Bloemfontein - Free State farmers will accept no compromise on economic or constitutional principles in the development of agriculture, Free State Agriculture (FSA) president Dan Kriek said on Wednesday.
“We refuse to be party to any legislation or programme that would compromise the financial well-being of farmers,” Kriek said during the FSA annual congress in Bloemfontein.
Farmers would also refuse to be part of any development programme that would result in the hardship, hunger, and starvation of the poorest of the poor.
Farmers should “stand and not run” regarding recent comments on land reform and agricultural development.
“Nobody can tell you, you have no future. Get perspective (on) what needs to be done.”
He challenged government to speak the truth about land reform, because the truth was also a “revolutionary act”.
Kriek criticised Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti for tackling land reform through slogans.
Nkwinti's comment that he had taken a “political decision” on land reform was a poor decision in South Africa's democracy.
Kriek strongly refuted Nkwinti's accusation that organised agriculture had not came up with answers to land reform.
“There are a lot of plans, a lot,” said Kriek, adding that organised agriculture had already committed itself to land reform in 2006.
“Free State farmers in 2006 gave former president Thabo Mbeki and Free State premier Ace Magashule a plan,” said Kriek.
“You, the most progressive group of farmers, are accused of doing nothing for land reform.”
He urged political leaders to refrain from “opportunistic leadership” and warned against heating the debate on land reform.
He showed the congress examples of successful land reform projects in the Free State under the stewardship of agricultural business and commodity groups with the help of commercial farmers.
Kriek also challenged the African National Congress to clean up its act.
“Get rid of corruption and get back to the ANC of yesteryear. You have lost your soul.”
Farmers would hold the ANC government accountable for the country's future and not allow it “to steal what we are trying to do”.
The farmers heard there was nothing holding them back from properly planning, budgeting, and implementing land reform.
Kriek extended a hand to government to trust farmers to help them develop South Africa. - Sapa