Throwback Thursday: From pioneering board to centenary board

(adapted from Time cultivates winners. Senwes a century of agriculture by Elize van Eeden) 
A moment in History 

The role and function of the Senwes board has constantly been a visionary and directive one. It fulfilled a strong executive function in the early days, due to, inter alia, a limited personnel corps. During certain periods of time over the past 100 years, it did happen that the board had to take over control of the day to day management of the enterprise, in order to steer the business towards clamber waters.

During company forming in 1997 the cooperative ward based the electoral system made way for a more balanced board, which also included the appointment of external of external directors with specific expertise. While famer-directors previously primarily focused on the affairs of their ward and its members, the focus was now directed towards e shared interest of the company and its stakeholders.

The first board of directors; 1909

The first seven directors that were elected by the secret ballot for “De Centraal Westelijke Co-operatiewe Landbou Vereniging” were William Campbell (also the first chariman elected for Senwes), Andries Petrus Johannes Cronje, Frans Hermanus Stephanus Vermaas (Sr.) as vice-chairman of Senwes, Daniel Petrus Kirstein, Jan Lubbe, Robert Johannes Jooster and Ockert Jonathan Botha (Sr.). 

From the beginning, each of the directors was charged with various duties. For example, omne regularly had to liaise with the Central Agency in Johannesburg as the marketing arm of cooperative associations, while another director had to report with regard to the functioning of stores.  From the minutes of at least the first years, one realises that the board of directors sometimes had to travel to address members or prospective members everywhere on farms.

From the minutes, it is remarkable that core discussions of the Senwes directors dealt with loans at banks to be able to function and develop.  The obtaining of loans for the erection of buildings, stores and the granting of an advance to ‘co-operative” members were other two other important matters that were discussed as priorities at the first directors’ meeting. 

The 100-YEAR Board

In the year in which Senwes celebrates its centenary, the current board of directors is at the crest of affairs with the vision of the most admired agri-business in South Africa. From the turn-around process in 2000, Senwes has come to the level of being a listed entity in many respects.  Its has been the most profitable year in the history of the organisation, with a record turnover of R11,2 billion and sturdy profit of R368 million that was realised.