North West Premier, Prof Tebogo Job Mokgoro, has dispatched a team to meet the management of Clover in an effort to halt the looming relocation of the company to Durban and save jobs. The team, led by the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono, visited the factory.
Clover recently announced that it intends to close down its plant in Lichtenburg under Ditsobotla Local Municipality, citing disruptions in their operations caused by poor water and electricity supply.
The company also indicated that the poor road infrastructure has increased their operational costs tremendously and this has affected their suppliers.
400 employees affected
Clover employs about 380 permanent employees and about 40 temporary employees. It further employs about 20 general workers, 20 truck drivers and truck cleaners, and other employment opportunities emanate from the enterprise development programme such as sub-contracting.
The Premier said the municipality cannot afford to allow Clover to close and relocate its operations, as this will have devastating effects on over 300 families.
“Government depends on private companies that invest in our towns to create jobs. The closure of Clover will have a negative economic impact on the Ditsobotla Local Municipality. We are going to do everything in our power to save the over 300 jobs,” Mokgoro said.
When Mohono met the operational team, she was advised to engage the management at head office in Roodepoort.
The MEC and the intervention team that comprises two other MECs, head of department and municipal managers, will engage the Clover management as soon as possible to understand issues at hand and find an amicable solution to the current situation.
Admission of neglect
“Our responsibility as government at any sphere remains to create a conducive environment for businesses to flourish. I must say in this instance, we have neglected this key responsibility, hence Clover intends to close shop in the municipality. We need to find ourselves and meet the needs of businesses if we are to grow our local economies and create more jobs,” Mokgoro said.
Clover processes about 350,000 litres of milk daily.
“About 250,000 litres of milk is sourced from KwaZulu-Natal and about 100,000 litres of milk is sourced from the North West. The closure of the plant will ultimately have an impact on local farmers,” the provincial government said.