Closing Down Of Siyaqoba Enterprises

5 June 2007

Deputy Speaker, it is with great pride that I say that the ANC has been true to the Freedom Charter by ensuring that the land is shared amongst those who work it, through government programmes such as Black Economic Empowerment that have seen a number of farmworkers given a chance to own land. However, it is a great concern to learn of the downfall of projects like Siyaqoba Farming Enterprises, a big company that used to own Ertjieskloof Farm near Bothaville in the Western Cape.

For the past five years, 20 previously disadvantaged people most of them farmworkers owned 55% of the enterprise and were working and living on the farm. Now the farm has been sold to two white commercial farmers because farmworkers were not able to maintain it. With the money owed to the Land Bank, and the farming operation having grounded to a halt, the farm had to be sold. This means a lose of income and accommodation for those farmworkers.

The situation could have been avoided if proper support and skills development was provided for those who were previously denied opportunity to farm commercially. Government cannot do that alone. It needs the assistance and commitment from the private sector. White commercial farmers who had over the years gained experience and skill in farming need to share skills with the emerging farmers through mentoring for the benefit of the sector and the country as a whole. I thank you.

ANC Whip

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