Zokwana and Cele – the mind boggles!

You don’t need the Rosetta Stone to decode the message behind President Zuma’s appointment of NUM stalwart Senzeni Zokwana as the new minister of agriculture.

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It seems to me we’re seeing government breaking cover at last and showing all and sundry once and for all that agriculture is about politics, and not a matter of food security. This is a very dangerous game to play. It’s likely to polarise SA’s agriculture sector even further.

I wonder if the ruling party has even vaguely considered the effect of an overly politicised industry on food security, rural development and even political stability.

And Bheki Cele, the former police commissioner, as deputy!?! The mind boggles. What value on God’s green earth can this man, given his past shenanigans, possibly add to make agriculture prosper?

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Boet, as political analyst Piet Croucamp recently said, the commercial agriculture sector will have to think like technocrats if they want to protect their own interests over the next five years. In other words, farmers need to advocates the supremacy of ‘expertise’.

It is now more important than ever that organised agriculture works proactively and in cooperation, whatever differences they might have between themselves. Ja Boet, as Oupa used to say: NOW is always the best time to start working.

Please don’t think that I mean to imply that you shirked your duty in the past, but given these new appointments I think the time has come to up your game considerably.

I wish our farmers God’s grace and protection. And may my misgivings about the new political appointees please, please, please be proven wrong.

In the meantime, kop af en vorentoe!

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.