ACDP: Govt has failed Free State farmers

Free State Agriculture had to take the government to court to ensure the safety of farmers and farm workers because the government had failed them, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said on Thursday.

“Safety is a constitutional right. A Constitution not being applied is not worth the paper it is written on,” said the ACDP’s provincial leader, Casper Nordier.

About 300 Free State farmers along the Lesotho border announced on Wednesday that they were taking legal action against the government.

Free State Agriculture has threatened the government with court action for the past three years because of the deteriorating crime situation along the province’s border with Lesotho.

“We will go to the Free State High Court to see what the courts have to say on the border situation,” said Louw Steytler, Free State Agriculture’s president.

The ACDP said the Bill of Rights guaranteed the right to safety, and to achieve a viable economic existence, and that was all being undermined by “insufficient border safety”.

“From court rulings in countries from which South Africa borrowed heavily for the compilation of the Bill of Rights, such as India, it is clear that the right to life is also interpreted as the right to a proper quality of life.”

Nordier said statistics also revealed that the livestock of upcoming farmers was often stolen during raids.

“The problems now arising with the withdrawal of the South African National Defence Force from the borders as well as the disbandment of the Commandos had been brought to the attention of the government by relevant role players, including the ACDP, over and over again.”

The ACDP said it was “crying shame” that someone had to approach the courts to force government to do its duty.—Sapa

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