Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Written evidence submitted by TAU SA

1.  INTRODUCTION

  TAU SA, formerly Transvaal Agricultural Union, is the oldest agricultural union in the Republic of South Africa having been established in 1897. Since its inception, it has been in the forefront to maintain commercial agriculture in the interest of economical stability and food security in South Africa.

2.  TAU SA'S CURRENT STANCE

  TAU SA is ferverently in favour of:

  2.1  The maintenance of RSA's food- and fibre production capability.

  2.2  The economical sustainment of commercial agriculture.

  2.3  The willing seller—willing buyer principle as the only way in which property can exchange.

  2.4  Ensuring a safe and secure environment within which commercial farmers, their families and employees may live and work without fear of theft and violent criminality.

  2.5  Respect for property rights and legal ownership of property.

  2.6  Payment of taxes and levies based on provision and quality of services rendered by local-, provincial- and national government.

3.  CURRENT REALITY

  3.1  The Amendment Bill on the Restitution of Land Rights seriously threatens property rights and ownership of land. Owners affected by expropriation have no recourse to a court of law except to challenge remuneration.

  3.2  Commercial agriculture, and thus South Africa's ability to produce food for the populace, is seriously jeopardised. Very few, if any, farms which have been transferred to land claimants, have been successful commercial enterprises. Many such farms have been utilised as squatting areas.

  3.3  Commercial farmers are faced with unprecendented crime in rural areas. Notwithstanding stock- and game theft, theft of produce, fuel and equipment, more than 1,600 farm dwellers have been murdered since 1991. This represents in excess of 8,000 attacks on rural dwellers.

  3.4  The realities of South African history are deliberately extorted beyond recognition only to accommodate a specific political parties ideology.

  3.5  Commercial landowners have already been unilaterally deprived of original mineral and water rights. This in effect constitutes alienation of property through a process of nationalisation.

  3.6  Commercial farm owners are subjected to a range of local taxation for services not rendered. The scale of such taxation by far exceeds viability of economic sustainable commercial enterprise of commercial farming.

  3.7  Notwithstanding Constitutional guarantees, citizens of European extraction are in the process of being sidelined from general economic activity in the country of their birth.

  3.8  The Landless Peoples Movement (LPM), affiliated to the National Land Commission (NLC) and sponsored by foreign donors, including British institutions, has openly threatened farmers through the media with violence and death, but instead of being charged appropriately, received an urgent audience with the Minister of Land Affairs, elevating the LPM in status to an unacceptable level.

  3.9  In a documentary shown by the BBC, farmers are portrayed as barbaric racists, guilty of inhumane behaviour. Irrespective of written complaints directed at the BBC, no supportive facts have been produced, in fact no response from the BBC has been received, and the clear incitement of racial anger and hatred goes unchallenged.

  3.10  Countless, if not all of Government land reform projects have resulted in failure, poverty traps for the people supposed to benefit from it and the total destruction of once successful business units, simply due to untrained people being settled on developed land, without any assistance by Government, left to fend for themselves. In many cases the former landowners has come to their rescue.

  3.11  The land obtained from successful producers of food and fiber under the threat of expropriation and other forms of intimidation, lie fallow, whilst the previous owners are struggling to start a new career and the claimants are left to fend for themselves.

  3.12  Many farms are available on the open market at acceptable open market prices, whilst State owned land are simply left unused, or under utilized. Government nevertheless insists on threatening and intimidating farmers with threats of expropriation if they do not co-operate within the Department of Land Affairs' process of redistribution and resettlement.

  3.13  The sweeping expropriation powers now obtained by the Minister of Land Affairs, reminds strongly of Zimbabwe in 1991. The same powers were given to individual ZANU PF Party leaders and the consequences are clear for all the world to see.

  3.14  TAU SA intends avoiding a similar situation in South Africa, with or without Government assistance. That situation is not limited to the violent take over of agricultural land. It is neither the attack and murdering of farmers. South Africa has more experience of both since 1994 than Zimbabwe.

  The Zimbabwe situation is:

  3.14.1  An inflation rate of well over a 1,000%;

  3.14.2  Total collapse of the national economy;

  3.14.3  A starving populace and collapse of health services;

  3.14.4  Collapse of law and order;

  3.14.5  State security forces applied to subdue the populace and keep the ruling party in control;

  3.14.6  Food used to victimise the opposition party members, or even as a form of ethnic cleansing;

  3.14.7  Total destruction of fauna and flora and infrastructure;

  3.14.8  A dictatorship/one party state.

4.  Revolutions in Africa has very distinct phases and is only completed once the final phase is in place.

  These phases are:

    (a)

    Destabilisation;

    (b)

    Democratisation;

    (c)

    Transformation;

    (d)

    Domination.

5.  SOUTH AFRICA TODAY

  Is at present a considerable way into the third phase.

  5.1  Irrespective of what we envisaged and prayed for before and immediately after 27 April 1994, South Africa is proving to be no different from other African countries. There was considerable hope for Zimbabwe prior to 1999, but cycle had to be completed. We know the outcome. Compare Zimbabwe before 1999 with South Africa today and the parallels are distinctly clear. President Mbeki's support of Mugabe is a contentious issue, here and in Britain and USA.

  5.2  The recorded history of Southern Africa, albeit done by so-called colonialists and kept in European archives, are blatantly swept away. The land to which only the Khoi and San peoples can historically and rightfully lay claim, is now under siege of the so-called majority. They, the Koi and San descendants, are left only a reservation in the Kalahari Desert, simply because they are a minority. All other ethnic groups, if the same rules apply, shall be regarded as "settlers" and the question that needs to be answered, is to define the term "indigenous" or "endemic".

  5.3  Universally recognised treaties dating back to the nineteenth century are documented and kept in archives and form part of the historical records in Britain and elsewhere. Nevertheless, land claims even on that specific land has been instituted and such treaties are simply ignored.

  5.4  The European descendants, the farming stock of South Africa are now to lose their property, their farms and only source of income. They are even labeled by President Mbeki as colonialists, invaders and landgrabbers. They are continuously branded as thieves, racists and oppressors. They are made to feel extremely unsafe and unwelcome in their country of birth. They are slowly but surely driven out of Africa. They are a minority.

  5.5  Would the same rules apply to the Caucasians of the United States of America, or the Australian and New Zealand citizens of British descent?

  5.6  If the same rules apply internationally, South Africans of European descent could lay claim to the land of their European ancestors. Would that be acceptable for the respective countries of origin?

6.  APPEAL

  6.1  We need to avoid the stage where South Africa will become another (the final!) basket case of Africa.

  6.2  The truth of what is happening in Southern Africa needs to be told. Turning a blind eye, or supporting the processes, has only one outcome. Extreme poverty, famine and destruction of a wonderful country, (developed to first world standards, with the assistance of western countries, especially Britain). detrimentally affecting all who live in it.

  6.3  TAU SA urgently requests the opportunity to raise these issues with yourselves and other influential institutions. We need to influence our Government to reconsider its actions and rather utilise existing market powers to bring wealth and prosperity to Africa.

  6.4  TAU SA has no political goals or intentions. It is an established agricultural organisation and believe that the answer to Africa's dilemma lies in sufficient food and fibre, jobs and housing, a safe environment, law and order, effective health care systems, equality and respect for all cultures and ethnic groups, the creation of wealth through a free market system, with as nucleus, the protection of, and respect for private property rights.

    WE ARE STARTING WITH OUR OWN COUNTRY, SOUTH AFRICA, AND INTEND CONTRIBUTING TO THE SAME FOR THE REST OF OUR CONTINENT. WE NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE TO ACHIEVE THAT.

TAU SA





 
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