlati Training Services team reports the passing of one of their key members, Themba Daniel Mlindazwe. Daniel passed away after being involved in a car accident on Sunday 3rd July. He was hospitalised, but his injuries were too great resulting in his passing on Friday 8th July.

Daniel formally started work with Ashley Diack at Kwamahlati Training Services in May 2006, and had 17 years of unbroken service with the company.

“Daniel was a man of exceptional training talent. He was well liked by trainees and our trainers for his exceptional training skills and ability to impart his knowledge in a meaningful and practical way,” commented Kwamahlathi’s current MD, James Ballantyne.

“Many clients specifically asked for Daniel to do the training, such was his reputation,” added James.

Many of the supervisors and foremen in the industry have been taught by Daniel, and he will be sorely missed by all.

“Daniel was a very private person and was deeply religious, and we wish him ‘God speed’. We also wish his family our deepest condolences and know that Daniel has been called to a higher order by his Maker,” said James.

Commented Ashley Diack, Kwamahlati founder: “Our relationship with Daniel goes back to early 2006, when we first began talking about starting the business. Realising that we would need a team of skilled and knowledgeable people, we decided to approach Daniel Mlindazwe, who at the time was working for S.O.S. Contractors, and was well known and respected for his experience in forestry.

“Being the cautious and loyal person that he was, Daniel was initially very reluctant to consider changing his job to join a brand new business – but we finally convinced him that it was a good opportunity to further his career.

“Fortunately for us Daniel's boss at the time, Sean O'Sullivan, did not stand in his way, realising that this was an opportunity for Daniel, and so they parted on very good terms. Right from the beginning, Daniel showed his enthusiasm and dedication for helping to grow Kwamahlati, and to becoming well known and respected among all our customers. It was quite difficult at times, when we received a request to conduct a training course, and the customer insisted that they only wanted Daniel Mlindazwe to carry out the training!

“He was not only a crucial part of the Kwamahlati team, but also a voice of wisdom whenever there were difficult decisions to be made,” added Ashley.

Messages of support also came from long-time friend and colleague Michael Hlengwa, Pam Naidoo from SAFCA and Baba Duma from SOS Contractors.

STIHL bounces back

It’s a month since the unrest that saw the STIHL SA head office and its warehouse in Pietermaritzburg being totally destroyed, with the loss of 100% of the stock. Dealers in Durban, Greytown, Empangeni, Pinetown and Howick were also looted. However, plans were almost immediately set in place to get stock back into the country as quickly as possible, and the affected dealers ‘made a plan’ to get back up and running again. It’s been a tough few weeks but the good news is that STIHL has received delivery of over 90 tons of stock via airfreight, with more to come through within the next few days. STIHL had to integrate its systems with those of the new third party logistics partner, which required extensive testing. The first test orders were received by dealers last week and the company is gradually ramping up the dispatch of orders to its dealers.

This is positive news, after the stories of loss and destruction that some dealers have to tell…

John Bulteel of Modern Mowers in Springfield Park, Durban, a particularly hard-hit area, says the fact that they deal in larger, less portable products such as tractors, lawnmowers and golf cars in addition to more portable items meant that they didn’t lose everything in the violence and looting. He is also relieved that the premises were not burned. “They came through the main gate and roller shutter doors and we believe that they were busy for an extended period of time. We lost the portable stock and also two vehicles that were driven straight through the roller doors.”

The shop was closed for the entire week of the unrest but cleaning up began the following Monday and the shop was operational the next day. It took time to replace the smashed glass, the rammed access gates, roller doors and damaged computers, as well as restocking, so Monday 2 August was the first truly ‘back-to-normal’ day.

Craig Bishop of National Power & Plant in Pinetown, a STIHL exclusive dealer, had put almost 80% of his stock out on the floor on the Friday before the unrest broke out to shoot a promotional video. “We lost 45 STIHL machines: backpack blowers, brush cutters, chainsaws,” he says. “Luckily they were not able to get into the storage area - they were probably disturbed.”

Craig and his team were back at work the Monday after the unrest, and despite the devastating losses and damage, they were kept busy rebuilding second-hand machines from scrapped stock. “Our workshop was busier than ever, especially after I posted a video on Facebook, and luckily we could still do servicing. We also still had items such as oils etc to sell, and had stock of STIHL FS 160 and FS 280 models, which are our bread and butter lines.”

Craig is upbeat despite the situation. “We have been dedicated STIHL exclusive dealers since 1996 and remain firm STIHL supporters. I’m extremely impressed at how quickly STIHL has been able to put a solution together and it has given us the confidence to remain exclusive dealers and not panic and look for alternative brands.”

Chris Odell of Midlands Power Equipment in Howick, a small town badly hit by the unrest, was also spared a 100% loss of stock as the looters did not gain access to his storeroom.

There was a similar situation at Haig’s Mower and Chainsaw Centre in Empangeni, where Len Liversage says he feels fortunate that the looters were not able - despite two attempts - to get to where most of the stock was kept. “They took everything that was displayed - it was terrible to watch women and young girls acting like crazed animals. Our chap from armed response stopped them eventually after they’d gained access by ripping out a window and its frame (the burglar bars were riveted inside) and smashed the exterior security camera. He calmed them down and asked them to leave, saying there was nothing left to steal. They did try again later, breaking into another section of the dealership, but again did not manage to get to the storeroom. They also left the office and the computers alone.” The store has been open for 50 years, Len has been there for 48, and the building will need extensive repairs. But Len is determined to bounce back.

Umgeni Lawnmowers in Springfield Park was not so lucky. According to owner Dirk Illing, “There was not a room they didn’t get into. What they didn’t take they destroyed. Even the lever arch files were stamped on and broken.”

On Monday 12 July, Dirk was contacted by Marshall Security to inform him that the business was being looted. Despite being advised to stay away from a ‘dangerously volatile’ situation, he drove first to the security company headquarters and then to the Durban North police station before heading home. He was finally able to visit his dealership on the afternoon of 14 July.

“The Massey Fergusson tractor parked outside our front roller door had been tampered with but clearly the looters were not able to start it. The roller shutter door had been prised open and was raised by 500mm. I crawled under it and was confronted with mayhem,” he says. “The entire stock of power products was gone. There was not a single unit left. No Stihl brush cutters, no Stihl chainsaws, no lawnmowers, no generators, no water pumps, no Stihl mist-blowers - nothing in the form of a power product. The lower workshop was also mayhem, with a few jobs in transit still there. All our tools were missing including the workshop compressor, drill press, stand-by generator, bench grinder, ride-on hoist.” It looked as if a forklift fork had been used to remove the extremely stout workshop window burglar bars.
The work computers were all gone, along with the till and printer. The office safe had been opened and R16 000 was missing. Dirk estimates that about 50 % of the spares stock and all the power tools were taken from the main storeroom. The room adjacent to this is where special tools are kept - “nothing was left except leg guards”. In the brush cutter repair workshop, almost all of the customer units were missing, as well as all the work spanners and power tools. Even machines in for repairs were taken.

The looters had also stripped the kitchen area, taking everything, even the tap and mixer! The gents’ toilet was pulled away from the wall and smashed; the lower workshop was used as a toilet and left in a filthy state.

Despite the devastation, Dirk refuses to throw in the towel. “We’re not running from this. We are reasonably well insured and we will forge ahead. I have been buoyed up by my customers, who have come in to the shop to personally give us promises of support.”

Hayden Hutton, managing director of Andreas STIHL (Pty) Ltd says, “Whilst poor South Africans remain the biggest victims of the recent unrest, STIHL and its dealers also suffered significant losses. The STIHL warehouse in Pietermaritzburg was looted and then burnt to the ground, resulting in an interrupted supply of our products that support customers in the forestry, landscaping, and municipal markets, which include many emerging contractors and businesses. But it’s the individual stories of loss and of staff being afraid of losing their jobs that were so distressing. These are people who are as passionate about our brand as we are, and we could not let them down.”

With support from STIHL head office in Germany, the company quickly put into effect an emergency plan to get spares and products to the country from STIHL factories around the world. STIHL head office staff members moved to new premises and STIHL secured a short term warehousing and distribution solution in anticipation of receiving the tons of airfreight as well as containers via sea.

Don’t buy stolen goods
STIHL is appealing to those who see STIHL products advertised online, especially at suspiciously low prices, to be careful of buying stolen property and to check the product serial number at to see if products are stolen or are legitimately owned. Always ask for proof of ownership such as a receipt or warranty before buying second-hand goods is the advice.

“The devastation during the unrest is really heartbreaking,” said Hayden. “It is clear that South Africa needs a social compact, to ensure that this never happens again. This means not only ensuring economic opportunity for the poor, but it’s also apparent that we need a moral regeneration, especially when considering the instances of ‘wealthy’ South Africans who took part in the looting. It is heartening to see that many culprits were ‘named and shamed’ via social media, some have already appeared in court, and in some places, stolen goods have been handed in to the police by the community. The country’s commercial sector can rebuild these businesses, but they can only survive and thrive if the government and society work together.”

STIHL pledges support for subsidiary in South Africa

Safety of staff is the company’s top priority as STIHL pledges to rebuild buildings damaged by looters during the recent unrest in South Africa, retain staff and support dealers ...

“For us as a family-owned company, the protection and safety of our employees is our top priority” says Dr Nikolas Stihl, Chairman of the STIHL Advisory Board and Supervisory Board. “We are shocked and appalled by the images coming out of South Africa. Parts of the country have been affected by severe rioting, violence and looting. The region in and around Durban has also been affected – as has our South African subsidiary ANDREAS STIHL Ltd. in Pietermaritzburg. We are pleased that all of the employees and their families are unharmed.”

The STIHL SA warehouse in Pietermaritzburg has been completely destroyed and its office building severely damaged as a result of the unrest and looting. STIHL headquarters in Germany has set up a crisis team to organise measures for the protection and well-being of the subsidiary’s roughly 40 employees in cooperation with Hayden Hutton, the Managing Director of STIHL South Africa.

Commitment to South Africa reaffirmed: STIHL guarantees jobs and supports dealers
“Our subsidiary in South Africa will continue to exist going forward. No employees will lose their jobs due to this unusual situation. On the contrary, we will rebuild STIHL South Africa. To do so, we need the expertise and dedication of our staff. We will make sure that our customers can continue to buy and use STIHL products in the future,” said Dr Stihl.

The STIHL subsidiary in South Africa supplies local dealers with products. The company has also pledged to help dealers. Right now, it is working on ways to supply dealers with its products in the short to medium term. Containers are being shipped to the country, with plans in place to also send equipment to South Africa by air.

The STIHL Group develops, manufactures, and distributes outdoor power equipment for forestry, agriculture, landscaping and construction sectors.