With the establishment of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) in Boksburg on 11 and 12 April 2011, developing farmers now have a new, powerful voice. The launch of AFASA is the culmination of a yearlong consultation process with developing farmers country-wide to determine their need for an official structure that represents their interests.
The establishment of AFASA was a result of urgent court interdict lodged by some individuals at NAFU-SA, including Mr Joe Gondo, Mr Molefe Mokoene, Reverend Otto Mbangula and Ms Carol Motshegara to forbid farmers of South Africa to gather under the name “National African Farmers’ Union of South Africa (NAFU-SA)”. In response to this interdict the African farmers of South Africa immediately signed a declaration to launch the new association. “We are not a splinter group but we were forced by circumstances to find a way to address farmers’ issues as some individuals within NAFU-SA were stalling the process and frustrating farmers’ interests” said Mr Mike Mlengana the first president of AFASA. “Though the decision to launch AFASA was given at short notice due to the circumstances, farmers were very excited that at last they were liberated from misrepresentation by people who were never democratically elected by the farmers that they purported to represent,” Mr Mlengana said. NERPO played an instrumental role in the establishment of AFASA after the minister of AFASA after the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisherie, Ms Tina Joemat Pettersson, requested the organisation to intervene on behalf of developing farmers when their former representative body, NAFU-SA, faced liquidation and was clearly no longer representing the needs of developing farmers. Close to 3 000 developing farmers from all provinces in South Africa attended the two-day proceedings in Boksburg.