Kwanalu speakers say farms not safe for women
1 Sep 2020
VICE-chairperson of SA Canegrowers, Dipuo Ntuli, has called on the government to act on the barbaric killing of farmers who “are slaughtered daily with no justice”.
She made the impassionate plea during Kwanalu’s Women in Agriculture webinar which was attended by more than 350 farmers yesterday.
Ntuli said the attacks on farmers — robberies and murders — were now a regular occurrence but the perpetrators were rarely brought to book.
“People who feed our nation, who assist our economy and the government by creating jobs for majority of our people, are slaughtered daily with no justice,” said Ntuli. She joined those who sent heartfelt condolences to the family of the latest victims, Glen and Vida Rafferty, killed in Normandien on Saturday. Ntuli also called for stern action against the perpetrators of gender based violence. She said the recent killings of six women in Mthwalume also touched the agricultural sector as their bodies were dumped in the local cane fields. She hailed the farmer who offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the killers.
Editor Denene Erasmus said not only were rural farming communities not safe spaces for women, but there was also a challenge of land ownership in communal areas. “The idea of living on farm on my own as a woman, honestly just frightens me. I just won’t feel safe,” she said. She added policy interventions were also needed on issues of land tenure in communal areas, as lack of tenure made it difficult for women farmers to secure investment.
Kwanalu chief executive officer Sandy la Marque echoed Ntuli’s sentiments on the call for law enforcement agencies to act on the attacks of farmers as well as women and children.
Agro-processing expert Mandisa Dlamini said the agricultural sector was still very hostile to women. She said there were men who still asked her what value she could add to certain programmes even though her record spoke for itself, but they would never dare ask the same from another man.
Other female farmers shared experiences about how they were undermined and even threatened by their male counterparts when they tried to exert their authority.
Image: Kwanalu CEO Sandy la Marque hosts the first Women in Agriculture Webinar in partnership with SA Canegrowers.