White commercial farmers form new organisation

Loughty Dube

EMBATTLED white commercial farmers have formed a regional organisation, the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance (Sacfa), to fight for their rights.



Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The new group, which includes members from the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and Justice for Agriculture (JAG), was launched last month in Bulawayo. It is also expected to draw members from Namibia, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.


The organisation will press for equitable land redistribution in the region.

Former CFU leader for Matabeleland province, Mac Crawford, was elected chairman of Sacfa, while well-known commercial farmer and rancher, David Connelly, was elected his deputy.


Other members of the executive include Nyamandlovu Farmers Association chairman Chris Jarrett and another Nyamandlovu farmer, Gay Wilde.


Connelly confirmed the formation of Sacfa, which he said was a result of a breakaway from the CFU by Matabeleland farmers.


“We were dissatisfied with the route the CFU was taking, so we decided that as Matabeleland farmers we should break away and since August last year we have been working towards an organisation of this nature,” Connelly said.


However, Connelly said the organisation’s focus was to co-ordinate commercial agriculture in southern Africa and said they would not dwell on the issue of fighting government over compensation.


“JAG is handling that at the moment and we are in total support of that but we have problems with the CFU because they want to take another route,” Connelly said.


Sacfa will also fight for a guarantee in respect of land title and an end to nationalisation of farmland.


“Sacfa will press specifically for a climate in which compensation for the devastation and losses caused to commercial farmers is paid and that those who caused these losses be held accountable,” the group said.


Former white commercial farmers are currently embroiled in legal wrangles with government over the payment of compensation for seized properties.

Matabeleland commercial farmers have been critical of the direction the CFU was taking in regard to compensation.