A proudly South African company since 1966, Sparta beef, acquired their abattoir in Welkom in 1999. The acquisition of the abattoir meant that Sparta was the first meat plant in South Africa to debone carcass meat on a large, central pack scale. At that time, they thought 3 tons of deboned beef per day was a lot! Over the last 20 years this organisation has gone from small town cattle feeding operation to an industry leader in world class beef production supplying top quality beef, not only to South Africans, but international consumers as well. Today, this family owned and operated business, is one of the largest employers in the Free State province, providing more than 1300 jobs to the communities in which they operate.
Since 1999, the Sparta beef processing plant in Welkom has been through several major upgrades and now has the capacity to debone over 150 tons of beef per day – a substantial increase from the 3 tons per day they started with! The plant also boasts a value-add department which produces shelf-ready products directly to retailers, easy to portion and cook products to the hospitality industry as well as production beef for food manufacturers like pie companies and Home Meal Replacement (HMR) producers.
Their original Sparta cattle feeding operation in Marquard comprises 13 000 hectares of pristine South African countryside and is supplemented with an additional cattle feeding operation in Potchefstroom which was bought in 2015. Together, these farms have well in excess of 100 000 cattle on feed and ensure a consistent supply to the Sparta abattoir. “We are passionate and proud South-African’s and feel honoured to be able to play our part in the South African agricultural community”, says Sparta CEO, Estelle van Reenen. Sparta’s investment in cattle farming has doubled since 2010.
Another indication of their commitment to international standards of excellence in everything they do is the electronic identification (eID) system that is implemented throughout their vertically integrated operation. Each calve gets a unique radio-frequency tag on arrival at their farms. This tag records critical details of the animal and it’s care and ensures full traceability of each packaged deboned meat batch. Sparta was one of the first cattle feeders to use this technology in South Africa.
Over the years Sparta has positioned itself as a market leader in the beef industry. Current CEO, Estelle van Reenen, continues to build on her father’s legacy of passion and pride. According to her, the family has always lived close to the land, and it is this love for their land and their cattle that inspires them to produce great beef. “We love our beef, and we know you will too!”.
Sparta has been approved as an export facility by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, plant number ZA 91, is certified both ISO 22 000 and FSSC 22 000 and their beef is Halaal certified by the South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA) and the South African National Halaal Trust (NIHT).
-Miejon van Zyl