Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) yesterday added its voice to other industry players to condemn in the chanting of the words “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer…” by EFF leader Julius Malema at the EFF’s anniversary rally at the weekend.
Agbiz chairperson Francois Strydom said yesterday said these were contrary to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s wishes for a social compact, which all social partners could support. It might destroy the progress that many organisations and business have achieved in terms of a common vision, purpose and future for agriculture in South Africa.
"We, therefore, call on political leaders across the political spectrum to condemn divisive language and promote the spirit of co-operation,” he said.
Strydom said the people of South Africa should work together to build South Africa.
“The farming and agribusiness sectors are key to rebuilding the South African economy, food security and job creation. The focus should be on attracting investment into these sectors and to support a sector of society that is already vulnerable to safety concerns.
“The weekend’s events may antagonise the farming sector and rural communities. Political leadership is required to foster conditions under which parties can work together for the good of the country. We, therefore, call on the president not to be silent on such matters but to rebuke it in the strongest terms,” Strydom said.
Agbiz said the outlook for South Africa's agriculture remained positive for the near term, and the long-term growth prospects largely depended on collaborative interventions amongst social partners such as government, business, organised agriculture, and labour. The collaborative spirit is what political leaders should embrace as we rebuild our country and the economy, it said.
Strydom said South Africa faced significant challenges of high unemployment, weak economic growth prospects, rising poverty and inequality.These were issues that should dominate the thinking of the political leaders, business and society at large.
Earlier this week Christo van der Rheede, the outgoing CEO of Agri SA, personally condemned the chanting of “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer…”
“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 R1bn in actual contribution to enable emerging farmers to plant and feed the country,” Van der Rheede said.
Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer also said farmers and agricultural workers did not deserve the vile sentiments expressed in the song ‘Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer’ which was “so enthusiastically and irresponsibly sung of over the weekend”.
“Our farmers work hard to produce food for our nation and ensure food security,” he added.
Meyer said the contribution of the agricultural sector to the Western Cape economy was something that they were incredibly proud of and wanted to sustain and grow. He said the Western Cape agricultural industry increased by 32%, reaching R5.2bn in 2021.