He said the ANC had strayed too far from the vision expressed by Nelson Mandela who, according to Abram, “held farmers in high esteem and promised that property rights would be respected”.
Abram who served on parliament’s agriculture portfolio committee for 12 years is well respected in the agricultural sector. Acting in the best interests of farmers in parliament, he insisted that officials of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) be held to account.
He told Farmer’s Weekly that he had been side-lined by the ANC since 2011 when, during the DAFF budget vote debate in parliament, he delivered a critical assessment of the problems facing agriculture and DAFF’s inability to deal with these challenges because of poor leadership.
Abram said that he had been instructed by Luthuli House (headquarters of the ANC) to praise agriculture minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, and not to criticise the work of the department in any way. He said the past five years had been an absolute disaster for the agricultural sector because of the absence of proper leadership in DAFF.
“To my mind Joemat-Pettersson was never serious about sustaining and supporting the commercial sector. I am deeply concerned about food security in our country and if we continue on the current political path I must admit I have grave reservations about our ability to maintain food security,” he said.
Abram denied rumours that he quit the ANC after not being included on the party’s parliamentary nomination list for the coming election. “I did not leave the ANC for any other reason than this; I could no longer work with people whose integrity and truthfulness have to be questioned all the time.”