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SONA: Three questions should be posed to Pres. Ramaphosa

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SONA: Three questions should be posed to Pres. Ramaphosa
1. Why do black farmers not receive title deeds?
2. Why destroy agriculture jobs through the new minimum wage?
3. How can government build new cities if current infrastructure is crumbling?

According to Free State Agriculture (FSA), these are the questions that arise from Pres. Ramaphosa’s 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA) address. In a statement today, the FSA raised its concern that the country is continuing a path of failed policy and unattainable

“Of all the issues raised such as property rights, unemployment and basic infrastructure and service delivery, property rights stand out as the centre of South Africa’s economic and social debate, yet the country was left with few answers after the state of the nation
address,” said President of Free State Agriculture, Francois Wilken.

“There is no way that EWC can speed up land reform! Expropriation even with compensation is a process of last resort when negations fail and is a long ugly process drawn out in the courts breaking down
trust and relations and placing huge personal and financial stress on the affected parties. This is certainly not the process to follow when building cohesion and unity in a country. It is definitely not the way “to build a new and more equal economy and a better, more just society” as said in the SONA. Secure property rights and policy certainty is the way to “accelerate our economic recovery” and “implement economic reforms to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth.”

The President boasted about the “transfer of 5 500 farms to 300 000 beneficiaries”. “This is not the reality. These beneficiaries do not own anything. The state owns their land”, said Wilken. “If property ownership is a government imperative, why do black farmers not receive title deeds?”

Pres. Ramaphosa exclaimed his commitment to job creation, however just the past week a new national minimum wage has been introduced. Despite all arguments, the economic reality is that higher wages are not affordable in a shrinking economy. As it where a farm worker earn more in a few days of work at a market related wage rate, than the jobless support they would receive from government. In economic times like these, the minimum wage has become a barrier to entry for both the worker and the (prospective) employer. Why destroy agricultural jobs through the new minimum wage?

How can government build new cities if current infrastructure is crumbling? Both municipal and provincial infrastructure such as roads, water- and sanitation services are crumbling across the country and especially in rural areas, because of a lack maintenance and good
management. The announcement to build new cities seems to be a tone-deaf elitist response to the service plight of millions of citizens. South African’s should not pay for these political vanity projects.

“As farmers and job creators we are more concerned after SONA 2021. Policies needed to support food security and property rights have been ignored. Instead, political ideology holds sway. The state has been weakened by looting and corruption. Clearly, we can expect this trajectory to continue. This means that the agriculture community will have to increase its leadership role in rural areas of South Africa,” Wilken said.