AFASA Press Release on Congress Resolutions and #BlackMonday 2017-11-06

African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) would like to put on record its strong stance against all forms of crime and the need for crime intolerance and heightened anti-crime investment for all. AFASA Congress on 22 October 2017 was presented with testimonies of violent crimes against black farmers, families and farm workers; vandalization of farms; as well as theft of livestock.

The Congress condemned the crime rate in South Africa deemed to have reached unacceptable proportions with unsatisfactory support from the Police despite many efforts of engagement by farmers at all levels. Dr Vuyo Mahlati, AFASA President emphasizes that “at the centre of total neglect of the black farmers is the lack of law enforcement in poor farming communities, especially rural areas with poor infrastructure. For women farmers and farm workers the situation is exacerbated by all forms of sexual abuse including rape.” AFASA National Executive Council mandated the Executive committee including AFASA Women”s Desk to elevate the situation to the highest offices of government. Land insecurity was viewed central to vulnerability and injustices and the farmers called for a Land and Agriculture Ombudsman to look into crimes and injustice against farmers. One farmer concluded that “its high time that society appreciates the Esidimeni version of black farmers”.

AFASA Congress further resolved that AFASA collaborates with other unions towards the revitalization of Agri-Sector Unity Forum (ASUF) to fight against crime and address other common obstacles hindering farming in South Africa. This stems from the recognition that the fight against crime, murders, victimization and any horrendous criminality deserve condemnation and a collaborative effort. This approach is intended to cleanse the Agri-sector of the racial apartheid image and reputation, further perpetuated by the recent barbaric acts by convicted white farmers against black victims (North West and Mpumalanga judgements). The intention is to address the genuine concerns of black and white commercial and communal farmers including farm killings.

It is against this background that AFASA found #BlackMonday extremely disappointing. “We view what took place on 30 October 2017 as a setback against efforts for building unity within the Agri-sector, and the South African society at large. The ill-discipline displayed with the use of the Apartheid flag and burning of the Democratic South African flag was like spitting in the face of the black farmers who patiently wait for a peaceful resolution of land and other redress issues”, comments Dr Mahlati.

South Africa needs a stable environment with both public and private sector collaboration as only 11% of farmland has been transferred 23 years after democracy. Crime is a serious issue that undermines progress, complicated by poverty and high unemployment. Only well-led and focused efforts with a high sense of urgency will radically change the status quo. AFASA calls for all to unite against crime and refrain from inciting racial segregation, hatred and instability.

Contact Person: AFASA Communications Team
Peter Mashala
084 484 4049