TLU SA has always sold the farmers point of view to government. We do not sell government’s stance to our farmers. TLU SA does not speak for the farmers, they speak for themselves. TLU SA’s power lies at grass-root level – where it really matters for the farmer in their day to day survival.
Agriculture in South Africa is very complicated since we are seen as a marginal agricultural environment in comparison to other countries. The uncertain policy situation projected by the ANC worsens the situation. As TLU SA we are currently focussing on three aspects to create stability.
Firstly, the safety of farmers, their families and the workers on the farms. The reality is that government have lost control over the safety of South Africans. Our safety committee have, over time, been established where realistic and achievable plans are implemented to look after our own safety. Various other institutions have built on this TLU SA model.
Furthermore, the uncertainty over property rights, clearly created with a political agenda, holds nothing positive for investors. Agriculture cannot go forward under these circumstances. TLU SA is constantly making every effort to not support the ANC’s slipway into socialism, but to focus on the principles needed to help agriculture survive.
In the third-place farmers have been struggling under extreme financial pressure brought on by not least of all, the drought.
TLU SA held a sustainability conference on 6 December 2018 after which a committee started working on ways to distribute the risk from the producer only to other players in the supply chain.
TLU SA have always stood by the viewpoint that family farms are the foundation of agriculture. It is their contribution in the rural areas which creates jobs and sustains smaller towns.
We have been saying that the time is right to stand together for the past few years. It can only be done with the support of people and institutions serving the same ideals and principles we serve. These are the same principles followed by TLU SA since its inception and which are still in the best interest of the farmer. It is set out in the Manifest and the Constitution. The most important is still the belief in our Almighty God, as shown in His Word, the Bible.
The other important principles TLU SA stands for is the protection of property rights and the fact that market demand determines prices.
TLU SA does not speak for the farmers, they speak for themselves. But because farming is very labour intensive, we created structures to facilitate communication.
Click here to download the structure as a PDF.
The leadership of TLU SA is elected annually during Congress, normally hosted in September.
During the early days of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek farmers did not really have a need for a body such as a farmers’ union, which could manage farmers interests. Their grievances were sent to a field cornet or magistrate and if that did not have the required outcome it was escalated to a member of the Volksraad.
By the turn of the century, the responsibilities of farmers increased and the need for a sympathetic ear of someone with shared interests became stronger.
Farmer unions spontaneously formed and a voice of representation in government became a necessity.
The founding of the Transvaalse Landbou Unie can today be seen as the birth date of organised agriculture in South Africa.
Click on the photo to view the full size image.
Click on the photo to view the full size image.
Through the efforts and fundraising of Edith O’Connor (founder of the Transvaal Vroue/Women Landbou Unie), the first TLU-building in Pretoria was taken into use in 1965. It was located at 279 Struben street, between Andries and Van der Walt streets.
The current TLU SA Building in Silverton, Pretoria was completed in 1970. It was inaugurated on 23 April 1971 by Minister Hendrik Schoeman.
Apart from the offices on the first floor used by TLU SA, other office space is rented out to Camira Accountants & Auditors, Maree Attorneys, and the TLU SA Financial Wellness Desk.
Office space on the top floor is available to rent. For more information, contact Ute on 012 804 8031.
The Org Wenhold Conference Hall is used to host TLU SA functions. It is named after the chairman of the Building Committee.
Various other companies regularly make use of the conference facilities. It can comfortably accommodate 110 delegates and is available to hire at reasonable rates. The adjoining kitchen and crockery can be hired at an additional cost.
Contact Secretary for more information regarding hire of the Org Wenhold Conference Hall on 012 804 8031.
UNITY IN AGRICULTURE
Since TLU SA (at that stage the Transvaalse Landbou Unie) and the Suid-Afrikaanse Landbou-unie’s (SALU) roads diverged, the management of TLU SA continued to reach out to other roleplayers in the commercial agricultural industry. The goal is to take a shared approach to agricultural interests.
In spite of these efforts having varied success in the past, TLU SA continues to strive for unity under and in the interest of commercial farmers.
There are some outcomes required for any cooperation to be accepted:
- It must be cooperation in principles;
- The interests of commercial farmers should be the priority;
- Organised agriculture cannot afford to simply become a political echo of any political parties;
- A healthy distance from the government of the day should at all times be upheld;
- The organisation (organised) is a means to an end. It should never be allowed for the organisation itself to become the goal.
A commercial farmers union’s goal should always be to keep commercial farmers safely and sustainably on their land. The power of collective bargaining creates this capability.
The status quo is unacceptable.
Murder, assault, rape, robbery, theft (including livestock and game), arson, trespassing, unlawful land occupation, and intimidation continues after the Commando system was phased out.
The sector policing system was not implemented properly. It does not offer farmers a worthy alternative. This leads to the situation regarding rural safety to worsen even more.
The negative impact of the Firearms Control Act weakens the defensibility of farmers whilst implicating an unacceptable approach to private ownership. The cost involved in renewing of firearm licenses and all it entails is as unacceptable.
TLU SA accepts that the legal and responsible ownership of firearms is a critical element of private ownership.
Apart from this, citizens have the right to protect property and life against any threats.
Accordingly, TLU SA will consider any legal course to have owners of licensed firearms to hold onto their firearms.
The prescribed regulations governing the buying and licensing of firearms is seen as impractical, expensive and unnecessarily cumbersome. TLU SA will consider and apply any options to influence the process in such a way that meritorious applicants will not be influenced negatively.
Because of poor policing farmers are forced to implement other safety precautions at own cost. These costs cannot be added to production costs.
Inadequate border regulation leads to a dangerous increase in illegal foreigners and animal illnesses.
Various new acts and regulations have a very negative impact on the agricultural sector. In most of the cases, these guidelines were implemented one-sidedly without the agricultural sector being able to give sensible inputs. Farmers are price takers, and each additional cost influencing production is in reality for the account of the producer since it cannot be absorbed by the price structure. The impact of the following aspects has a substantial effect on the economic sustainability of agriculture:
Local Government: Divisions of Revenue Act (Act 6 of 2004) as well as the Municipal Systems Act (Act 117 of 1998)
Irrespective of the levy, farmers will be subjected to additional expenses – in many cases for services not even delivered in the rural areas. This act is seen in general as unacceptable by farmers. The effect of additional taxes on production means (land) is unique in all the economic sectors. It also represents a cost element which cannot be added to and in turn recovered from product prices.
National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998)
This act already implicates a measure of expropriation and subjects the farmer to taxes not previously payable. For all practical purposes, all water in the country is already nationalised. TLU SA’s stand is that payment should only be made for the delivery of high quality and sustainable services. Until the infrastructure is in place, TLU SA cannot in good faith subsidise the department to develop this infrastructure.
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (Act 28 of 2002)
Old Order Permitholders had less than a year to take up their prospecting and mine rights before it expired. That meant the current owner would also lose potential income. TLU SA sees the application of the Minerals Act as constructive expropriation. Accordingly, the organisation aims to protect and ensure private ownership or alternatively ensure market-related compensation for each owner of mineral rights. The prescribed process to keep mineral rights is intricate and this complicates the process. In practice, the process is not feasible.
TLU SA accepts the view that there are different authoritative bodies (forms of government), namely those of the individual, the family, the church and culture; and civil authority.
All authority of the state is deduced authority and local government cannot act differently to any higher government authority’s rule.
The local government, therefore, has an accountability to the whole community and not just to the governing political party, to implement the rule of law, punish criminality, act unbiased in legal cases, create a free and safe environment for production in a free economy, and to prevent tyranny and monopolies.
Local government also has the responsibility to not act, or have any managerial power or control on the terrain of the civil community, since such acts are the basis of the party in the community.
TLU SA acts within reasonable governing authority without relinquishing the right to represent and confirm the interests of the commercial farmer. TLU SA is involved with local management without any party involvement and will continue to monitor and manage the delivery of services and will act accordingly to protect the interests of farmers.
RELATIONS WITH GOVERNMENT AND OTHER AGRICULTURAL ORGANISATIONS
TLU SA uses every opportunity to communicate the interests of its members to the government. Personal conversations with the relevant Minister of Agriculture takes place every two months. TLU SA is also continuously in conversation with senior officials of departments and organisations which has an influence on agriculture.
During these conversations, it is the goal of TLU SA to always communicate the commercial farmer’s best interest as a priority by using straight and honest communication.
See how our relations are to the benefit of commercial farmers here.
Food security is a critical element of any governing state’s strategic profile.
South Africa has so far been in the privileged position to be able to provide in the country’s needs and to earn valuable foreign currency. The situation is, however, not boding well because of factors such as safety, political agendas related to private ownership and uneven international competition.
The responsibility to ensure food security is primarily that of the authority and TLU SA demands that it be upheld.
TRANSFORMATION IN AGRICULTURE
TLU SA’s viewpoint on transformation in the agricultural sector is that economic sustainability and stability should be prioritised in the interest of everyone involved.
The production of food and fibre, as well as the earning of foreign currency, should not be affected negatively by the process.
It is the state’s responsibility to empower newcomers to the sector in a manner that is fair, does not harm the profitability or become the responsibility of existing participants.
Where mentorship is implemented, the involvement and transfer of knowledge should be on a voluntary basis without affecting the mentor’s financial situation.
The success of the process thus far should be evaluated urgently.
ECONOMY AND THE FREE MARKET
The approach to measure agriculture’s role in the economy by its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) is technically correct. Aspects that should however also be kept in mind when calculating the role of agriculture in the economy are:
- The strategic value that food security offers a country;
- The ripple effect on the rest of the economy if primary commercial agriculture comes to a standstill or even has a significant recession is difficult to calculate.
Aspects which could easily be overseen when calculating the value of agriculture in the economy, are as follows:
- The role played in stabilising rural areas;
- The existence of local companies because of agriculture’s economic injection;
- Job opportunities created;
- The effect on all input suppliers when their products aren’t bought any more.
It is the task of the authority to create a climate in which the economy can thrive. Any responsible government will realise the value and importance of agriculture in the total economy and ensure the playing field is kept even in order for commercial agriculture to survive.
BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
The process around Agri-BEE has been controversial since the inception of the first phase – a phase in which TLU SA was not involved.
With the establishment of the Steering Committee, TLU SA was involved and continuously stated and put in writing, the positioning of TLU SA. The shortcomings of the process and the negative effect on food security were explained thoroughly on many occasions.
TLU SA is of the opinion that:
- The demands and the goals in the discussion papers are not feasible. Not only does it endanger lawfully acquired property rights, but it sorts economic units in uneconomic measures. It will lead to the downfall of agriculture;
- The responsibilities of the state in regards to education and literacy is delegated unilaterally to an economic sector which does not have the needed sources – financially and skills-wise;
- The authority given to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and in turn the Land Claims Commissioner in the Amended Act on the Restitution of Land Rights to expropriate land without following the proper legal course, is unacceptable;
- The element of forcefulness in the document is unacceptable;
- There are feasible, practical and sufficient alternatives to introduce black farmers to agriculture without applying either the Land Restitution Act or Agri-BEE. The use of state-owned land, land available in the market and the principle of ‘Willing Buyer – Willing Seller’ will lead to better results and attitudes.
- TLU SA promotes the concept of Broad Based Economic Empowerment (BBEE) within the parameters of acceptable laws, in which the involvement of the state is restricted to the minimum and the broad base of economic empowerment are guided by skills, capacity and the manageable economic powers.
- The Scorecard process and framework is a form of policing and compulsion in terms of BEE. It adds a further administrative burden on the agricultural sector. Consequently, it is extremely detrimental for diversity within the commercial agricultural sector. For that reason, the Scorecard is not accepted.
- A responsible decision about the process cannot be made before scientifically based impact studies shows the consequences of the process.