South Africa’s top commercial farmers have unanimously accepted a draft proposal that will see them handing over 20 percent of their farms to their workers.
The Mercury reported that the proposal was accepted at a meeting in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape last week.
The meeting comes in the wake of Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s call on farmers to come up with proposals to deal with the contentious land reform issue. The minister had earlier this year proposed that farmers give half of their land to their workers.
“We all realise something has to be done about the land claims. Farmers cannot continue with this sword hanging over their heads. What we are proposing is that each of us will give 20 % of our farms to our workers in return for a 40-year government loan (equitable to the value of the land) at 2 % interest.
While the money could be used for anything, we are confident most will use it to develop their operations further or buy other farms for development,” sugar farmer Charl Senekal said in the report.
Senekal chaired the farmers’ meeting. He reportedly has the most land under irrigation in the country. All his farms are reportedly under claim from land claimants.
Senekal said that the farmers – who have all been honoured with the Agricultural Writers’ SA Farmer of the Year Awards and farm between 2000-5000 hectares of land each – were all serious about the proposal. He, however, was concerned about government’s ability to furnish the loans.