Mantashe addresses farmers on land reform

Johannesburg -

Commercial farmers on Wednesday raised questions and concerns about land reform with ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe in Johannesburg.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

“We are concerned about ongoing policy inconsistency by government, marked by frequently changing positions and perspectives,” they said in a joint statement handed to Mantashe at a dialogue about land reform and food security.

Mantashe had been addressing a discussion at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

“We are concerned about labour expectations, food price inflation, and significant labour unrest,” the farmers said.

Commercial farmers were also worried about declining investor confidence and job losses in the agricultural sector.

They wanted government to bring policy synergy and policy coherence to the agricultural sector.

“Government must be responsible for land acquisitions for the growth of farming operations and the consequent beneficiation of farm workers.

“If government acquires farms, we will provide economic custodianship until they become viable agri-businesses.”

Commercial farmers wanted government to introduce a wage subsidy in the sector, and assistance in building houses and agri-villages for farm workers.

They also wanted government to plan the allocations of water before allocating land, particularly for labour intensive farming.

Government should critically review water management as a “strategic resource” and provide more storage dams and more irrigation schemes to grow the industry, they said.

Mantashe was expected to respond to their concerns shortly. - Sapa