AgriSA President Dan Kriek
AgriSA president Dan Kriek met President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town on Tuesday, while the organisation's CEO, Omri van Zyl, held talks with Deputy President David Mabuza in Johannesburg.
The meetings were part of two separate consultation processes: Kriek met Ramaphosa as part of the president’s broader engagement with various economic sectors ahead of the mooted jobs summit, while Van Zyl’s meeting was the result of weeks of negotiations and informal dialogues between leaders in the commercial farming sector and leading figures in the African National Congress (ANC).
The meeting between AgriSA and the ANC has been described as successful and both organisations will issue a statement in due course.
Leaders of AgriSA and the ANC have in recent times attempted to broker a framework within which AgriSA and other representative farming organisations can engage with the governing party.
ANC leaders involved in the process of diplomacy include respected senior figures in the party, as well as members of the party’s national executive committee.
It follows months of uncertainty in the agricultural sector, after the ANC’s decision to support the Economic Freedom Fighters’s call for expropriation of land without compensation.
It is also understood that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a minister in the presidency, has been instrumental in conveying the concerns from organisations like AgriSA to the president.
One figure involved in the behind-the-scenes process, who did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the meetings, said Dlamini-Zuma had been very receptive and warm towards the agricultural community.
She is said to be "very understanding" of commercial agriculture's fears around land reform policy.
The meeting between Mabuza, treasurer general Paul Mashatile, Van Zyl and other representatives of agriculture tackled a number of issues.
It apparently centred around the search for common ground, the establishment of a partnership and understanding between the groups, as well as an acknowledgement of the moral imperative of land reform.
It was also expected that AgriSA - who will was joined by Agbiz, the agricultural chamber representing the value chain - would emphasise the economic difficulties facing the sector.