SA firm accused of buying ‘blood mohair’

SA firm accused of buying ‘blood mohair’

MASERU – THE Lesotho Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LWMGA) has accused a South African company of buying “blood mohair” after the firm purchased the mohair outside the normal auction system.
In a letter to the South African Wool and Mohair Buyers Association (SAWAMBA), the LWMGA voiced dissatisfaction and betrayal over South African company Stucken and Company (Pty) Ltd’s actions.

The association accused the company of buying the mohair for “peanuts”.
“I write to you to declare Stucken and Company (Pty) Ltd to SAWAMBA, the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) members and the entire world as a company that bought the blood mohair from Lesotho,” wrote LWMGA chairman Mokoenihi Thinyane.

Thinyane said farmers felt betrayed and enraged that even after extensive discussions with SAWAMBA chairman Anthony Kristen about possible ways to buy or sell Lesotho mohair in the midst of the controversial Agricultural Marketing Products Regulations of 2018, Stucken still bought mohair in a sale not beneficial to farmers.

Farmers in January met Kristen, who was worried that the Regulations of 2018 banning the exportation of wool and mohair had put his company’s operations in jeopardy, he said.
“In that meeting … we did not only sympathise with you but humbly requested you as the chairman of SAWAMBA, and having made good contact with the Ministry of Small Business to organise the Wool Exchange to arrange an auction in Lesotho,” Thinyane said.

Contents of the letter showed that even though farmers were sympathetic to Kristen’s situation and tried to come up with a solution, Kristen is said to have insisted on buying mohair for a blanket price of M60.00 or M40.00 a kg, a situation that “we further rejected and even resulted in souring our meeting”.

Two weeks ago, thepost revealed how Stucken, whose Managing Director is Kristen, bought Lesotho mohair for “dirty, cheap” prices of between M60 and M118 per kg.
Figures indicate that Stucken and Company is paying between M280 and M500 for a kg of mohair at auction floors in South Africa.
thepost had seen documents showing that on April 5, Stucken and Company imported 113 bales weighing 16 696 kgs from the Wool Centre. It paid the centre M1 971 240, which translates to about M118 per kg.

Documents seen by thepost also showed that Stucken got an import permit to take 150 000kgs of mohair from Lesotho a few weeks after farmers convinced him not to buy mohair outside an auction system for peanuts.
Meanwhile, on July 4 last year, Kristen, as the chairman of SAWAMBA, wrote to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane expressing concern over the 2018 Regulations.

In the letter, Kristen indicated that fragmenting the selling of wool and mohair (as has been proposed in Lesotho) would only result in higher costs and therefore lower net returns to growers.
“Given the scarcity of specialist wool and mohair buying skills combined with the existing programme of regular auctions in South Africa, it is highly unlikely that all (or even any) SAWAMBA buyers would be able to attend a duplicate auction system in Lesotho,” wrote Kristen.

Lemohang Rakotsoane


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