By Christo van der Rheede
As outgoing CEO of AGRI SA, the most prominent organised voice for farmers in South Africa, I personally condemn in the strongest terms the chanting of the words ‘Kill the Boer, Farmer… by the EFF leader, Julius Malema at the EFF’s anniversary rally over the past weekend. This is not on sir.
What do you seek to achieve by continuing to chant these highly insensitive, divisive, spiteful and despicable words? All that you achieve is to whip up emotions and polarise our citizenry.
You are wrong if you think you will advance the cause of economic freedom through sloganeering and chanting. Instead, you will achieve the opposite which is more poverty, misery and hunger.
Economic freedom is achieved through prioritising economic development in our national budget as opposed to social development. All that we have achieved as a country thus far through the latter is to make more and more people dependent on the state. Too little money from the fiscus is available for economic development.
Our farmers and our broader private sector step in annually to fill this void. This year alone our commercial farmers borrowed R200 billion to feed the country. The state contributes less than R1 billion in actual contribution to enable emerging farmers to plant and feed the country!
This is the real problem and as long as the ANC including the EFF perpetuates the idea that dishing out the proverbial fish as opposed to teaching people how to fish and providing them with the fishing rod, economic freedom for the majority of South Africans will remain a pipe dream.
So stop portraying farmers as the enemy. The real enemy is a corrupt, incompetent and unproductive state with skewed budgeting priorities. So stop misleading people by making them believe in empty political rethoric! It only delivers empty shelves and misery!
Real and sustainable economic freedom starts with freeing up the economy, supporting the creation of a conducive environment for entrepreneurs to flourish.
Furthermore, economic freedom requires that people be secure in their persons and physical property; it also requires a judicial system that enforces contractual agreements fairly. Most important of all economic freedom starts with prioritising sustainable economic development that attracts foreign and local investment, not chasing it away.
It is the agricultural sector at large and all the other role-players that make the economy work for you, me and the rest of South Africa!Chanting slogans such as ‘Kill the Boer, farmer’ is childish at best and tantamount to political thuggery!
You will gain the admiration and respect of all South Africans if you refrain from such and instead focus on building our nation, empowering each and every community through opening up economic opportunities, holding the state accountable for its economic failures including land reform failures and the pathetic levels of service delivery that has become the norm, especially at municipal level. This is the real enemy Sir!
Christo van der Rheede is the Outgoing CEO Agri SA
** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL.