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The voice of commercial farming in the Free State

Free State Agriculture news

FSA questions Government's sincerity regarding land ownership 

Government’s land policy, as tool to increase individual land ownership in South Africa, cannot be taken seriously. This is the view of Free State Agriculture after the recent publication on the Expropriation Bill. According to FSA President, Francois Wilken, the new Expropriation Bill threatens all South Africans' rights to own property.

Specifically, the property rights of poor and marginalised communities will be undermined. 

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Roads infrastructure crumbling following heavy rain
A road in the Bultfontein area has collapsed, following heavy rains in the area during January.
Free State Agriculture (FSA) has warned that the Free State province’s road infrastructure is in a dire state.

FSA has directed an urgent letter to the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport requesting urgent actions to repair roads for critical access.

This action comes as the recent flooding in the province has caused severe damage to Free State roads. In recent years roads in the Free State have been very poorly maintained. The recent extreme downpours have resulted in many roads and bridges being washed away or rendered impassable. This situation represents a breakdown in critical infrastructure required for continued economic activity in rural areas.
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Increase in farm attacks and murders in Free State during 2020

An analysis by Free State Agriculture found that the province was target of 72 farm attacks including 12 murders, which took place on agricultural land between 1 January and 31 December 2020. 

There is an increase of 9 farm attacks (12.5%) that include 1 murder, in the 2020 calendar year;
Thirty-seven (37) towns' farming communities experienced farm attacks in a calendar year;

Prevention of farm attacks: 25 farm attacks were prevented in the calendar year 2020 due to proactive information that was liaised between farming communities and the police;

High crime areas with regard to farm attacks and murders identified as Bloemfontein (11 farm attacks largely on smallholdings in Bainsvlei, Bloemspruit, Navalsig and Park Road); Hobhouse (4), Marquard (3), Odendaalsrus (3 with 2 murders), Theunissen (3) and Virginia (3);

Day of Week: 41.67% of murders and 28.33% of attacks took place on a Monday – 48.33% of attacks took place over weekends (Fridays to Sundays);

Time periods: 50% of murders occurred between 18h00 and 22h00; 53.33% of attacks occurred from 18h00 to 23h59, thus 78.33% during nightly hours;
Month of the year: In October most of the murders occurred with 3; November had most of the attacks namely 8; from June farm attacks and murders escalated up to November 2020;
Day of the Month: From the 5th to 9th and 25th to 30/31st of the month 3 murders occurred each; from the 25th to 30/31st, 30% of the attacks occurred;
Victims: 100 persons became victims of farm attacks whilst 13 in murders; 4 deceased was older than 60years of age, whilst 3 was between 50-59; the oldest producer murdered was 81 years old whilst the youngest victim was 21; 5 producers, a producer’s wife and son, 2 upcoming farmers, 4 workers/foremen/security guards were murdered on agricultural land;
26 workers/foremen/security guards, 25 producers, 2 upcoming farmers, 1 livestock speculator, 5 persons living on farmers / smallholdings and 1 incident whereby a producer and workers were both attacked, occurred on agricultural land; in 10 attacks wives of producers or workers were attacked, in 5 incidents children became the victims of farm attacks; most victims (22) were 30-39 years old followed by 14 between the age of 40-49 whilst 19 victims were older than 60year of age;
Attackers: In 6 farm murders between 2-3 attackers, in 63.33% of attacks 2-3 attackers whilst in 15 attacks between 4-6 attackers executed such attacks;
Instrument used: in 66.67% of murders firearms were used to kill victims (shot); in 58.33% of attacks, attackers used firearms;
Items robbed: In 3 murders nothing was robbed; in 3 it is not known whether anything was robbed; 48.33% cell phones were robbed followed by cash, firearms and in 9 attacks livestock and vehicles; in 8 nothing was robbed due to the quick reaction from victims/inhabitants and or support base;
Where were victims attacked? 75% of murders were executed outside homesteads; 21 victims were attacked outside their homes when arriving home; 21 inside houses with forced entry;
Injuries: In 62.5% of attacks and murders, victims were murdered or seriously wounded (mostly head injuries);
Arrests: 50% of murders and in 23.33% of attacks, arrests were executed.

No final decision yet regarding National Minimum Wage
A recommendation regarding the adjustment of the National Minimum Wage was made by the National Minimum Wage Commission to the Minister of Employment and Labor in late 2020.

The process also provided for comments on the recommendations. Free State Agriculture (FSA) together with Agri SA submitted written comments on the recommendations.

Gernie Botha, legal adviser of FSA mentions that the comments contained objections regarding the proposed adjustment which in effect causes ʼn 16% escalation. In the current financial situation, this recommendation could not be supported and hence the objection to the recommendations.

Botha mentions that no final feedback has yet been received regarding the proposed adjustment and will have to wait until more clarity emerges.
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