Gamtoos Irrigation Board News

Khaya Katoo

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Khaya Katoo

Die nuutste raadslid op die Gamtoos Besproeiingsraad is die elektriese ingenieur wat boer geword het, Khaya Katoo.
Die Baaienaar wat in Zwide grootgeword het, het in 1994 gematrikuleer en toe met ‘n Telkom beurs elektriese ingenieurswese studeer aan die destydse Port Elizabethse Tegnikon. Na sy studies het hy by Telkom gewerk tot 2002, waarna hy en een van sy kollegas hul eie besigheid begin het, wat elektriese komponente verkoop het, "Fibretronics”.
Dit is in die tyd dat Khaya se ma vir hom gesê het dat daar grond naby Hankey is wat voorheen in hul Katoo familie se besit was. "Sy het my mooi gevra om te help dat die familie die grond terug kry. Die familie het tot dusver gesukkel met die proses,” sê Khaya.
Khaya het toe aan die werk gespring en met baie moeite wat tot by die minister gedraai het, is die grondeis vir die 360ha plaas, Roodefontein, aan hulle toegestaan. Maar die grond is baie bergagtig en nie geskik vir boerdery nie. Die Departement van Grondsake het toe bemiddel vir twee plase, Rooivlakte en Kah, wat saam dieselfde grootte as Roodefontein is, wat toe aan die Katoo familie oorhandig is.
"Ons was verheug, maar in 2007 het dinge baie moeilik begin raak, want daar was onmin onder die familie. Almal wou in beheer wees en ek het besluit ek gaan onttrek,” vertel Khaya.
Sy vrou, Crewelyn, was self ook nie ingenome met die idee om te boer nie en was te bly toe Khaya besluit het om klas te begin gee by Russelweg Kollege in Port Elizabeth.
In 2009 was PSB (Patensie Sitrus Beperk) wat ‘n strategiese vennoot (strategy partner) was, baie ongelukkig omdat die bestuur van die plaas baie swak was en die plaas agteruit gegaan het. "Die Departement van Grondsake het my genader en ek het gesê ek sal net terugkom as ek in beheer kan wees,” sê Khaya.
Hy en sy gesin is in 2010 terug en het dadelik aan die werk gespring om die plaas aan die gang te kry. "Ek het dadelik die een deel, Rooivlakte, begin uitverhuur aan Pietie Ferreira, wie ook ‘n mentor vir my is. Die Humansdorp Koöperasie het ook as ‘n strategiese vennoot (strategy partner) aan boord gekom.”
Khaya het in dié jaar Agricultural Leadership Development (Landbou Leierskapsontwikkeling) by die Universiteit van Pretoria studeer. 
"Ek wou graag op my eie boer en het in 2013 saam met my vrou en ses ander aandeelhouers die plaas, Boplaas op Patensie bekom en het die Ko-op Entabeni gestig.
Die aandeelhouers besit 80% en ‘n Werkers Trust besit 20% van die aandele. 
Sy vrou het intussen baie begin hou van die plaaslewe en werk in die Entabeni kantoor. 
Junie 2016 het Entabeni die toekenning vir die top produsent van lemoene in die Oos-Kaap ontvang wat toegeken is deur die onafhanklike navorser, Frudata en het die jaar 2017 die trofee ontvang.
Khaya sê hy geniet dit om te boer en is baie gelukkig in die Gamtoosvallei. "Dit was ‘n groot aanpassing aan die begin en die mense het my maar snaaks aangekyk, maar ek het baie goeie verhoudings opgebou.”
Sy seun, Bryan, is 11 jaar oud en is in Laerskool Stulting op Humansdorp en presteer baie goed in veral rugby en atletiek. Sy dogter, Kristen, is 13 jaar oud en in Hoërskool Nico Malan op Humansdorp, sy beplan om eendag ‘n rekenmeester te word.
Khaya sê hy is baie bly om deel te wees van die Gamtoos Besproeiingsraad. "Ek voel baie tuis in die span en leer baie by mense soos Pierre, Rienette en Leon.” sê Khaya.
Hy is November (2017) as direkteur op die PPECB (Perishable Products Export Control Board) verkies. Daarby verteenwoordig hy ook die Gamtoosvallei by die Citrus Chamber of BEE farmers. En hy is deel van die CGA (Citrus Growers Association) se GDC (Grower Development Company), ‘n maatskappy wat swart sitrusboere help.  
"Ek is baie positief oor die toekoms,”sê Khaya. "Die bome lyk goed en ons glo die reën is oppad.”

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The newest board member of the Gamtoos Irrigation Board is the electrical engineer who became a farmer, Khaya Katoo.
He grew up in Zwede in Port Elizabeth, matriculated in 1994 and studied electrical engineering at the then Port Elizabeth Technicon. After his studies he worked at Telkom till 2002 when he and one of his colleagues started their own electrical components company, "Fibretronics”.
It was during this time that his mother told him about a piece of land near Hankey that belonged to the Katoo-family. "She asked me to help the family to get the land back. They’ve struggled for a long time with the process,” he said.
With a lot of effort that even made it to the ministers' desk, Khaya managed to acquire the 360ha Roodefontein outside Hankey. However the terrain was not suited for farming. The Department of Land Affairs mediated for the two farms, Rooivlakte and Kah, which together made up the size of Roodefontein, to be handed over to the Katoo family.
"We were very glad, but in 2007 things started getting difficult because of turmoil in the family. Everybody wanted to be in control and I decided to withdraw,” Khaya said.
His wife, Crewelyn, did not like the idea of farming and was very glad he decided to lecture at Russell Road College in Port Elizabeth.
In 2009 PSB (Patensie Sitrus Beperk), who was a strategy partner, was very unhappy about the poor management and decline of the farm. "The Department of Land Affairs contacted me and I said I would only come back if I can be in control,”Khaya said.
He, his wife and children moved to the farm in 2010. "The first thing we did was to rent Rooivlakte to Pietie Ferreira, who was also one of my mentors. The Humansdorp Co-op became a strategy partner.”
In this year he studied Agricultural Leadership Development at the University of Pretoria.
"I wanted to farm on my own as well and in 2013 my wife and I and six other investors acquired Boplaas Farm near Patensie and founded the Co-op Entabeni.
The investors own 80% and a Workers’ Trust owns 20% of the shares.
His wife started to like the farm life and works in the Entabeni office.
June 2016 Entabeni was awarded the Top Producer award of oranges in the Eastern Cape by the independent researcher, Frudata and received the trophy in year 2017.
Khaya says he is very happy in the Gamtoos Valley, although it was very challenging in the beginning. "It was very difficult, but I have built a lot of meaningful relationships.” 
His son, Bryan, is 11 years old and in Stulting Primary School in Humansdorp and is an excellent athlete and rugby player. His daughter, Kristen, is 13 years and in Nico Malan High School in Humansdorp. She wants to become an accountant.
Khaya says he is very glad to be part of the Gamtoos Irrigation Board. "I already feel at home and part of the team. I learn a lot from Pierre, Rienette and Leon.”
In November (2017) he was appointed as director on the PPECB,  (Perishable Products Export Control Board). He also represents the Gamtoos valley at the Citrus Chamber of BEE farmers,  and he is part of the CGA’s, Citrus Growers Association, GDC, Grower Development Company, a company that helps black citrus farmers.
"I am very positive about the future,”Khaya says. "The trees look good and we believe the rain is on its way.” 

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+27 (042) 283 0382
+27 (042) 283 0329
info@gamtooswater.co.za

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R Colesky 083 703 0428
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