SOUTH AFRICA BULLETIN
from the headquarters of
TAU SA in Pretoria
Tel.: + 27 12 804 8031 Fax: + 27 12 804 2014
September 27, 2017
The Bulletin attached hereto is provided as a means to inform stakeholders of agricultural developments in South Africa. These International Bulletins are distributed at regular intervals and can also be found on TAU SA’s website at www.tlu.co.za.
TAU SA is the oldest agricultural union in South Africa and has been in existence since 1897. The mission of the union is to ensure a productive and safe existence for its members on the land they own. Current reality in South Africa indicates that this is not possible at the moment due to a variety of actions and threats against commercial farmers.
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The world watches as the painful extraction of Robert Gabriel Mugabe from the premiership of Zimbabwe trundles on, the coup that isn’t a coup. This kid-gloves sacking appears to be out of deference to a man who in fact single-handedly destroyed one of the most beautiful and prosperous countries in the world. His brutal legacy is well-documented yet his terror and relentless wreckage of a gem of a land went generally uncensored and unpunished by those Western countries, particularly Britain, whose punitive actions against the old Rhodesia’s European (mainly British!) settlers can only be described as iniquitous. Perfidious Albion indeed!
What warped idealism (or an unfathomable political correctness) would prompt the West to sentence a good country with millions of decent citizens to a slow death under a malignant and wanton dictator who ultimately brought Zimbabwe to its knees. What does the British government have to say now about repercussions of its 1960’s policies against that country? Is political correctness so mainstream that death and destruction are justified on its altar? Where now are the lords of Whitehall who sacrificed the lives of millions of Zimbabweans to poverty, unemployment and death? Didn’t they know what Mugabe was made of? Or did they, and didn’t care anyway, just to be rid of yet another “African problem”? Not satisfied with a sitting multi-racial government which may have had a chance of success, the West demanded, and got, Mugabe, and he became president in 1980.
The tales of Zimbabwean suffering are legion, and South Africa has been a next-door witness to this misery. This year alone, typhoid outbreaks have ravaged the country due to contaminated water. (In 2008 more than 4 000 people died of cholera.) Infrastructure has collapsed, corruption is rife. Many citizens of Harare the capital have not had municipal water for more than a decade. A shortage of drugs and basic health equipment has caused unnecessary deaths. There is 90% unemployment, while a quarter of the population has fled the country, many to South Africa where they inhabit the squatter camps surrounding SA’s cities. Others have turned to crime and now fill South Africa’s jails.
People queue outside banks to get their own money -$20 a day is the maximum allowed. Some sleep there the night before, to be first in line in the morning. The litany of misery is endless, while Mugabe’s lifestyle is so profanely profligate that surely the British government must bow its head in shame? Murmured criticism of Mugabe’s excesses is press-released, sanctions are introduced but this is the limit of anything punitive.
One is prompted to compare this softly-softly approach to the shrill frenzy with which Britain demonised those South Africans who dared to resist an ANC take-over of their country. SA was flavor of the month at the United Nations as resolution after resolution was passed to sanction and strangle South Africa. The country caved in to an eventual 23 years of destruction under an ANC kleptocracy. The British media revelled in SA’s violence and scorned our efforts to try and solve a problem the British would never have to face. So then where was their righteous indignation about Zimbabwe?
Eighty percent of Zimbabwe’s food is imported, which brings us to the nub of the most serious problem of all – agriculture. Mugabe’s ruthless sacking of white farms, the torture and killing of farmers and their staff and the displacement to abject poverty of millions of farm workers was the pivotal fall from the precipice to the hell that is today’s Zimbabwe.
The first white hunters, traders and missionaries who, in the 19th century, came to the region that was to become Rhodesia and subsequently Zimbabwe, found a land devoid of infrastructure. The wheel was not yet in use. There were no roads or railways, no electricity or telephones, no fences, boreholes, pumps, windmills, dams, irrigation schemes, cattle dips, barns or other farm buildings when commercial farming started in the 1890’s.
These first farmers had to discover how to contend with predators that killed their livestock and other animals that consumed their crops; they learnt how to control diseases, pests and parasites of livestock and crops that were foreign to them. The local climate, soil and vegetation were completely foreign to them.
From this starting point, fraught with difficulties, agriculture developed faster than it had anywhere else in the world. In many cases, yields per hectare and quality equalled or bettered those in the developed world.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Year Book of 1975 ranked the then Rhodesia second in the world in terms of yields of maize, wheat, soybeans and groundnuts, and third for cotton. In the combined ranking for all these crops Rhodesia ranked first in the world. Some of these rankings were in fact reached long before 1975. Rhodesia’s Virginia tobacco was rated best in the world in yield and quality, while maize entries in world championships were consistently placed in the first three places.
The world’s largest citrus producer was developed early in the country’s history. The highest quality of breeding stock of numerous breeds of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry were imported. At the same time, the indigenous cattle herds were improved through breeding and selection to highly productive breeds.
Zimbabwe was the world’s second largest exporter of flue-cured tobacco. This together with exports of maize, soybeans, cotton, sugar, coffee, tea, fruit, vegetables, flowers and beef MADE AGRICULTURE THE MAJOR SOURCE OF FOREIGN CURRENCY.
Current media comments about Mugabe’s incipient demise declare that Zimbabwe was known as “the breadbasket of Africa” without anyone ever stating that this was because of the country’s mainly European commercial farming sector. It seems that no one will give credit to these farmers (and indeed to South Africa’s commercial farming sector). There appears to be a mental media bloc when it comes to acknowledging the crucial role of whites in both Zimbabwe and South Africa’s development from rural African environments to first world status. Is acknowledging the pivotal role of Europeans in these two countries associated with some sort of taint? And if so, why? One corollary of this is that South Africa is now virtually ignored by the world’s media in terms of reporting on ANC destruction and corruption, despite the fact that most of the victims are black!
Mugabe was allowed to not only get away with murder by the international community: he got away with genocide. Whitehall said little: there were some sanctions and freezing of bank accounts, but he was never hauled before the UN Security Council for censure. Washington did even less. (But Britain was quick to sanction the Smith government!)
In May 2015, documents were released showing Mugabe had ordered the 2005 Gukurahundi massacre where more than 20 000 mainly Matabele tribesmen were murdered by Mugabe’s feared Fifth Brigade, trained by North Koreans. From January 1983, a campaign of terror raged across Zimbabwe to prevent any opposition to Mugabe getting off the ground.
Who can forget the TV images of his gangsters invading white farms, slaughtering domestic and farm animals, torching farmhouses and chasing whites and their staff off the land? Where was the castigation from Lords Soames and Carrington?
During the current celebratory taking to the streets of ordinary Zimbabwe citizens, one lady told the world that no one was going to stop them getting rid of Robert Mugabe – “Get out of the way Mr. Zuma, the African Union and the others. You watched and did nothing when we were tortured and killed by Mugabe’s thugs. We remember that”, she said. The world is unfortunately full of Mugabe’s but those who unleashed this particular one on a once prosperous country should be named and shamed. They should be held accountable.
Liberation is a misnomer, as is the concept of democracy in many parts of the world, particularly in Zimbabwe.