Afasa KZN distances itself from 'show'

Afasa KZN distances itself from ‘show’

The KwaZulu-Natal branch of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa) has unreservedly apologized to those who witnessed an “unfortunate spectacle” during its recent annual general meeting and congress at the Durban ICC.

In a release issued by Afasa in KwaZulu-Natal, provincial chairperson Mbongeni Sikhakhane says it is unfortunate that a dispute between its mother body and the South African Farmers’ Development Association (Safda) have overshadowed the positives of the three-day event.

Tension between the organizations ended up hindering some of the sessions that were planned, admits Sikhakhane.

He says, “As [Afasa in KwaZulu-Natal] we feel that the issues raised by the unsatisfied parties could have been addressed in a proper manner and setting involving all members of the association during and after the AGM in formal discussions. It was totally uncalled [for] to attempt to stop all proceedings by shouting and chasing people out of the venue while the speakers were still on the podium.”

Sikhakhane says they hoped that all attendees were able to participate in all discussions and engaged invited speakers on matters that were on the agenda. “This was the ideal opportunity to voice out opinions that will contribute towards forming and solidifying a united voice for African farmers.”

He more references “interruptions and unruly behavior” during sessions held on both Monday, 17 and Tuesday, 18 October. This, he says, was specifically rooted in matters relating to the constitution and the Afasa national executive committee.

ALSO READ: Afasa reels after mass exodus of black farmers

Personal agendas at play

While Afasa in KwaZulu-Natal encourages members to share their views, it does not condone the way some participants expressed their distress during the last days of the AGM.

“We believe that these matters should have been approached in a much more constructive manner rather than aggression and disrupting the entire proceedings. It is of our opinion that some of the matters raised during the havoc seemed more like personal agendas than the interests of the farmers on the ground,” adds Sikhakhane.

As the host province to this year’s Afasa’s congress, they also wish to thank those who chose to stay and not entertain the disruptions.

“Your membership, sponsorship and support helps to advocate for African farmer’s interests and future investments. It is essential for all members, sponsors and participants to be aware that although Afasa is a non-profit organisation, we have a lot of members to account to and work with in establishing and growing the future of black farmers in South Africa.

“Therefore, it must be noted that the constitution cannot be changed and fixed within a three-day event. This requires continuous engagement and involvement from all participants, of which the AGM was directed at.”

Afasa’s youth desk exhibiting at the organization’s recent annual general meeting and congress at the Durban ICC. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Meanwhile, Afasa’s youth chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Andile Mcoyi, says one of its core values ​​as an organization is good leadership and integrity.

“Therefore, the future of our youth is bright because we are led by a great leader (Sikhakhane) that believes in unity and transformation. We would like to thank our Afasa president for his excellent leadership of keeping peace where there was a misunderstanding. To all our sponsors, stakeholders and commodities, our AGM and ten-year anniversary wouldn’t have been successful without your support.”

Sinenhlanhla Mngadi, the chairperson of Afasa’s women’s desk in KwaZulu-Natal, says the participation of women was notable during a robust discussion on possible amendments to the organization’s constitution.

“We are anticipating that the proposed changes to the constitution will continue to involve more women and we hope to see more women participating in various commodities endorsed and supported by Afasa.”

ALSO READ: Afasa breaks silence on ‘what really happened’

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