While there is still no word from Patrice Motsepe about plans to continue with a fund for black farmers, AFASA chairperson Neo Masithela confirms that the association has not heard again from the mining billionaire.
Since Food For Mzansi first reported on uncertainty about the fund announced by Motsepe, farmers from across the country have been demanding answers.
Motsepe announced the multi-billion rand fund in October 2019 at AFASA’s Agri-business Transformation Conference.
Motsepe’s seemingly broken promise was meant to be discussed at an AFASA executive meeting scheduled last week. Now Masithela tells Food For Mzansi that, like farmers, AFASA too is eager to hear from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law.
“Dr Motsepe made the announcement voluntary with the intention of helping the country and industry. Hence, as AFASA, we will keep engaging him or his foundation and other good people like him to continue helping the industry and the country,” says Masithela.
Although Motsepe announced the fund at an AFASA event, they too were taken by surprise, says Masithela. “We were just as surprised by the announcement, like everyone else. It was the first time we at AFASA heard about it.
According to Masithela, AFASA has also not heard a word from the Motsepe Foundation since the announcement. He tells Food For Mzansi, “He has not made any contact with AFASA regarding the fund after that.”
Broken promise to black farmers
Motsepe’s promised farmer billions made nationwide headlines. In October 2019, shortly after the announcement, Masithela told OFM’s Christal-Lize Muller that the billionaire would partner with AFASA to improve the livelihoods of black farmers over a period of ten years.
Meanwhile Motsepe will soon be crowned as the new Confederation of African Football (CAF) president. He will officially step into his new job on Friday, 12 March. This, after Jacques Anouma, Augustin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya withdrew from the race for the biggest football position on the continent.
The victory also follows Motsepe’s ten-point action plan announced at the launch of his CAF presidential manifesto. Amid uncertainty about a so-called multi-billion rand fund for farmers, he vowed to increase prize money in major CAF competitions.
Masithela says it is unfortunate that nothing has come from Motsepe’s promise. “We were overjoyed when he made the announcement, and it was a great relief for black farmers because farmers need this kind of investment.”
In the last few weeks, Food For Mzansi has repeatedly reached out to the Motsepe Foundation and African Rainbow Minerals, chaired by Motsepe. They have not responded on any of our requests for comment on the matter.