The African Farmers’ Association of South Africa says it felt pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s “frustration and deep pain” when he announced stringent new measures amid record covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.
AFASA’s newly elected president, A.J. Mthembu, says as a farmers’ organisation they stand united behind Ramaphosa who struggled to hold back tears when he pleaded with citizens to comply with covid-19 regulations. Mzansi’s infection rate hit the one-million mark earlier this week.
“For a statesman to lay bare his emotions, is no small matter. It takes a mature, loving, and caring president to do so. We have heard you, Mr President. AFASA pledges its full support to you, your cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council,” says Mthembu.
AFASA calls on farmers, its members and supporters nationwide to adhere to the new level 3 regulations as announced by Ramaphosa.
This includes a curfew from 21:00 to 06:00, business closure at 20:00 and jail time and fines for those not wearing masks in public. All indoor and outdoor gatherings, including faith-based gatherings, are also banned for 14 days.
Mthembu says, “Keep a safe distance, wear your masks, wash your hands, and sanitise. Let us provide our (agricultural) employees with the necessary PPE, information, and knowledge.
“In addition to these preventative measures, we should continue to provide psychosocial support to our employees for they are the very centre of our businesses.”
Furthermore, he reminders the agricultural sector that if they are to enjoy the fruits of their harvest and rewards of their toil, “we need to be alive, we need this economy to function, we need the customer to be there to buy our produce. Government is not perfect. It has and continue to do its best and so should we.”