From Robben Island to Somerset

A vision for future economic development in the Somerset region

The business breakfast hosted by the Somerset Region Business Alliance at Cormorant Bay Cafe on Tuesday was a great opportunity to get a glimpse into Somerset’s Future.

Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct Pty Ltd (BVPP) is preparing a Development Application for a multi-million-dollar master planned protein production hub on more than 1100 hectares at Coominya in the Brisbane Valley.

BVPP is a family-owned company, stretching back through four generations of farmers in the region. It recently attracted a project partner in South African-based investment house Safika Holdings, which is a significant minority shareholder in BVPP.

The Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct site is designated as the Coominya Food Production Investigation Area under Somerset Regional Council’s Strategic Framework and BVPP Director Duncan Brown told the audience of local business people that plans were well advanced to lodge a Development Application for the project in mid-2016.

“This will be a staged development that includes intensive livestock production with poultry, game birds and beef, processing, training, research and hospitality facilities,” Mr Brown said.

“The Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct will be the first dedicated protein production hub in Australia, with on-site training and R&D facilities, and will deliver on State and local government visions for a strategic food production area at Coominya.

“It will provide jobs for Queenslanders by putting food on the plates of emerging middle classes in Asia and beyond.”

Mr Brown said BVPP was committed to local buy policies for staffing and procurement in support of Somerset Regional Council’s Economic Development Plan 2015-2020.

Executives from Safika Holdings visited the Coominya site and spoke at a Somerset Regional Business Alliance breakfast today.

“BVVP is the first Australian agricultural investment for Safika and demonstrates the new international capital that innovative projects like ours can bring to Queensland,” Duncan Brown said.

Senior executives Sakumzi “Saki” Macozoma and Moss Ngoasheng from South African-based investment house Safika Holdings gave inspirational presentations to the meeting (see 45-minute video).

Founded in 1995, Safika Holdings Pty Limited is an influential South African investment holding company headed by two of Nelson Mandela’s former fellow political prisoners Sakumzi ‘Saki’ Macozoma and Moss Ngoasheng.

In 2003, when the South African government decreed that major businesses must ensure a certain percentage of their shareholding be held by black people, Safika became the preferred Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partner for a number of prominent South African companies. Their head office is in Johannesburg.

Sakumzi “Saki” Macozoma

Sakumzi Justice Macozoma (Saki) (born 1957) is a South African former political prisoner who served 5 years alongside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. He is now one of South Africa’s most prominent businessman and a leader in civil society.

In 1996 Saki Macozoma was recognized as a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum. Two decades later and Mr Macozoma, now 58, is one of South Africa’s most prominent business figures.

Saki Macozoma is chairman of Safika Holdings, an international investment house based in Johannesburg.  Safika is expanding into Australia, Singapore, China and Pacific Rim countries, where it holds interests in finance, education, agriculture, aerospace and communications.

Saki Macozoma is president of Business Leadership South Africa and serves in the 50-person International Business Advisory Council (IBAC) of the B20.

His previous roles include as chief executive of New Africa Investments Limited, managing director of Transnet and chairman of the South African Presidential Business Working Group

Moss Ngoasheng

Moss Ngoasheng also served eight years as a political prisoner alongside Nelson Mandela. Born to an impoverished rural family in the arid northern reaches of South Africa, Ngoasheng (pronounced in-gwa-sheng) has been an anti-apartheid activist, an underground guerrilla, a political prisoner, a Marxist academic and until June 2000, President Thabo Mbeki’s influential economics adviser.

He is currently Safika Holdings’s chief executive and one of South Africa’s most distinguished businessmen.

A former economic advisor to South African presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, Moss Ngoasheng is chairman of SABSA holdings, a subsidiary of SABMiller, and director of Wingate Group Holdings and Business Leadership South Africa.

Moss Ngoasheng is a former consultant to the World Bank and National Housing Forum (South Africa) on aspects of economic policy. He has lectured on sociology at the University of Natal and was a director in the Department of Economic History at the University of Cape Town.

Moss Ngoasheng articulated the investment philosophy of Safika Holdings as one in which they take  a long term view by entering into partnerships with people, not businesses, but they especially favour family businesses as they have a very strong connection with the community and with the area in which they operate.

They see their investment in the Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct in social as well as economic terms.

It will be a partnership with the Brown family that also benefits the wider community.

When this project gets off the ground it will be a great boost to Somerset’s economy, providing jobs and training for local residents and especially our young people.