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Parliament should address farm attacks

There are many reasons why the incidence of farm attacks belongs on the parliamentary agenda. Some of these include the cardinal role that the agricultural sector plays in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and job creation.

The most important reason, however, is the people who are murdered and injured in these attacks.

The agricultural sector’s contribution to the GDP amounted to R140 billion over the past financial year, while the number of job opportunities increased from 834 000 to 880 000 during the same period. By June this year, there were already 894 000 jobs in this sector.

Many workers reside on farms where their families are also well looked after. Assuming that each farm worker supports a family of four, it means that agriculture provides for nearly 4 million people.

Agriculture plays an indispensable role in every South African’s life. From that first cup of coffee in the morning to breakfast, every person relies on farmers to put food on their table.

President Nelson Mandela recognised the importance of the sector in 1994 along with the necessity of looking after the country’s farmers.

Numerous plans were developed to ensure that this happens, such as the police’s rural crime-prevention strategy of 2012, which was adapted in 2018.

But plans on paper that are never put into practice mean nothing. It is no more than lip service.

Part of the strategy was, among other things, using drones to assist with rural safety. That did not happen. Drones were indeed procured, but the police use them for other purposes.

The farmers of South Africa are under siege. When farmers return to their farms after having left, they must always be prepared for an ambush. Moreover, government fails them in many regards.

In addition to rising production costs, fuel prices and salaries, farmers live in constant fear of attacks and must ensure their own safety at great personal expense.

The brutality characterising attacks on farmers and their workers also clearly demonstrates that in most cases, these attacks are not just ordinary crimes. Ordinary criminals will not torture their victims. They will merely take what they want and flee.

Members of Parliament are obliged to act in the interest of farmers and food security. Farmers should no longer be left to their fate.

The FF Plus is, therefore, requesting Parliament to establish an ad hoc committee to conduct a thorough investigation into farm attacks and murders. Farmers keep the economy going and ensure that every South African has food on the table.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus

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