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DAFF's financing of De Doorns strikers and BAWSI wrong - Pieter Mulder

FF+ leader says govt's role is to regulate strike process, not get involved financially

Financing of De Doorns and BAWSI is wrong

It is not the task of the state or the department of Agriculture to distribute food parcels in the midst of a strike, such as the one in De Doorns, or to financially assist a civic organisation such as pastor Nosey Pieterse's BAWSI, when the funds are used for a strike. I am seriously opposed to it.

Striking is a negotiating method through which parties who seriously disagree with each other bargain in the search for acceptable solutions. The government's task is to regulate this process through legislation. To get involved financially in it, in the midst of a strike such as the one in De Doorns, calculatingly disturbs the negotiating process of the relevant parties. This is not the task of the state.

The department of Agriculture is responsible for managing the interests of commercial farmers, small-scale farmers, subsistence farmers and farm workers. Where this financial involvement had possibly in the short term assisted farm workers, the unforeseen longer term consequences will be to their severe detriment.

As a result of the events in De Doorns it is expected that South African agriculture will undergo a total restructuring in the next couple of years. Farmers will change over to less labour-intensive products, they will mechanise and agriculture will increasingly be implemented in the same manner as in countries such as Australia and the USA. When the consequences of this are calculated, it means that up to more than 10 000 farm workers will lose their jobs over the next two years and will be moving to cities.

If the boycott of South African products internationally, as was asked for by Cosatu during the strike, and large scale job-losses in rural areas will be the result of all these events, then agriculture in South Africa has regressed.

Statement issued by Dr. Pieter Mulder, FF Plus Leader , April 28 2013

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