Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP
The DA expresses deep concern regarding the recent announcement of Botswana’s extension of import restrictions on fresh produce from South Africa.
We have taken note of Minister Thoko Didiza’s efforts to engage in discussions through the South African Ambassador to Botswana to address this issue. While we welcome this initiative, it is disconcerting that a meeting date has not yet been established.
Urgently setting a date is crucial, as farmers are already facing significant challenges.
They are producing goods for their markets, and those who have planted crops for Botswana customers are now unable to sell their produce. Adding to the complexity, South Africa lacks mechanisms to shield its farmers from such market disruptions, in contrast to Botswana and other nations that prioritise their farmers through rebates and protectionist measures.
The DA firmly upholds the principles of a free-market economy and discourages any form of anti-competitive market regulations imposed by trading partners. We call upon the ANC government to articulate its position on this matter decisively.
In a recent live television interview, Minister Didiza highlighted the challenges confronting South African farmers, including the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and animal diseases. These issues are compounded by the ANC government’s failure to proactively safeguard farmers from such shocks.
The root causes of the problems affecting farmers lie in poor ANC governance, lack of clear priorities, corruption, mismanagement, and inadequate geopolitical strategies. The ANC’s alignment with communist, war-mongering nations lacking respect for the rule of law further exacerbates the situation, negatively impacting our economy and contributing to rising unemployment.
The DA urges Minister Thoko Didiza and her department to collaborate effectively with Botswana to find a lasting solution for regional farmers. Additionally, we call for transparent and regular communication to keep both farmers and the South African public informed. The DA will be corresponding with the Minister to inquire about the expected dates of engagement and the actions she plans to undertake if Botswana persists in its current stance.