TLU SA demands proof of President Ramaphosa’s claims implying farmers to be thieves – Doubts accuracy of panel’s report
President Cyril Ramaphosa has of late (and as recent as last Thursday) repeatedly made allegations in public concerning land theft. With these allegations he insinuates that commercial farmers have stolen their land.
“According to South African law the onus rests on the person making the statement to prove it,” says Louis Meintjies, President of TLU SA. “Since the president of the country is not above the law, he should now also give evidence for his claims or be prepared to expect further action from our side. This is the second person TLU SA have berated, after the academic Dr Piet Croukamp made similar statements these past two weeks – also from a public platform.
“We are worried that these kinds of accusations and inaccurate statements over ownership and the land reform process will be part of the report of the president’s advisory panel on land reform. How can we move forward and have meaningful discussions about the future of agriculture if it is based on lies?”
TLU SA is not part of this advisory panel. The group is not representative of land and property owners in South Africa.
In 2005 TLU SA proposed meaningful and feasible suggestions to government by which all targets would have been reached within eight years of the normal economic process. No existing landowner’s property rights would have been in jeopardy. The appropriate mechanisms to support and lead new farmers to success were built into this model. But, our proposals were swept from the table.
“It is fair to ask – in looking at government’s many failures – what government’s real agenda is,” explains Meintjies. “It is obviously not to sustain agriculture or to support new farmers to success.”
TLU SA believes that the real solution to the land issue in South Africa is private ownership,” he says. “As long as government keeps up with the policy of nationalising land, they are the primary reason for the failure of any new farmers to agriculture. Add to that the thoughtless and unsubstantiated accusations of people in power about land ownership and agriculture, farmers and indeed the country, is facing very big problems.
“We as farmers will not accept these kinds of accusations anymore,” says Meintjies. “We will not let farmers be made out as criminals. Each and every unproven and unfounded statement and person making such a statement will in future be challenged until we are no more made the scapegoat for every problem in this country.
“We will not be bound or governed by any of the suggestions in the report,” says Meintjies. “We’re not part of the advisory panel and was not consulted regarding any of the discussions or decisions. The representatives of organised farming who are on the panel do not speak on behalf of members of TLU SA or the rest of organised farming, not affiliated to any unions.”