Home Food for Thought It Takes a Village Golf fundraiser boosts Free State rural safety fund

Golf fundraiser boosts Free State rural safety fund

If you ask any Free State farmer, they’ll tell you that, like golf, safety is a game at which you can never get too good. With this in mind, a group of financial advisors and auditors raised a whopping R175 000 to support a rural safety initiative

Free State Agriculture president Francois Wilken received a cheque to the value of R175 000 from Marinus Hoek, a director of the Bloemfontein-based Enslin Auditors. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Much like in farming, success in golf depends less on strength of body than on strength of mind and character. So, when a group of financial advisors and auditors banded together for a farmers’ golf fundraiser, they knew that every shot counted.

In the end, no less than R175 000 was raised by Agriculture.golf, a non-profit company, for the benefit of Free State Agriculture’s (FSA) rural safety fund. The fundraiser was supported by Opulentia Financial Services, Enslin Auditors and Velox Carriers.

Speaking during the recent fundraiser held at the Bloemfontein Golf Club, Opulentia’s chief executive, Ignatius van Niekerk, thanked the 40 participating teams for committing to the cause. In recent years, farming communities across the Free State have been at risk after a series of violent attacks and other crimes.

Not even stringent Covid-19 lockdown rules could dampen the spirits, said van Niekerk. “What makes this golf day [held on Thursday, 2 September] even more remarkable, is that it took place under level 3 of the Covid-19 regulations. It therefore limited the involvement of farming communities, participants and sponsors.”

Sustaining local economies

FSA president Francois Wilken, however, assured van Niekerk and budding golfers that the money raised would go a long way in building a safe, protected and secure agricultural environment.

Free State Agriculture president Francois Wilken. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“Agricultural producers and their employees play an enormous role in the prosperity of the country and also the sustainability of local economies. In order to ensure food security, the well-being and safety of the Free State’s agricultural producers and communities must be taken care of.”

Wilken’s statement was echoed by Jakkals le Roux, chairperson of FSA’s committee for rural safety. He vowed that the money raised would be used to train safety structures at ground level to help prevent crime in outlying areas.

“The training will be done in collaboration with LGV, a private security company, which trains instructors with standardised and accredited training courses and materials. The training will then be offered in all farming communities, which also includes reaction group training,” le Roux explained.

Agriculture.golf was established to connect the financial, insurance and corporate industries with agricultural companies through golf, a game believed to span geographical, language and cultural boundaries.

Besides the recent FSA fundraiser, it also supports agricultural communities with bursaries, drought-relief efforts as well as research and development work.

ALSO READ: ‘Farmers more likely to be murdered than police officers’

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