October 13th 2020, was a devastating day to African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) members, leadership and the entire agricultural sector because no single farmer nor any person would have thought that today AFASA will be mourning the untimely death of its leader and President, Dr Vuyo Mahlati.
One of the sharpest and loudest voice for commercialisation of Black farmers is no more. Dr Mahlati will be remembered for speaking for the poor and voiceless black farmers in the country. South African farming community, agricultural sector and the landless masses of our country will remember this President of AFASA also as the Chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. Besides being the leader in the agricultural sector she will also be remembered as the voice of the struggle for women’s emancipation and economic empowerment Ntuthu Mbiko-Motshegoa the AFASA women’s desk chair reiterates.
As a result of her passing, from today when discussing the transformation of the agricultural sector with other stakeholders and particularly government, AFASA delegation without Dr Vuyo its President will be poorer. Her passing on has robbed the country and the industry of her valuable contribution for the development and monitoring of the countries agriculture transformation plan and inclusive agribusiness sector plan.
Dr Vuyo Mahlati passes on few days after government gazetted the revised Expropriation Bill which is now subject to parliamentary processes. She also passes on few days after minister Didiza announced the distribution of state land (700 000 hectares) to the landless farmers. Both milestones have Dr Mahlati’s fingerprints all over them AGRA chairperson Mike Gcabo explains.
On behalf of AFASA leadership and its entire membership I want to thank her husband, Dr Gilimamba Mahlati, all of the Mahlati family for sharing her with the organization and the country. END
AFASA National Chairperson