The Free State government has shown time and again that it has no seriousness in the importance of commercial agriculture.
Jan van Niekerk, provincial leader of the FF Plus, says in a statement that the rural security plan is not being implemented effectively in the Free State and farmers are finally relying on their own. The increase in farm attacks in the Free State over the past few months also indicates a crisis and that the government fails with rural security.
According to Van Niekerk, the provincial government also failed to seize the opportunity to apply for the drought relief funding that was granted, further testifying to the government’s inability to farmers and that farmers could not rely on government assistance.
Dévar Smit, FF Plus MPW in the Free State, meanwhile, said Free State farmers would not receive drought assistance in terms of the national disaster, because the Free State government failed to submit a business plan for the application of these funds.
“Until 5 June 2020, provincial governments had the opportunity to submit business plans after the national disaster state was announced on 4 March 2020. Meanwhile, the National Department of Agriculture confirmed that the Free State provincial government had not submitted a business plan by the cut-off date, ”Smit explained.
These plans are being considered for needs and the available R139 million allocated for the national drought has therefore been distributed among the provinces which did submit applications on time.
“It is regrettable that the Free State government did not apply because the Free State is regarded as the food basket of South Africa. Farmers in the Bultfontein district have been plagued by perennial drought for years and it is unacceptable that these farmers will not receive any relief because of the provincial government’s irresponsible actions. “
The provincial government’s negligent conduct and attitude towards commercial farmers can no longer be tolerated, Smit added. The FF Plus will submit a written question in this regard to the Free State Legislature and demand that the provincial government be accountable to commercial agriculture in the Free State.
“The FF Plus condemns the spate of farm attacks that have been going head-to-head in the province lately and the barbaric manner in which these attacks are being committed. The sudden increase in attacks in the Free State and the cruelty associated with it must be regarded and condemned as acts of terror, ”Van Niekerk said.
“The struggle that South Africa’s farmers are waging against the elements, especially taking into account the ongoing drought, is already a major struggle for survival. Moreover, they cannot be expected to wage a fight against crime. “
According to him, it is a shame that farmers and their next of kin must live in fear of the reality and inhuman way in which farmers and their families are hunted. “No person deserves to go through hell from trauma, pain and death from a farm murder.”
The FF Plus will not stop its fight against farm attacks and murders, demanding that the Free State government account for its drought relief negligence and encourage farmers to stand independently where the government fails to fulfill its duties regarding farmers’ safety come on.