Govt hits out at 'anti-land-reform' farmers

The Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs is disappointed at elements in the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) South Africa who seem to cling to false assumptions about land reform, the department said on Friday.

The department’s comment followed a two-day TAU SA conference in Pretoria.

At the conference, the agriculture union’s safety and security committee chairperson, Danie du Plessis, accused the government of implicit involvement in farm attacks.

Du Plessis blamed the government’s transformation policy for what he described as a slackening of the country’s security forces—which he said are loyal to the ruling party and not the general population.

Transformation amounts to lowering white citizens’ position in society and making them submissive to the will of the masses, he said on Thursday.

The day before, a few dozen members threatened an armed struggle similar to that waged against apartheid by the African National Congress if their property and cultural fears are not addressed.

“The Department of [Agriculture and] Land Affairs is greatly disappointed that there are elements within the TAU SA who seem to be still bent on calls for a separate volkstaat, based on false assumptions about land reform in South Africa.

“The department regards this as making land reform an excuse for their separatist ideology,” the department’s Eddie Mohoebi said.

“We strongly believe that the majority of TAU SA members, who have been engaging with the department and the minister, will not support these calls and indeed will distance themselves from such calls.”

He said there is a general understanding between the government and the TAU SA that, firstly, land reform has to happen and, secondly, it should be implemented in a manner that promotes economic growth, reconciliation and nation-building.

The impression that farm murders are connected to calls for the acceleration of land reform is a gross misrepresentation of land-reform objectives.

“There is no evidence at all that the murders on the farms have anything to do with land reform whatsoever. These calls can only be interpreted as an expression of their anti-land-reform stance,” Mohoebi charged.

“The department calls upon TAU SA to engage with these elements within its ranks to correct these misconceptions and to request their members to rather devise ways and means to assist in accelerating land reform within the context of economic growth and development.”

The South African Communist Party asked on Thursday for a police inquiry into the fringe group’s “struggle” threats.

The party condemned the utterances as irresponsible and aimed at stalling land reform.

“We therefore urge the South African Police Service to investigate these threats and take appropriate action as a matter of urgency,” the party said in a statement.
“We also call upon TAU SA to strongly condemn such statements.”—Sapa

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