Cape Town - The drought in South Africa presents the biggest natural disaster in 30 years with job losses, further economic decline and social instability being core to this reality, Johannes Moller, president of Agri SA, warned on Wednesday.
"Poverty and food insecurity present an actual desperate condition for all South Africans. Our economy and international standing is the worst it’s been in 22 years since the advent of democracy," he said.
"Low economic growth and high inflation, coupled with a dismal rand, create a challenging macro-economic environment. The world does not trust us any more.”
In his view SA is currently a tinderbox with various risks playing out.
Apart from the impact of the drought, Moller regards violent crime as a key factor in building the potential perfect storm in the country.
He believes violent crime in general, and on farms in particular, is reaching epidemic proportions and "getting more serious ever day".
He urged government not to stand by and watch as rural communities, farmers and farm workers "are being plunged into violence at unacceptable levels".
"Something has to give if the current crime situation continues,” cautioned Moller.
"Government’s divisive statements are further polarising our communities, and as South Africans this does not assist in uniting our people."
He called for a respect for the constitution and the rule of law.
"Unqualified statements that refer to vast tracts of land that were stolen by farmers are factually incorrect and do not add to the ethos and letter of our constitution," said Moller.
"We as citizens have to refute these statements and work together to position alternatives. Now is not the time to panic and to make strategic blunders, now is the time to focus, be calm, work together as South Africans and build the economy."