AgriSA welcomes new Parliament

Staff Writer | May 13, 2019
Agricultural industry body AgriSA extended its congratulations to the Independent Electoral Commission for having conducted a successful election process, saying it looked forward to working with the new parliament.

AgriSA says it has ‘built up the trust and position of authority among Parliamentarians to pick up where we left off’ before the 8 May elections. 

Omri van Zyl, executive director of AgriSA, drew attention to the relationship that his organisation has with Parliament, and how this is central to its activities. 

‘AgriSA works closely with Parliament to inform our national representatives on various issues affecting agriculture as a whole,’ he said, ‘A new Parliament brings new opportunities to further strengthen trusted relationships with the representatives of South Africa. It is a new Parliament with some new faces, but luckily AgriSA has built up the trust and position of authority among Parliamentarians to pick up where we left off.’

The incoming Parliament is likely to have to tackle numerous issues of particular importance and concern to the farming industry, such as processing an envisaged amendment to the constitution to allow expropriation without compensation (EWC) and the Expropriation Bill, and possibly other measures to expand the state’s discretion to take the property of people and businesses. 

Surprisingly, the drive towards EWC did not feature prominently in the parties’ recent election campaigns. 

Over the election period, President Ramaphosa expressed contradictory views towards the farming community. He held a widely publicised meeting with farmers in Stellenbosch in early April, at which he voiced his support for and appreciation of their presence. However, a few weeks previously, he had told farmers to cease ‘resisting’ land reform. At a May Day rally, he warned farmers not to attempt to prevent their workers from voting.

It is not clear what evidence he had of resistance to land reform, or of plans by farmers to disenfranchise their workers. 

The IRR has mounted sustained opposition to EWC and the erosion of property rights, warning that such an approach will damage South Africa’s economic prospects significantly and undermine important and necessary efforts to broaden land ownership both in urban and rural areas and to protect and nurture the country’s vital agricultural economy.

Last month, the Institute handed over to the Office of the Presidency the names of nearly 160 000 South Africans who endorsed the IRR’s statement opposing compensation-free expropriation.

 

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