Africa-Press – South-Africa. Cape Town – More than 1 300 workers in the Western Cape’s wine tourism industry are eligible to apply for their share of a R12 million relief fund, but must have their claims in by December 15 to be considered, according to Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer.
The wine tourism worker support stipend will offer support to wine tourism workers who are defined as wine and food service employees permanently employed in winery tasting rooms across the province.
Meyer said: “The wine industry and its workers were negatively impacted by the regulations. Our contribution goes towards alleviating the impact the loss of income has had on the wine tourism industry and its workers.
“Funded by the provincial Department of agriculture, the stipend of R3 000 will be allocated per person per month for three consecutive months, the peak tourism months of December 2020, and January and February 2021, to mitigate projected job losses,” said Meyer.
“We are confident that this contribution will bring relief and dignity to workers within the wine agri-tourism industry.”
The head of agriculture, Mogale Sebopetsa, said: “Our support and contribution will enable the sector to restore jobs that had been lost during the pandemic, thereby positioning the agricultural sector in playing a significant role in the economic recovery of the province.”
Vinpro’s wine tourism manager, Marisah Nieuwoudt, said: “The South African wine industry, and specifically wine tourism, is without a doubt the agricultural sector hardest hit by Covid-19 restrictions.
“We are truly grateful to MEC Meyer and his team for their support of the South African wine industry, and the wine tourism sector in particular, by securing this funding for our employees,” said Nieuwoudt.
According to the regulations governing the stipend: “Each winery may claim for a maximum of 10 employees to give as many wineries access to the fund as possible, and all wineries, including but not limited to Vinpro members, may apply. Wineries are to apply on behalf of their existing permanent employees and all payments will be made directly to the wineries at the end of the three-month period.”
Departmental spokesperson Mary James said: “Applications opened on November 16, and after the closing date a screening process will take place in January 2021, and successful wineries will receive confirmation in February 2021.”