Source: Agr SA media release, 12 July 2021, photo credit: BBC News
“Agri SA welcomes the president’s condemnation last night of the criminality and lawlessness unfolding in certain parts of the country,” says Agri SA president Pierre Vercueil.
“We join the president in condemning the actions of criminals and ask that the president’s instructions be implemented with immediate effect to prevent further criminality. Agri SA welcomes therefore the government’s urgent decision to deploy the Defence Force in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in support of the police.”
Parts of the country are currently under attack by criminals who are destroying infrastructure, with no respect for the law.
“This defiance should not be tolerated by the government, and we urge the police to use all their resources to prevent this criminality from spreading and to arrest the perpetrators.”
The criminal conduct is now also affecting agriculture amidst the peak citrus production season, with large volumes of citrus to the value of approximately R592 million having to be transported weekly to the Durban harbour.
“Any disruption could lead to financial losses for producers and will prevent the products from reaching international markets on time.”
Agri SA has also received reports that sugarcane fields and other crops have been set alight in KwaZulu-Natal. Producers are unable to extinguish the fires as they fear for their lives. The situation has also affected livestock farmers whose feedstocks have been set alight, while various sawmills have also been closed.
“Further reports indicate that the police cannot provide producers with the necessary protection and in some instances do not know how to deal with the situation,” says Vercueil. “Agri SA calls urgently on the minister of police to make additional police resources available in the province to assist the producers in preventing further arson attacks.”
The situation that South Africa is experiencing at present no longer has anything to do with peaceful protest but is being exploited to destroy the country’s infrastructure and threaten the lives of ordinary citizens. “Agri SA called on citizens to distance themselves from such criminal actions. We now need to build the country’s economy,” says Vercueil.