Farmers in clash with government
Aziz Hartley, The Mercury
August 02 2010 at 07:27AM
Farmers are heading for a showdown with the government following heated arguments at a weekend summit on farm labour in Somerset West.
Agri-SA, a national body representing commercial farmers, quit a two-day government summit on farm workers at the weekend in protest against a list of "radical" resolutions which they termed as a "kick in the teeth" to the farming industry.
The adopted resolutions included a moratorium on farm evictions, provision of basic services, compliance with basic conditions of employment, a minimum wage and regulation of labour brokers. Agri-SA's participation is crucial to implementation of the declaration.
But Agri-SA dropped a bombshell when they stormed out the summit, calling the declaration a set of "pre-determined radical political views".
Things were going well on Friday when Agri-SA president Jan Moller, President Jacob Zuma, Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi and Premier Helen Zille all told about 1 100 summit delegates about the need to improve conditions on farms.
During their testimonies, three workers spoke of their terrible working conditions, abuse at the hands of their employers and years of work without benefits.
But on Saturday, as the programme director read out the resolutions from the commissions, Moller took to the podium and announced Agri-SA's withdrawal from proceedings.
"We cannot support the resolutions. It ignores the good relations between employers and employees. We've decided as Agri-SA that we will participate in other initiatives between ourselves and relative departments as well as government, but we've decided to terminate our (summit) participation with immediate effect," said Moller, who later called the declaration "populist".
He was loudly jeered and booed from the floor.
Approached outside, he said Agri-SA represented about 17 000 farmers. Their concerns raised in the commissions were ignored.
"We participated and made an effort to work together. But it is our view the resolutions are pre-determined and represent politically radical thoughts. If there is going to be tension between us and the government, it will not come from us. There is only so much kicking in the teeth commercial farmers can endure. We are not going to endure it forever," he said.
In his speech on Friday, Moller distanced Agri-SA from exploitation and said various forums had been invited to submit names of perpetrators, but no information had been received.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersen said about Agri-SA's walkout: "There is no need for us to air our differences outside if we have a platform to air differences in conference. That is why we have a summit. It does not mean we will agree with one another on everything. But we must agree to disagree."
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on August 02, 2010
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Agri-SA distances itself from Populist Gov. Resolutions
31 July 2010
Agri SA, Media Release
Agri SA distanced itself from the resolutions put forward for adoption at the National Summit on Vulnerable Workers in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, today in Somerset West. “We participated in good faith, but the Summit’s resolutions do not reflect the well-considered inputs of preceding Provincial Summits nore the presentations made by Agri SA in the plenary session and during the four commissions of the Summit during the last two days. It is clear to us that the outcomes of the Summit are aligned to pre-determined political views and aspirations rather than realities at farm level,” says Johannes Möller, President of Agri SA.
According to Möller, his organisation’s views and actions relating to farm workers will be detrimentally compromised if it accepted gross, unfounded allegations as a point of departure to give credibility to radical policy changes. Progressive farmers are losing faith in populist processes such as those experienced at the Summit. Agri SA will therefore consider other avenues for continued interaction with Government and other role-players regarding farm worker issues. “We regard ourselves as part of the future of South Africa and will continue to seek solutions to foster sustainable employer employee relationships based on legal compliance and ethical values,” he said. In his address to the plenary session of the Summit, Möller said that Agri SA remained committed to sound labour practices, rural development and the improvement of the standard of living of farm workers. “Farmers and farm workers work side by side to feed the nation and are dependent on each other for meeting aspirations and ensuring a safe and stable rural society.”
Agri SA acknowledges and supports the view expressed by President Zuma at the
Summit that “the collaboration of agricultural unions, especially individual farmers and other organisations, is critical.” In this regard, President Zuma referred to a recent fruitful meeting with Agri SA which will be followed up soon to improve service delivery, not only in the agricultural sector but also within rural development and land reform areas.
“Although, in the interests of all involved in the farming community, we could not support the Summit resolutions, I want to assure farmers as well as farm workers that we remain committed to a dispensation that will lead to an improved standard of living for everybody in the agricultural sector.”
Private Bag X 180
Tel +27+12 643 4300,
Fax +27+12 663 3178
Issued by Agri SA, Directorate: Corporate Liaison
Mr Johannes Möller, President Agri SA, 082 647 8481
Mr Anton Rabe, Chairperson of Agri SA’s Labour Committee, 083 453 3422
Mr Hans van der Merwe, Executive Director, Agri SA, 082 388 0001
Mr Johan Pienaar, Deputy Executive Director, Agri SA, 082 388 0006
Mrs Elize van der Westhuizen, Human Resources Manager, Agri SA, 082 388 0003
» » » » [Agri-SA Press Release (PDF)]
III. Population Policy Common Sense Principles
A. Thou Shalt Not Transgress Carrying Capacity Prophets:
(Excerpts from White Refugee Amicus to Concourt)
“Are we really going to be able to give these extra people jobs, homes, health care and education?” -- Official in Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, August 25, 2006
34. One of the most commonly used words In the Bible, Tsedeq -- found in Psalm 72, 85, etc; -- in its fullest sense, meant “world in balance” both ecologically and politically. This was not only the responsibility for the Gods, but also kings and people, and when this carrying capacity law was ignored or violated, Prophets Isaiah, Habakkuk, Joel, Hosea and Nahum warned of pestilence, war, famine and death.
35. In the The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia, Garrett Hardin writes that Tertullian, a Father of the Christian church shocked many traditionalists over the centuries, by asking why is the human population so vast [perhaps 150 million then] that we are a burden to the earth, which can scarcely provide for our needs?What most frequently meets our view (and occasions complaint), is our teeming population: our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly supply us from its natural elements; our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, whilst Nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance. In very deed, pestilence, and famine, and wars, and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race....
The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia; By Garrett Hardin [*Amazon*]
36. The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS, was an Anglican clergyman who thought that the dangers of population growth would preclude endless progress towards a utopian society. Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour, as did Rev. Martin Luther King, and the Public Affairs Commission of the Anglican General Synod of Australia, Key Issues for Australia’s future in the global context and actions for us to take, they argue the relationship between ‘Though shalt not steal’ to ‘Though shalt not breed’.
37. According to Robert McNamara, Former World Bank President: “Short of nuclear war itself, population growth is the gravest issue the world faces. If we do not act, the problem will be solved by famine, riots, insurrection and war;” and President Nixon:“We must help break the link between spiralling population growth and poverty. ...Where they have been tried, family planning programs have largely worked. ...Many pro-life advocates ...contend that to condone abortion even implicitly is morally unconscionable. Their view is morally short-sighted. ...if we provide funds for birth control ...we will prevent the conception of millions of babies who would be doomed to the devastation of poverty in the underdeveloped world.” [112
38. In World Scientists Warning to Humanity, Issued November 18, 1992, signed by 1700 leading scientists from 70 countries, including 102 Nobel Prize laureates in Science; Union of Concerned Scientists; they warned:The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluent is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. And we are fast approaching many of the earth's limits. Current economic practices which damage the environment, in both developed and underdeveloped nations, cannot be continued without the risk that vital global systems will be damaged beyond repair.
Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth.
Ecolaw 101: Laws of Sustainability: Ecological Social Contract
25. The 18 Laws of Sustainability were authored by Dr. Albert Bartlett, in Reflections on Sustainability, Population Growth and the Environment, republished in The Essential Exponential! For the Future of our Planet, which documents his assertion that, “[T]he greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” The laws detailed descriptions, and the Hypothesis, Observations and Predictions to define the term ‘sustainability’. The 18 laws are believed to hold rigorously, with few exceptions:
- Population growth and / or growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained.
- In a society with a growing population and / or growing rates of consumption of resources, the larger the population, and / or the larger the rates of consumption of resources, the more difficult it will be to transform the society to the condition of sustainability.
- The response time of populations to changes in the human fertility rate is the average length of a human life, or approximately 70 years.
- The size of population that can be sustained (the carrying capacity) and the sustainable average standard of living of the population are inversely related to one another.
- Sustainability requires that the size of the population be less than or equal to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem for the desired standard of living.
- (The lesson of "The Tragedy of the Commons") (Hardin 1968): The benefits of population growth and of growth in the rates of consumption of resources accrue to a few; the costs of population growth and growth in the rates of consumption of resources are borne by all of society.
- Growth in the rate of consumption of a non-renewable resource, such as a fossil fuel, causes a dramatic decrease in the life-expectancy of the resource.
- The time of expiration of non-renewable resources can be postponed, possibly for a very long time.
- When large efforts are made to improve the efficiency with which resources are used, the resulting savings are easily and completely wiped out by the added resources consumed as a consequence of modest increases in population.
- The benefits of large efforts to preserve the environment are easily cancelled by the added demands on the environment that result from small increases in human population.
- (Second Law of Thermodynamics) When rates of pollution exceed the natural cleansing capacity of the environment, it is easier to pollute than it is to clean up the environment.
- The chief cause of problems is solutions. (Sevareid 1970)
- Humans will always be dependent on agriculture.
- If, for whatever reason, humans fail to stop population growth and growth in the rates of consumption of resources, Nature will stop these growths.
- In every local situation, creating jobs increases the number of people locally who are out of work.
- Starving people don't care about sustainability.
- The addition of the word "sustainable" to our vocabulary, to our reports, programs, and papers, to the names of our academic institutes and research programs, and to our community initiatives, is not sufficient to ensure that our society becomes sustainable.
- Extinction is forever.
» » » » [Excerpt: 10-07-18: Citizen v McBride: 1st Amicus: Heads of Argument: TRC's 'Crime of Apartheid' is Falsification of History (PDF)]