- Deputy President David Mabuza has spoken out against the spate of farm murders across the country.
- Mabuza said the lives of farmers, farmworkers and dwellers - as well as every citizen, black and white - mattered.
- He was responding to several written questions from MPs in the NCOP.
Following a spate of farm murders across the country, Deputy President David Mabuza says the most important resources in the agricultural sector are the people who live and work on the land.
Mabuza was responding to several written questions from MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday.
He said, through the inter-ministerial committee on land reform and agriculture, there had been a concerted effort by government to ensure the sustainability of the sector as the lifeblood of the economy.
He emphasised government’s position that the lives of farmers, farmworkers and farm dwellers - as well as every citizen of the country, black and white - mattered.
"While crime prevention is the priority of our police service, we draw comfort from the fact that where perpetrators are brought to book, our courts have shown their independence and capability to dispense justice to the victims of violent crimes such as murder.
"They are thorough and show no mercy to those who inflict physical, psychological and economic damage on the communities who put food on our tables and on the tables around the world. South African Police Services will continue to improve relationships with all constituencies in farming communities," he said.
Mabuza highlighted the 26-year-old pregnant mother and wife who was murdered at her farm in Weenen recently.
"Even in the observance of Women’s Month, we continue to be confronted with violence against women and children, naturally such crimes are indeed a cause for moral concern and societal outrage," he said.
Mabuza said agriculture continues to show resilience in the face of economic contraction and remains a pivotal part of South Africa’s economy.
Meanwhile, answering questions on service delivery in municipalities, Mabuza said that despite the nationwide lockdown, government continued to strengthen its effort to support municipalities.
"Municipalities experiencing severe electricity challenges, often as a result of excess usage of the notified maximum demand and failure to honour debt repayment to Eskom, are the foremost contributors to service delivery challenges," he said.
The political task team on Eskom, which Mabuza chairs, is looking into all the municipalities that are exceeding the contracted demand, with a view to resolving the negative impact on communities.
Mabuza assured the NCOP of government’s efforts to leverage partnerships and turn challenges that arise from the pandemic into opportunities to grow domestic manufacturing.INSIGHT | Farm murders and rural crime: Unpacking violence, race and statistics
In line with engagements with NEDLAC, Mabuza underscored the promotion of local production of personal protective equipment, manufacturing of medical equipment, and other goods that are currently in demand.
"It is a reality that trade globally has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is upon us to strategically use this challenge to grow our domestic economy and prepare citizens to be able to take up opportunities that may arise as global conditions for trade and investment are eased, including investing in the expansion of the country’s e-commerce capacity," Mabuza said.
Mabuza will also convene a meeting of the political task team on Eskom on Friday.