Mzansi’s farming sector is often overwhelmed with issues affecting the growth of the sector, however small victories and new developments do bring hope. These are the three things you should take note of happening in South African agriculture today.
SA farm crime statistics released
The Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (TAU SA) is calling on farmers to be alert and to work together in farm watches to strengthen farm safety.
TAU SA have reported in their mid-year crime statistics that there has been a decrease in violent crimes since the inception of the lockdown. The union believes alertness has led to the prevent of loss of life on farms and farming communities.
Between January and March this year, there has been 71 farm attacks and 14 murders, the farm watch organisation reported. Since then violent crimes started increasing to levels on par with those before the lockdown, and between April and June, there was 68 attacks and 12 murders under farm residents.
In a recent press release the deputy general manager of TLU SA, Maj-Gen Chris van Zyl, stated that effective resistance and the implementation of self-defence techniques lead to the death or severe injuring of various attackers.
In April, the TAU SA urged the minister of police, Bheki Cele, and President Cyril Ramaphosa to activate local farm watches after it was prohibited under lockdown levels five and four. South Africans could support the action by signing a petition. More than 10 000 petitions were sent to the minister and president, and farm watch patrols could presume in level three.
Van Zyl further states that, from what they gather from farmers who maintained proper levels of preparedness, attackers were not able to surprise them or catch them off-guard. “An awareness of strange or unnatural signs and immediate access to weapons prevented the loss of innocent lives and serious injuries,” he believes.
Victory for Overberg farm workers and their school children
Overberg farm workers have succeeded in securing school transport for their children from the Western Cape education department (WCED).
In 2019 It was reported that WCED stopped the transport for learners of the Emil Weder Secondary School in the Overberg which forced the parents to pay from their pockets.
Parents had to either pay a private bus to get their children to school or place them in the school hostel. Many children dropped out as parents could not afford the higher costs.
Forestry, and environmental management bills open for submission
Open invitations have been extended by the committee on agriculture, environmental affairs, and development planning of the Western Cape provincial parliament to stakeholders, interested persons and organisations to make submissions on the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill (B14D–17) and the National Forests Amendment Bill (B11B–16).
National environmental management laws amendment bill
The bill aims to amend certain provisions under the acts listed in the amendment bill related to protected areas, biodiversity, air quality, integrated coastal management, waste management and national environmental management, among others, in order to provide for clarity and textual amendments.
National forests amendment bill
The purpose of the bill is to amend the national forests act, 1998 (Act 84 of 1998), in order:
- To provide for clear definitions of natural forests and woodlands;
- To provide for public trusteeship of the nation’s forestry resources;
- To increase the promotion and enforcement of sustainable forest management;
- To increase the measures provided for in the Act to control and remedy deforestation;
- To provide for appeals against decisions taken under delegated powers and duties;
- To reinforce offences and penalties and to provide for matters connected therewith.
Agriculturalist and other concerned parties can have their say through written submissions or request to make a verbal presentation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail). The deadline for verbal presentation requests is 12:00, 17 July 2020.
Oral submissions are also allowed and can be done through leaving a voice note on WhatsApp, cell no 072 060 1064. Oral submissions must include full contact details (name and surname, email address and contact number) and a clear indication must be given of which amendment bill is being commented on.
The closing date for submissions is at 16:00 on 31 July 2020. For more information contact the procedural officer, Ms Shareen Niekerk on email@example.com