Open letter: Mr. President, we will continue to work hard


Mr. President

We noted with disbelief the comments you made during the closing remarks of the 26th National Conference of the ANC Youth League on 2 July 2023, in which you urged young South African citizens to become militant revolutionaries.

It took us a while to decide on a civilized response. For us, our members and supporters, and most South African citizens, such a statement is absolutely irresponsible. As the president of a country, you should know better than to encourage violence from a public stage. But since you made the comments, you obviously don’t understand why it would be considered inflammatory.

TLU SA represents commercial farmers in South Africa. Our members are vulnerable to violent attacks by criminals on their farms and in their homes. Crime is indeed out of control – a big blot on your government’s effectiveness – across the country, but the attacks on farmers are often more violent and senseless. Farmers, their families and workers who survived attacks report that attacks increase after political leaders make inflammatory statements. These attacks are often not aimed at stealing possessions, money or farm equipment, but with the primary aim of injuring and/or killing. They either want to take revenge or eliminate an enemy.

However, farmers are not the enemy. Your government is the real enemy of all citizens. In the thirty years in which the ANC has attempted to lead the country, we have seen corruption and fraud increase. Our infrastructure is collapsing. Our state entities are failing. Crime is out of control. Unemployment rises quarter after quarter. Children in fourth grade cannot read and only need 30% to pass matric. Our economy is so weak that companies do not want to invest here. We can go on listing all your failures, but as the president of the country you should be fully aware of the disastrous state of South Africa.

The country only functions because of the private sector, including farmers, and their plans to keep it going, despite your government’s countless attempts to make it harder to survive as a business.

To a reasonable person it would be obvious why our members would be upset when you encourage militant action – while we do everything in our power to put food on the tables of all South African citizens to keep

We will not undertake any militant action. We will not teach our children to take revolutionary action.

We will continue to work hard and earn what we work for. We will continue to teach our children to take care of themselves and not claim privileges.

We will continue to make plans to survive. We will continue to teach our children to be innovative.

We ask that you also consider and reflect on what your young people are learning.

With kind regards,
Benny van Zyl
General Manager: TLU SA