Charges against three South African farmers in Congo ‘nothing terrible’

Three South African farmers in the Republic of Congo have been suspended from operations, pending disciplinary hearings.

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The farmers are members of Congo Agriculture (CA), a branch of Agri SA operating in that country as part of an agreement with the government. The suspensions relate to incidents involving transgressions against the local population at the Village of Malolo 2. Details will only be released once the disciplinary hearings have been completed, but CA secretary Fred Daly said it was “nothing terrible”.

“There are allegations of misconduct reported by the Congolese against members of CA, but most of the matters are quite trivial.” One of the suspended farmers, Gideon Scheepers, said the complaints against him were because he was being held responsible for a labourer who broke his leg on duty. “One of the other farmers is in trouble because his friend’s dog caught one of the local’s sheep.”

CA said in terms of its agreement with the government, it was required to uphold the highest standards of ethical behaviour and uplift the local population. It was with due regard to this responsibility that these actions were being taken. “We also wish to assure all stakeholders that this project will be run in accordance with the obligations and that only accredited, skilled farmers with integrity will be admitted to take part,” said Daly. He added that the government was still happy with the progress the farmers were making and that the project was not in any danger.

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