The ANC said in a statement that ANC cadres must work with comrades in organised labour to ensure that the living conditions of farm workers and farm – dwellers must be improved. The statement continues “they continue to be among the most exploited citizens of our country”.
Mr Viljoen, Chairperson of TAU SA North, said that these propagandistic attacks create unnecessary tension between farmers and the workers on the farms. He said that TAU SA North take exception and object against these statements which can probably be seen as hate speech as no proof is provided for this provocative statement.
The labour legislation in South Africa is regarded as strict and the most inflexible in the world in its effort to protect workers. Organized agriculture, as law abiding citizens, abides by the legislation. The minimum wage is enforced by the Department of Labour. Farm workers have access to free training through cooperation between organized agriculture and AgriSETA.
Mr Marinus Blignault, chairperson of the Provincial Labour committee said that the ANC will do good to remember that farm workers are amongst the few rural people in South Africa that are employed. Unfortunately, the inflexible policies and legislation of the ANC government reduced employment in the agricultural sector substantially. It would have been helpful if the ANC concentrate on enabling legislation and methods to encourage job creation in the agricultural sector. The ANC will do good to concentrate on the unemployed masses and the inadequate education system.
The ANC would do good to look at the devastating low quality of live in the previous homelands, lack of property rights, little of no extension services to farmers, dilapidated infrastructure, and erosion of valuable agricultural land. The homelands, such as the previous Venda, KZN, Transkei and Ciskei are all in the most fertile areas of South Africa but fail to contribute much to food security. The previous homelands represent 13% of the land in South Africa and should be able to produce high quality food.
Blignault said that it is good news that the ANC regard food security as a priority. He hoped that the ANC will put programmes in place to ensure food security. The propagandistic statements will not assist in the goal to reach food security for all.
Viljoen concluded by saying that it is sad that the ANC are even further away from food security, security of tenure for all, and property rights than 16 years ago. He said the current policies will not bring South Africa closer to job creation or food security.