Mantashe warns farmers of 'Marikana'

2012-10-11 14:35
Gwede Mantashe (File, Sapa)

Gwede Mantashe (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Established farmers need to take emerging farmers under their wing to avoid a "Marikana" type of uprising, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

"Help emerging farmers... if you are not doing that you are going to have restlessness," he told the Agri SA congress in Muldersdrift.

Mantashe said the wildcat strikes across the country, including the violent illegal strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August, were not "merely about wages".

"We are not benefiting from the wealth of the country. Wake up."

Farmers must be part of change in the country, he said.

Black emerging farmers who had not previously had access to land, now lacked skills.

"The question of dispossession... is equally the process of de-skilling," he said.

Mantashe told the farmers there was no shame in state intervention in the economy, but said "wholesale nationalisation would be a disaster".

"You are not going to see a land grab without compensation under the ANC."

Instead land redistribution should be done to primarily favour food security.

"Everything else is secondary," he said.

He said land redistribution should be underpinned by improved efficiencies in the recapitalisation and development programmes offered to emerging farmers. At the moment, the programmes were implemented too slowly.

The land audit, being undertaken by the rural development and land reform department, needed to be completed.

"We must know what we are talking about, we must not guess," Mantashe said.
There needed to be certainty about land owned by the state, land bought for redistribution, and land that was "off the radar".

"I suspect that there's more land that has gone to those (black) farmers that buy farms privately than land that has been redistributed through the land programme."

Land bought privately by black farmers was not quantified, which was a problem.

Earlier this year, Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said the audit would be completed by June.

However, at the African National Congress's policy conference in June, it was announced it would be completed by December.

Mantashe called on Agri SA to give regular input to government to help shape policy.

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