Raak deel van oplossings, vra Wilken by Vrystaat Landbou kongres

Francois Wilken, President van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), het landbouers by VL se jaarkongres aangemoedig om deel te neem aan georganiseerde landbou en elkeen hul kant te bring. Foto: Frikkie Kapp

Raak betrokke en vat hande om die uitdagings die hoof te bied. Dit was Francois Wilken, President van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), se pleidooi aan landbouers en die sektor by VL se jaarkongres van 2019.

“As ons in landbou nie besef ons moet saamstaan nie, wag daar vir ons ’n helse verrassing,” het gesê. “Gaan ons terugsit en hoop iemand gaan probleme namens ons aanspreek of gaan ons konstruktief deel raak van moontlike oplossings?”

Wilken het ’n beroep op landbouers gedoen om na te dink oor wat hul rol in georganiseerde landbou is. VL se jaarkongres, wat op 7 en 8 Augustsus 2019 in Bloemfontein plaasgevind het, se tema was Wat is my rol as lid van Vrystaat Landbou?

“Hoe posisioneer ek myself om te oorleef, voort te gaan en ’n sukses te wees? Wat gaan ek doen?,” het Wilken gevra. “Ek hoor heeldag: Wat gaan julle (VL) nou doen? Wat sê julle? Ek hoor bitter selde: Wat moet ons nou doen? Wat kan ons nou doen om sake om te draai?”

Hy het landbouers aangemoedig om geleenthede te soek, hul gemeenskappe te help ontwikkel en druk op die regering te sit om dienslewering te verbeter.

Uitdagings

Volgens Wilken is landbou se grootste uitdagings eiendomsreg, onteiening sonder vergoeding (OSV), grondhervorming, veiligheid en die ekonomie.

Hy meen “feitlik alle grondhervormingsprojekte van die regering het misluk” en dat landbouers, landboubesighede – en organisasies verskeie suksesstories daaroor het, maar dit min aandag geniet.

Gronddebat

Prof Danie Brand, Direkteur van die Sentrum vir Menseregte by die Universiteit van die Vrystaat, en dr Frans Cronje, Hoof Uitvoerende Beampte van die Instituut vir Rasseverhoudinge, was die kongres-gassprekers. Hulle het die gronddebat en OSV aangespreek.

Brand meen die grondwet gaan wel gewysig word. “Die vraag is eerder hoe dit gewysig gaan word,” het hy gesê.

Volgens hom is daar egter steeds redes waarom ’n mens hieroor kan kalm bly. Brand het gesê dit gaan nog lank neem vir enige regsverandering om plaas te vind en dat ’n grondwetwysiging in werklikheid nie ’n verandering in die regsposisie van eiendomsmreg gaan maak nie.

Cronje is bevrees dat indien OSV nie getroef word nie, die land tot ’n toekoms van mislukking, armoede en chaos gedoem is.

Volgens hom is dit moontlik om dit te keer, mits sekere stappe gevolg en strategies tewerk gegaan word. Hy het gesê dit is belangrik om jou analise reg kry en ingelig te wees, om te organiseer, lyne in die sand te trek en te weet waarvoor jy staan, jou mandaat aktief te verdedig en druk op ’n ordelike manier toe te pas.

Cronje het gesê niemand gaan egter namens landbouers veg nie. “Die enigste mense wat julle hieruit kan kry, is julself. Dit is julle organisasie (VL) en julle bepaal wat daarin gebeur. Dit is ’n spieël en weerspieëling van jou.”

Several delegates were present and discussed important agricultural issues at the Free State Agriculture (FSA) annual congress in Bloemfontein. From left are Prof Danie Brand, Director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State, Dan Kriek, President of Agri SA, Francois Wilken, President of FSA, and Dr Frans Cronje, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Race Relations. Photo: Frikkie Kapp

Be part of the solutions, Wilken asks at Free State Agriculture congress

Get involved and join hands to overcome the challenges. This was the plea of Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture (FSA), to farmers and the sector at FSA’s annual congress of 2019.

“If we in agriculture do not realize that we have to stand together, a big surprise awaits us,” he said. “Are we going to sit back and hope someone is going to address problems on our behalf or will we constructively be part of possible solutions?”

Wilken called on farmers to reflect on their role in organized agriculture. The theme of FSA’s congress, which took place on 7 and 8 August 2019 in Bloemfontein, was What is my role as member of Free State Agriculture?

“How do I position myself to survive, move forward on and be a success? What am I going to do?,” Wilken asked. “All day I hear: What are you (FSA) going to do now? What are you saying? But I rarely hear: What should we do now? What can we do now to turn things around?”

He encouraged farmers to seek opportunities, help their communities develop and put pressure on the government to improve service delivery.

 

Challenges

According to Wilken, agriculture’s biggest challenges are property rights, expropriation without compensation (EWC), land reform, safety and the economy.

He believes “virtually all land reform projects by the government have failed” and that farmers, agribusinesses and organizations have achieved several success stories, but these receive little attention.

 

Land debate

Prof Danie Brand, Director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State, and Dr Frans Cronje, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Race Relations, were guest speakers at the congress. They addressed the land debate and EWC.

Brand believes the constitution will be amended. “The question is rather how it will be amended,” he said.

According to him, there however still are reasons why one can remain calm about this. Brand said it would still take a long time for any legal change to take place and that a constitutional amendment would not in fact make a change in the legal position of property rights.

Cronje fears that if EWC is not beaten, the country is doomed to a future of failure, poverty and chaos.

According to him, it is possible to prevent it, provided certain steps are followed and strategically worked. He said it is important to get your analysis right and be informed, to organize, to draw lines in the sand and know what you stand for, to actively defend your mandate and to apply pressure in an orderly manner.

Cronje however said no one was going to fight on behalf of farmers. “The only people that will get you out of this, is yourselves. It is your organisation and you determine what happens in it. It is a mirror and a reflection of you.”

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