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BKB cuts ties with Konsortium

Soon after the first Konsortium farmers’ wool was delivered to Segard Masurel (SM), BKB announced that it was no longer prepared to be the agent for the Konsortium sale on Dombietersfontein, Victoria West.

Mr Braam Coetzee, CEO of Konsortium, expressed his disappointment with BKB’s drastic decision. “Since our inception, we have worked with BKB and their sheep advisors. It is a pity that they have taken such drastic measures. Their sheep advisors will always be welcome at our sale.”

Konsortium-Merino’s two annual sales, presided over by BKB for years, are the largest Merino sales in the country. At a meeting on 25 May, Mr Jacobus le Roux, BKB’s fibre manager, informed Coetzee that his company would no longer be holding the Konsortium-Merino sale.

Coetzee says that the main reasons given him by BKB were that they cannot fulfil the Konsortium director, Gawie van Heerden’s expectations as a shareholder, that they are not prepared to put up with the fact that Konsortium is canvassing their personnel; and that it does not like the idea of collective bargaining.

Le Roux told Landbou Weekblad that BKB’s actions were aimed exclusively at Van Heerden. “Our business dealings with Van Heerden have been severed; therefore we can no longer manage his auction. It’s not about any other name or business, only Gawie.” The other Konsortium members are still valued clients of BKB, he added.

Van Heerden has always been the driving force behind Konsortium-Merino. The group strives towards the marketing of Konsortium wool and meat under its brand, and to collectively negotiate lower costs for its members.

Le Roux says that BKB cannot offer differentiated tariffs to clients, as requested by Konsortium. According to him, reasons for the BKB decision are the delivery of Konsortium wool to a competitor (this is with reference to the preferential offer made by Segard Masurel to Konsortium clients and the combined auctions they now have with SBL) and the alleged poaching of BKB field service personnel by Van Heerden.

Coetzee says that Cobus Vivier is the only former BKB sheep and wool advisor in Konsortium’s employ. He came on board in 2007 with the prior knowledge of BKB. “In the last two years, not a single BKB employee has been canvassed for Konsortium. We rather want to appoint farmers as mentors.”

On 1 May SM made a preferential offer for Konsortium wool. The one option is the direct delivery of certain types for processing at their mill in Uitenhage. The alternative is the Segard auction system held in Port Elizabeth every second week. The first Konsortium wool to benefit from this offer was delivered to SM on 20 May.

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