Organised agriculture is being wrecked

ANC is to blame for the collapse of the Rand

Duncan du Bois
Natal Witness
27 December 2001 E-Mail this page to a friend

For weeks we have been treated to an egg dance around the shrine of political correctness as to why the rand is in freefall.

Then last week, despite the urgency of the situation, we were told that a special strategy meeting would be convened in January to determine measures to rescue the rand. The tragedy of the fiasco, however, is that the ANC government is the cause of it, not the solution.

As this column remarked on December 14, international political mistrust of the Mbeki government lies at the root of our currency's crisis. While much is made of the "fundamentals" of the economy being sound, there are other fundamentals which are very unsound. Analyst Ron McGregor (Sunday Times, December 9) put it bluntly when he stated "the currency is on the skids because the management of the country is not in responsible hands". Essentially, of course, the comparative
'Organised agriculture is being strangled to death by those who seek only to occupy farms and not to continue their productivity.'
worth of a currency is a reflection of the confidence the business world has in how that country is being run. It's a perception formed from a cross-section of factors, not just one or two.

Mbeki's policy on and our proximity to Zimbabwe have been repeatedly cited as negative factors. Yet Botswana's currency has not taken the beating the rand has despite its SADC membership. The retirement of senior deputy Reserve Bank governor James Cross, the crisis in Argentina, the slow pace of privatisation and other flavours of the moment are routinely served up to explain the rand's woes. But all this tip-toeing around no longer has credibility. There has to be something more fundamental. In the global village the dissemination of information is vast and it also defies political correctness.

Although the National Land Tenure Conference held in Durban a month ago received very little local coverage, the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) has ensured that the various papers delivered at the conference were e-mailed worldwide to opinion-makers, policy-makers, bankers and investors.

It is from such sources that one comes to appreciate just how unsound, if not doomed, South Africa's agricultural sector really is. Yet the author of the chaos in this essential sector of life in South Africa is the ANC government itself.

'Organised agriculture is being strangled to death by those who seek only to occupy farms and not to continue their productivity.'

"Land reform is a failure as witnessed by the scores of farms destroyed through the government's irrational land distribution policy," stated Jack Loggerenberg of the TAU. These occupations destroy not only the value of the farms directly involved but also affect the values of neighbouring farms. As a result farmers are often unable to obtain bank loans to finance new crops. Selling is hardly an option because buyers are wary of such situations. Ultimately farms affected in this way end up as squatter camps.

"Incremental occupations are no better than outright land invasions," states Loggerenberg. Under
Zebediela, once the largest of its kind in the world, ... is in ruins today... its managers were replaced by people who had no farming experience.
current legislation labour tenants can acquire parts of a farmer's land. The farm thus becomes "spotted with shacks and rambling cattle". This First World/Third World patchwork, he contends, rates poorly on the market.

In his paper, Philip du Toit of the Agricultural Employers Association cites the trashing of several once outstanding agricultural projects as a result of ANC land reform policy. Zebediela Citrus Estate, once the largest of its kind in the world with an annual harvest worth R30 million, is in ruins today losing more than R35 million per annum. Taken over by the Agricultural and Rural Development Corporation, its managers were replaced by people who had no farming experience. Half the citrus trees have died and hundreds of employees have been retrenched.

The Lisbon Citrus and Mango Estate, once our largest exporter of mangoes, has met a similar fate. So has the Saringwa Estate in the Lowland which is now R17 million in debt. The Gillemsberg Citrus and Cattle Boerdery, once debt free and producing R14 million per year, has been totally plundered. This once magnificent 25 000 hectare gem is now a huge squatter camp. One of the largest pig farms in the country was also handed over in a ceremony attended by Nelson Mandela himself who claimed that the farm would serve "as a breadbasket of the community". Today all the pigs are gone and squatters are living in their pens.

Around the country examples abound of the systematic destruction of the last remaining food exporting infrastructure in Africa. As in Zimbabwe, the claim of "racial imbalance" in land ownership is a red herring. With the government owning around 25% of South Africa's land, there is ample land available for those who want to work it. But that is not being distributed. Instead organised agriculture is being strangled to death by those who seek only to occupy farms and not to continue their productivity.

This state-sanctioned mismanagement of so-called land reform is not only destroying food-production potential, it is also destroying confidence in the future. A recent survey by the TAU indicated
"South Africa's need for a change of government is becoming as desperate as Zimbabwe's"
that 35% of South Africa's 50 000 registered farmers desired to leave the farming sector for good. And who can blame them, seeing that the ANC government has proved incapable of protecting those who feed the country. More than 1 100 farmers have been murdered in the past 10 years and attacks continue unabated, a situation without precedent in the civilised world.

But it is not only the prospect of South Africa becoming another African basket case that is driving down the rand. It is a whole battery of ruination scenarios that is scaring off investors. These include what Tony Leon has called Mbeki's "inspired madness" as regards ANC policy on Aids, the R66 billion arms deal, rampant corruption and incompetence, collapsing health, education and social services, urban degeneration, crime and support for Mugabe's tyranny. They are the reasons the key players on the JSE have relocated to London and why there is such an unprecedented capital outflow. Ironically, in 1986, at the height of ANC-inspired sanctions and internal strife, the rand was never weaker than R2,25 to the U.S. dollar.

Two stark realities confront South Africa as 2002 dawns: the one is that there can be no rescue of the rand through the offices of those whose mismanagement of South Africa has brought about the currency's crisis; the other is that South Africa's need for a change of government is becoming as desperate as Zimbabwe's.

Previous Visitor Comments

Name Email Subject Location
Hi, I want to change my daheutgr’s milk feeds from a teated bottle to a beaker. She happily drinks water from a beaker during the day but will not take her morning and evening milk feeds from it. I’ve tried buying a special beaker and also spout inserts for the bottle but she refuses to drink any milk. Any suggestions will be gratefully received..thanks.I think a sippy cup is the same as a beaker: handles at side and a spout?

Oj vad he4ftigt med afrika! Min drf6m e4r att e5ka pe5 srfaai, e4r nyfiken pe5 om det blir ne5gra bilder he4r pe5 bloggen!

Kgaragara Thomas Mashiloane is the key
We generally have world class policies in South Africa but our weakness is implementation. And good policies without proper structural plan its a recipe for disaster.

concerned resident of ZB about the once biggest orange farm in the world!

Thomas Majakgaragara_at_gmail.comland reform policy failling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
am also worried as young agricultural economist looking at our farms collapsing,because our government gave us the farm but the fail to give us the capital and training to sustain the farm ,today we are the joke.May our goverment try to restructure its policies.

oracle 2010matlhalep_at_yahoo.comzebediela citrus farm
malope na u r an idiot if u dont know what to write please stay away from ths...stupidity is heredity

Tsietsi Chuenetsietsichuene_at_yahoo.comCollapse of The once mighty Zebediela
It's true what government did was right to give the farm to the community. The only mistakes that government does is to give land to people and do not train them. Farming is one field that is very critical because it produces food for the country. So we need to start engaging with various communities and make sure that the Dept of Agriculture really take training people very serious and put them on a programme that will later yield good results to emerging farmers.

Lebogang Community Upliftment
Our own orange farm falling, beyond our control is such a bad thing for people of Zebediela and South Africa as a whole. I was born and raised in Zebediela and the farm was our treasure. Instead of regreting and blaming, its time for us to make a difference.How we are getting it back and achieving more , is all up to us by uniting ourselves and working together.My contacts are 073 408 3967 / 078 344 7546. Thank you. Let us

George Camerongeorgew_at_turboweb.orgZebediela
I have read the comments that you guys left with keen interest. I am working for the community here in England where I live now and from experience I know that community cohesion is the spirit of the day if you want to achieve civic pride in your area. I think if you guys get together you may just overcome your fear of failure and if you stop blaming whatever the reasons or who is involved, you will succeed. Get together and work the land at Zebediela to restore it's pride along with yours. Your community will stengthen daily and your children will walk with their heads high with pride.

Lota kekanalota_kekana_zola_at_yahoo.comNot happy
Im not happy to see the farm that was one of the greatest farm in south africa collapsing so simple, why did the government give people who dont know nothng about to run such a big farm.

this farm have been replaced by unexperienced farmers because they told them selves that they won't allow someone from far to take over their land

Lehlogonolounleashurself_at_webmailbussiness plan about ZB
I hav read all ur comments on this page.So my plan is lets make a plan to bring our pride back once more.Lets group our selfs together the youth of ZB and make history to our great grand children.If interrested cal me on 073 3081 274 and will own the estate and rise it back
if you can just drive past what was then the world's biggest orange estate you will be shocked.I grew up there,we were proud to buy a bag of oranges everywhere in the world with a Ztag on the pride was swept away by selfih people

whata disgrace

i would like to say im also son of zebebediela,i was born there in 1983 and i have attended both my primary and secondary schools there.seing our orange farm folling infront of me its a pain that will take a very long time to heal and recover.after our government took the farm away from white....our black poeple did nothing to improve it,instead they helped it to fall and is dead and what have they benefited from chasing the white poeple from that farm,we black poeple must admit that we know nothing about farming.Zimbabwe chased white poeple from their farms and their country,now look what is heppening to zim.Disgrace.this is what Zebediela should have prevented,DISGRACE

We should stick together guys. There is no time to be hating each other because of our skin colours. Yes the ANC government is messed up but we as a people need to stand for our rights. Why don't the government just leave the farms the way they are and allocate cheaper land to those who want to farm? I don't see why a land that was unoccupied at first should be given to an individual with an ANC affilliation. They should focus on making children and South Africans at large more knowledgeable through education.

Motsepemotsepemaphoso_at_gmail.comagriculture demise
I am from zebediela. We have many farm from our land but they don't help us. there is mines but don't employ us. we are unemployed write now. you can help us with idea to be employed. thank you Motsepe Maphoso

andre de
i read your article about the collapse of the rand and farm lands in 2001. How are you saying now that the rand is back to where it belongs. You where saying in 1986 the rand never went below R2.20 to the dollar. Your reality was unfounded because during the appartheid years the true value of the rand was not known or was inaccurate. Sebediela is now back in private hands and the farm is improving by the day. we the white people we are unfair sometimes when we criticise the govenrment. When things are going well we say much, we only wait for disaster befire we comment. I belive that we arer all africans and lets put africa first.

George Camerongeorgew_at_turboweb.orgZebediela
How sad to see the decline of what was once an example of agricultural achievement. I was born there in 1954 and grew up on Zebediela. The happiest times of my life was spend there.I have the happy memories, but some people have to suffer it now due to politicians with brains that make two thick planks look like a computer!

Jaco now?
Yes Hennie, on the face of it you have a strong case, but I think your optimism might be a bit premature. Zebediela seems to be back in private hands, which accounts for its change of fortunes. Agriculture in general is however not off the hook yet. Just the other day they showed a farm (on SABC news nogal) which was taken over for millions and redistributed to so-called PDIs. Barely a year later there is nothing left of it. The govt is still adament to confiscate vast areas of profitable commercial farmland, so the future is not all rosy.

As far as the Rand goes, the govt position towards Zimbabwe is a major contributor to the volatility of the currency which is actually its greatest weakness. How can importers and exporters plan ahead if they have no idea where the currency is going to be a month in the future, what to say a year? And even now that all claim we have a strong rand, it is still weak and undervalued. More importantly, the slaughtering of farmers is still carrying on unabated - with the government unable, or unwilling, to put an end to it!

Hennie Bester now?
Now that the ZAR has recovered nearly 60% of its value over the last 12 months, I take it all of the above article can be stood on its head? So how would you rephrase the sentence: "Two stark realities confront South Africa as 2002 dawns: the one is that there can be no rescue of the rand through the offices of those whose mismanagement of South Africa has brought about the currency's crisis..." As to Zebediela: the future look bright - see Jaco, take this off your website, your being made to look an arse.

Adriana Stuijtadrianastuijt_at_hotmail.comZebediela
Do you have any new information about Zebediela except that the Limpopo government now wants to throw more about R3-million more at it? To do what with exactly?,3523,1288981-6079-0,00.html also see:

adrianastuijt@hotmail.comadrianastuijt_at_hotmail.comagricultural demise

P L E A S E   P A R T I C I P A T E

No active contact accepted
E-mail Address

Previous Article Austria, Zimbabwe - Different rules apply
Next Article Brilliant African synopsis by an honest journalist

HOME Top Back Print E-Mail Page E-Mail us Guestbook