From October 7 until November 6, the South African Communist Party (SACP) will run a month-long Red October campaign to demand “accelerated land and agrarian reform”.
Numsa will support this programme by holding political discussion forums in all its regions on October 30. (see box for details of the month-long programme)
Government policies strengthen commercial farmers
The SACP is concerned that government’s policies since 1994 have strengthened support for big commercial farms, especially those who export.
In 1994, government committed itself to redistribute 30% of the land during its first five years of rule. According to the SACP’s political report of August 2004, latest figures show that government has redistributed or restored to its rightful owners, only 3%.
But much of this 3% is not being farmed. These new farmers lack seeds, tools, tractors and skills. And government’s new Agricultural Credit Scheme cannot help. It targets ‘commercial agriculture’. It excludes small farmers and co-operative farmers.
Praise for pro-farmworker laws
The Party does welcome government’s laws that have helped farmworkers and their families. Farmworkers now have more security of tenure (the right to stay on the farmowner’s land) and must be paid a minimum wage.
It also welcomes government’s new AgriBEE Charter. This has set its targets at:
30% of agricultural land to be owned by black South Africans by 2014
20% available for lease
10% available to farmworkers for their animals or plant production.
Black farmworkers and rural dwellers in ex-Bantustans unorganised
But the Party is worried that because so many black farmworkers are unorganised into trade unions (only 17% belong to trade unions), that their voices will not be heard.
Another concern is that most of the rural population still lives in the former Bantustans and it too has no voice. Statistics show that these are still ‘dumping grounds’. The people’s income does not come from agriculture but from wages from those family members working in urban areas and from pensions – for old age or young children. Only between 10% and 25% of their income comes from farming. Almost half of all cattle are owned by the black (mostly African) population. But it only produces 5% of all red meat in South Africa !
The Party wants to see:
land reform for farmworkers, rural dwellers, rural women, the landless, the workers and the poor
access to productive land, resources and credit for subsistence and small scale farmers in urban and rural areas and the release of unused farming land to these people. And increased taxation on unused land.
farmworkers, the rural poor, people in agricultural co-operatives and on small-scale farms, uniting in land committees to ensure that their interests are met
a National Land Summit within the next 12 months.
Programme of action
From 10 October
SACP to hold farmworkers’ tribunals and mass meetings
Gauteng , KZN, Limpopo , Mpumalanga
SACP to launch Financial Sector Charter Campaign Coalition
Northern Cape and other provinces
Numsa to hold political discussion forums on the land question
All Numsa regions. (Get details from your nearest Numsa office)
SACP to hold marches
E Cape – march to provincial offices of E Cape Agricultural Union in East London
Free State – march to provincial offices of Free State Agricultural Union in Bloemfontein
Limpopo – march to provincial offices of Transvaal Agricultural Union in Polokwane
KZN – march to head office of Tongaat Hulett
Mpumalanga – march to provincial offices of AgriSA and banks in Ermelo
Northern Cape – march to provincial offices of AgriSA in Kim berley
North West – march to provincial offices of NWest Agricultural Union in Lichtenburg
W Cape – march to provincial offices of Agri SA in Cape Town .