te near Ceres as a youth worker, was soon bitten by the fruit bug and asked to be moved to the fruit section where she started as a general worker. Today she is the junior human resources manager on the farm. “Charmaine is one of those people who grab every opportunity that presents itself. She loves people, has excellent work ethics and is someone we can always rely on in our business,” said Marina du Toit, her manager. Earl Loxton, New Entrant of the Year, is busy making his mark as a successful commercial grower in the Northern Cape. In 2011, Loxton, who obtained his diploma in agriculture at Elsenburg, was awarded plot 593 in the Eksteensvlei community outside Keimoes. When Loxton arrived there, the vineyards were old, neglected and in a poor condition. The plot was not profitable and Loxton started a renewal programme. Currently, he has 35 hectares of raisin grapes and 7,5 hectares of wine grapes. Loxton is planning to diversify while he is growing other crops to generate cash. For the past three years, Loxton also formed part of the Dried Fruit Technical Services Jobs Fund development programme. Through this initiative, he planted another 9,3 hectares of raisin grapes. Dr Piet Stassen, Innovator of the Year, was honoured for his contribution as scientist and researcher, spanning the past 45 years. Stassen’s work in various agricultural spheres can be described as pioneering and groundbreaking and his research protocols are applied locally as well as internationally. He is currently evaluating rootstocks for the stone fruit industry. The O.S.H. Reinecke Industry Leader Award went to Jack van Dyk, for his outstanding work in labour law in the fruit industry. Van Dyk was a public prosecutor and magistrate before he entered the fruit industry in 1982. He was a founding member and for many years the chairman of the Cape Agri Employers’ Organisation. Even though he is now retired, Van Dyk still plays an important role in the Laborie Dialogue Initiative which tackles sensitive labour and rural issues. Freelance science writer Engela Duvenage received the Izethelo Award for media excellence. Duvenage was recognized for her contributions in making the agri-science more accessible for the general public. The Deciduous Fruit Gala Event has been held annually for the past 41 years. Fruit Winners! From left to right: Charmaine Scholtz, Specialist Agricultural Worker of the Year; Irene Jansen, General Agricultural Worker of the Year; Earl Loxton, New Entrant of the Year; Jack van Dyk, O.S.H. Reinecke Industry Leader of the Year; Engela Duvenage received the Izethelo Media Award; Sivuyile Maguga Solitswayi, General Agricultural Worker of the Year. Dr Piet Stassen, Inno vator of the Year could not attend the event.