Family, country, and community’: Giving something back in South Africa

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Milaan Thalwitzer - Non-executive Chairman, The Bosveld Group, Citrus fruit producers, South Africa

One of the family firm’s great strengths is its rootedness in its community. We’ve interviewed companies for this survey in the past that have been going for over fifty years and have worked with the same suppliers all that time.

Many family firms turn these relationships into a unique competitive advantage, and take pride in the positive role they play in creating local employment, and supporting local communities.  The Bosveld Group, of South Africa, is a great example.

Milaan Thalwitzer - Non-executive Chairman, The Bosveld Group

Milaan Thalwitzer - Non-executive Chairman, The Bosveld Group

The company was founded in the 1960s, and is now South Africa's largest private citrus fruit producer, exporting 5.5 million boxes of fruit to 50 countries across the world.  Milaan Thalwitzer, is the current non-executive chairman, and three of his sons-in-law hold management roles, with one as CEO. Milaan was named National Farmer of the year in 2014, in recognition of the company’s commitment to land reform, and making the black empowerment agenda a reality. Bosveld committed to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (or BBBEE) thirteen years ago, and is now involved in a number of pilot projects in which the company leases land from black communities on long-term contracts, and then pays rent from the proceeds of the fruit growing business. Training for local people is built into the scheme, so that the owners of the land get a chance to work on it too. “If we can get this right, it should be a win-win for everyone. Land reform is a complex and sometimes divisive issue here, but we can find a way forward if the farmers themselves play an active part in finding the answers.”

Members of the Bosveld Group team, South Africa

Members of the Bosveld Group team, South Africa

Bosveld is committed to South Africa, because the family has always been committed to South Africa: “When people ask me why we’ve been so successful I say it’s down to three things: keeping pace with change, seizing new opportunities, and our commitment to this country. In the next five years our plan is to make the most of the energy the next generation are bringing to the business, and empower our local communities so we make a positive and sustainable impact. We have no plans to diversify our fruit production internationally. South Africa is a land full of potential and we must first invest in our own future and the future of our people.” 

And how does Milaan want to be remembered? “As someone who was lucky enough to combine his greatest passions: my love for my family, country and community, and my love for farming.”

Contact us

Peter Bartels

Global Entrepreneurial & Private Business Leader, Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 40 6378-2170

Peter Englisch

Global Family Business and EMEA Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 201 438 1812

Siew Quan Ng

Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Clients, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 6236 3818

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