Witvlei Meat fights back

15 Jan 2014 18:10pm
WITVLEI, 15 JAN (NAMPA) - Witvlei Meat on Wednesday set the stage for a fierce legal showdown after it made it clear during a public meeting here that it will take the fight to its main competitor, Meatco and other role players for “their attempts to put it out of business”.
The company’s Managing Director, Hendri Badenhorst said the company will take the legal route by lodging another interdict with the High Court to prevent Government from implementing a bidding process for the Norway beef quota for 2014.
Witvlei Meat is of the opinion that the bidding process could result in the financial ruin of the business.
The company last year lost its initial application for an interdict with the High Court for the same purpose, albeit on technical grounds.
In its affidavit to the court during the initial interdict application, Witvlei Meat made it clear that it is financially not in a position to export a smaller quota of meat to Norway.
The company, has for the past few years, exported the 1 600 tonnes of meat to Norway on a 50:50 basis with the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco).
As the merits of the case were never heard during the initial court interdict application, Badenhorst believes the application could be successful if such merits are considered this time around.
Government has introduced the bidding system, based on certain criteria, to accommodate a third role player, Brukarros Meat Processors, which would eventually bring an end to the 50:50 export allocations between Witvlei and Meatco.
The current allocations have seen Meatco enjoying the lion’s share of the quota with 1 200 tonnes, leaving 300 tonnes to Witvlei Meat. The new entrant into the market, Brukarros Meat Processors was allocated 100 tonnes.
A clearly agitated Witvlei Meat chairperson Sydney Martin tore into Meatco and Government, saying the two parties were unfairly taking away what the company has built on its own over the past few years since its inception.
Martin made the statement in reference to the Norwegian market, which he claimed was initiated and developed by Witvlei Meat without the assistance of either Government or Meatco.
“We will not stand by and watch what we have built all these years simply crumble to the ground. We are not here to take the easy way out. We will fight this with all we have,” he said.
A total of N.dollars 22,7 million have been invested in Witvlei Meat to date, of which N.dollars 6,3 million were injected by Sydney Martin through a trust.
The company has however struggled throughout the years to record profits, its highest loss standing at a staggering N.dollars 10,8 million during 2010 when the company received no quota.
The wheels of fortune however slowly started to turn in favour of Witvlei Meat after 2010, resulting in N.dollars 1,7 million and N.dollars 3 million profits for 2011 and 2013 respectively.