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Bloemfontein - The voice of reason will prevail in the debate on land, outgoing Free State Agriculture President Louw Steytler said on Wednesday.
“The Constitution will not be changed, that is my opinion... if pressure comes to it we will defend it with all we have,” Steytler told Free State farmers at their annual conference.
Steytler, who was stepping down as president of the provincial body, said SA and particularly farmers needed to have a positive approach to the future.
“We have to invest because of the growing population. There is a market out there, worldwide, for food, and that is what we are going to do as Free State farmers.”
He said the Constitution's section 25 - the right to property - was South Africa’s corner-stone to food security.
“If you meddle with that, you meddle with production capability and the financing of production across South Africa.”
Steytler said this would in turn have negative consequences for food security in South Africa and the modern economy it hoped to establish.
Local and international investor confidence would disappear and the country’s world image would suffer.
“No, we know what we want in South Africa. The voice of reasonableness will prevail and we ask farmers to go on with their lives, go invest and build 1/8a 3/8 future for South Africa’s children.”
Steytler said agricultural development and transformation could not be managed from a political viewpoint.
“We do not just represent Afrikaner interests, but agriculture, in the interest of people with different political backgrounds.”
Holding up a photograph of his children, he told farmers they toiled every day for their children and the children of other South Africans.
“Each generation blames the previous generation; make sure that today's farmers are not found to be 'lamsakkig' (weaklings) in working for the future of South Africa.”
Steytler urged the government to include farmers in the development of agriculture at every step of its value chain. - Sapa