Published On: Sat, Nov 8th, 2014

SA forum calls for harmony in land question

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CAPE TOWN – SOUTH Africa’s Agriculture Sector Unity Forum (ASUF) called harmony to prevail in the farming sector for the country to remain a leader in food security in the continent.

This follows a recent Parliamentary meeting between agricultural representatives, Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture.

Among other issues deliberated upon comprised evictions of farm workers and rural dwellers from farms owned by white commercial farmers.

ASUF chairman, Japie Grobler, said his organisation was willing to participate in discussions that would contribute towards a mutually acceptable outcome of this discourse pointing out that ASUF would consult its members regarding proposals on farm evictions, agricultural development, the upliftment of farm workers and their families to be addressed.

Among other topical issues touched included that of farmer organisations imposing a voluntary moratorium on farmworker evictions, a move ASUF denied any knowledge of at the moment.

“ASUF wants to reiterate that evictions are governed by legislation and compliance is mandatory. Contraventions, namely illegal evictions, should be dealt with accordingly.

“It was proven in the past that timeous mediation may resolve many disputes, avert unnecessary evictions or facilitate acceptable outcomes to those who stand to lose housing on farms.

“Whilst a humane approach is imperative when dealing with these matters, there should also be full recognition of compelling circumstances which may necessitate evictions,” Grobler said.

He said an inclusive and encompassing agricultural process would result in a social accord with a clear vision and value system, giving guidance to government and its social partners on roles and responsibilities with regards to the multi-faceted challenge.

While government and white farmers have been for years deliberating on equitable land redistribution programme without much progress, this compelled the new but vibrant political party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), to call for repossession of all white-owned land without compensation.

– CAJ News

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