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Zuma got cattle meant for emerging farmers

President Jacob Zuma received cattle intended for farmers as part of a R100 million scandal, according to a report by the Sunday Times.

Former OR Tambo district municipality mayor Zoleka Capa apparently gave the president around 50 cows between 2009 and 2014.

The cows were supposed to be part of an upliftment scheme for the municipality, which spent R62 million on a cluster of farms near Kokstad, and another R30m buying 1,800 cows and farming equipment.

Some of those cows were diverted to Nkandla, and the president’s kraal.

The Sunday Times reports that it covered a similar scandal in April, when former North West premier  Supra Mahumapelo gave him 25 Bonsmara cattle, paid for with money meant for emerging farmers.

My Take

I have previously pointed to a report about how land redistribution stalled under Zuma.

This is part of why I’m cynical about the land issue – because the mechanisms to support new landholders have been so thoroughly perverted under the current system that I have no trust in our politicians regarding a new one that essentially just gives them more power.

The major stumbling block to the current approach to land reform has never been compensation – but rather our ability to support emerging farmers so that they have a fair chance of success.

Realise an established farmer has more than just the land going for them, they have decades of relationships, finance and connections within the industry which in a crisis they can pull together to get things sorted.

New farmers come in at a massive disadvantage, farming is actually one of the easiest ways to go bankrupt, so when I read stories like this I see red.

Because I have moved in circles where racists have dismissed black people as being unable to farm, where the worry over land redistribution is that black people just can’t do it, and we’re all going to starve to death.

But is it really a fair judge of black farmers’ capabilities if the programs that are supposed to get those farmers established have been robbed by politicians?

Of course we have high failure rates – if the money that should have been spent setting those farms up goes to political buddies that’s going to happen. That money was set aside because it was needed.

Before we change the constitution, lets examine what isn’t working now so that when the time comes if we have to take drastic steps, those steps aren’t undermined by the same factors that undermine our current efforts.

Before focusing on the big issue, lets get the little things right so that when the time comes we can do that big thing right.

  • Picture of cattle courtesy of Pixabay.
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