Republic of South Africa
Dear Mr. Zuma,
REQUEST FOR CONSTRUCTIVE MEETING ABOUT THE UNDERMENTIONED KEYPOINTS
Every government is subject to two cardinal guidelines:
· The Constitution of the country
· The Social Contract which the government guarantees before and during elections.
In exchange, the country’s citizens are dependent upon and accept the integrity of the government of the land. Citizens pay taxes so that effect can be made of the Constitution’s demands, which the government is compelled to undertake. The Social Contract must also be effected by ensuring that citizens live in security and without fear, that proper infrastructure is provided and that educational and medical needs are rendered.
TAU SA has bent over backwards – sometimes in the face of pressure from its members – to encourage productive discussions with the government with regard to problems and perspectives, and TAU SA has tried to do this in a positive and supportive manner with the government. In most cases, promises and undertakings have been made which, over the passage of time, have come to nothing.
At present the situation in the land is extremely charged as a result of tension that has been created – farmers are especially in the proverbial cross hairs and their situation is now untenable. This will automatically place the country’s food security in a serious and hazardous position.
As a result certain matters can no longer be ignored and, for the sake of food security and good neighbourliness, urgent discussions must now take place where clear cut answers must be supplied with regard to the following charges which TAU SA lays before the President of the country, his cabinet and the governing party:
· There is bad faith, because matters are twisted to suit ideological standpoints, such as the fact that the song “Skiet die Boere, Kill the Boer” doesn’t really mean that the farmers must be shot and killed!
· Neglecting to take action against those who cause unrest. How long must the country’s head of state wait before his remarks that these inflammatory mischief makers will be charged, bear results? Nothing has been done and this has resulted in even more incitement from the rabble rousers.
· The unreliability and insensitivity of ministers with whom appointments are made on important matters and who, at the very last moment, cancel the appointment. Farmers are also busy people with busy schedules, and the impression is given that the farmers’ standpoints are not really very important. Everything else is more important than a meeting with a farmer or an agricultural organization.
· Broken promises – for example, the commando system was abolished with a promise of a substitute agricultural security structure. Sector policing that was put forward as a replacement, failed, and farmers are still being attacked, murdered, injured and burgled.
· The exaggerated pursuit of quotas. A survey by Solidarity revealed that in some government departments, the Affirmative Action quotas have actually been exceeded. Does this mean that the land reform quota of handing over 30% of land to black owners until 2014 will also be exceeded?
· Reckless statements by ministers.
Ø TAU SA demands that every minister who declares that farm workers are illegally evicted from farms must prove this with facts such as the names of the persons, the dates, the time and the place, and also provide the case number where this illegality has been reported and investigated, and they must give the results of this investigation.
Ø Any minister who declares that farm workers have been badly treated must also provide the necessary details as mentioned above.
Ø Any minister who declares that squatter camps exist because farmers have dismissed their workers must provide the necessary statistics about the nationality of the squatters, given that it is well known that because of pathetic border control, these camps are so full of foreigners that even English is not spoken or understood.
· The waste of public funds on failing or failed projects such as the land reform project where more than 80% have failed, at great cost to the taxpayers. Food security is now at risk.
Ø With regard to this, TAU SA has had no reply to a very simple question: what is the percentage ground which the government has marked out for land reform – 30% of the total land of South Africa or 30% of agricultural land?
· TAU SA is on record that the murder of farmers is nothing more than ethnic cleansing. Your silence on this can be seen as an acknowledgement of this fact.
· The lack of political determination to uphold the integrity of the country’s infrastructure.
Ø Farmers experience increasing problems in getting their products to market as a result of the terrible state of the country’s roads, while they pay for licences and are burdened with petrol price increases. Farmers receive very little in return for their payments, especially with regard to the maintenance of roads and the most basic of services.
Ø The collapse of water purification installations has resulted in the pollution of rivers and underground water sources, which makes these sources unusable for farming. Farmers suffer losses, and less food is produced as a result of government neglect in this regard.
· The government’s neglect to give attention to the security of the country is bordering on the transgression of human rights.
Ø The commandos have been withdrawn, so farmers are left on their own to defend themselves.
Ø The citizenry as well as the farmers are intimidated into handing in their firearms while hardened criminals with illegal firearms have made the land unsafe and. in places, ungovernable.
Ø When farmers make application for a new firearm licence, it takes sometimes months to obtain this licence, which means that while waiting for the licence, the farmer is without self protection.
Ø Farmers who were given the green light to create their own self-protection structures are now becoming targets for prosecution, while they should be regarded as people who are trying to uphold the law as supporters of safety and security.
· The government is in cahoots with organized trade unions against the farmers via making labour legislation difficult to uphold and, in some cases, making it impossible to sustain. To listen in to Parliament where ridiculous statements such as the farmers are themselves responsible for the lack of safety on farms, and that they steal their own stock, makes one ask: is it possible that this verbal rubbish can come out of the country’s highest body?
· The government’s indiscriminate and uncritical support for its alliance partner COSATU’s loud and ungrounded statements about the living standards of farm workers on farms.
· The government and COSATU’s focus on farm dwellers rather than farm workers. The farmer as an employer has no contract whatsoever with others who stay on the farms whether as sojourners under particular legislation, or as family members, or whatever.
· The fact that the agricultural sector is made an exception as the only one in the total economy of South Africa. The land owner is expected to have a 24/7 obligation to his workers, over and above the fact that legislation already obliges the farmer to further and further relinquish his property to fulfill abode legislation with regard to his workers.
THESE MATTERS CAN NO LONGER BE IGNORED.
The farmers of South Africa will do whatever they must do to farm and to provide food for everyone in the country and even in the region. Indeed, they will farm so that you, Mr. President, can enjoy your daily meals. But the above-mentioned matters are making it difficult for the farmer to farm. Indeed, it is becoming impossible. The farmers and the citizens of this land can no longer afford this government.
Their loyalty is being stretched to the limit, and their patience as well. And what TAU SA experiences is indifference from the government, even enmity.
Therefore we request an appointment with you, and all relevant ministers, and we await your reply within 14 days from date of this letter.