Amid uncertainty about a so-called multi-billion rand fund for farmers, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe has now also promised to increase prize money in major Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions.
Motsepe, who is edging his way towards presidency of the football body, made the announcement during his ten-point action plan at the launch of his CAF presidential manifesto a few days ago.
In his opening speech, Motsepe said he was asked to run for CAF presidency several times.
“I said no because I’ve got enough challenges in my life. When I focus on doing something it requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. More importantly it requires tangible, visible and assessable progress,” the billionaire businessman said.
Motsepe noted the importance of improving the efficiency‚ administration and organisation of CAF’S competitions and said they would significantly increase the prize money of competitions.
And the billions for farmers?
While Motsepe’s promise of financial support made football lovers happy, South African farmers remain anxious to hear whether the multi-billion rand fund he promised in October 2019 actually materialised.
Motsepe announced the farmers’ fund during his keynote address at AFASA’s Agri-business Transformation Conference in Bloemfontein.
During the announcement, the founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals told attendees that farming was at a critical stage and noted that the involvement and participation of black people is important.
At the time, Motsepe said that details of the fund – a joint venture between the Motsepe Foundation and banks – would be announced soon.
Motsepe, the brother-in-law of President Cyril Ramaphosa, said that banks, agri-businesses and other industry role-players were joining forces to give black farmers access to finance and opportunities.
Sixteen months later and neither the Motsepe foundation, African Rainbow Minerals or AFASA have confirmed whether the fund was actually launched, or just another broken promise to farmers.
AFASA top brass to discuss Motsepe fund
Meanwhile Food For Mzansi can confirm that AFASA is set to discuss Motsepe’s promise of a multi-billion rand farmers’ fund at their national executive council meeting this week.
When previously asked about the fund, AFASA’s newly elected president, A.J. Mthembu, told Food For Mzansi he had no knowledge about it.
“I do not have any idea as to how that multi-billion rand (fund) from the Motsepe Foundation was dealt with,” he said.
Mthembu commented that the AFASA chairperson Neo Masithela and late Dr Vuyo Mahlati, who was the associations previous president and chairperson of Ramaphosa’s panel on land reform and agriculture, “interacted with the project”.
Whether the money actually materialised or not, could not be confirmed at this point.
Food For Mzansi also reached out to Masithela, but he too has not responded on numerous enquiries about the much-anticipated multi-billion rand fund.
Farmers who were among the nearly 200 delegates at AFASA’s three-day conference at Imvelo Safari, have told Food For Mzansi that the prevailing secrecy around the fund is rather weird.
A Gauteng-based farmer said, “Until today there has been nothing. The waiting has been too long. I don’t know what’s happening in this country.
“People talk about big budgets and then the money disappears. I don’t know what’s happening in this country.”
Furthermore, a Free State farmer called for transparency from both AFASA and Motsepe.
“Those who have been appointed to deal with the transformation and improvement of farmers must be held accountable.”