In January 2020, Saai visited Hungary and Germany as part of our international campaign against farm murders and expropriation without compensation. During this visit Saai held various meetings with these countries’ ministers and members of parliament and we also gave them our Family Farmer Resolution Against Farm Murders for consideration.
In February, Saai laid charges of tender fraud against officials of the GEPF and charges of theft against a livestock theft syndicate in the Zastron area. Both these cases are currently ongoing.
During the lockdown Saai launched several projects to protect the various agricultural sectors against the economic damage of the lockdown regulations and to minimise damage to these businesses.
- On the first day of the lockdown, Saai released digital travel permits making it possible for persons involved in the agricultual sector to travel using these permits. The permits weren’t exclusively for Saai members, as we believed it was more important for agriculture as a whole to flourish, rather than only benefiting people participating in organised agriculture. In doing so, Saai helped communal farmers as well as members of other agricultural segments (such as horse, pigeon and game farmers) to continue their operations.
- Saai also made hunting permits available, since we felt it was important for hunters to be able to reach the game farms (that already took a hit in the absence of international hunters) in order for the hunting season to continue.
- Together with our network partners at AfriForum and Solidarity’s Helping Hand, Saai distributed more than 600 tons of food to needy families across South Africa.
- During the lockdown Saai brought four court cases in aid of several agricultural sectors that were seriously impacted:
- Saai was successful in assisting parrot farmers to obtain export permits during Level 4 in the case of Saai and one other vs. the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and six others.
- Saai was successful in representing tobacco farmers and their workers in the case of BATSA and nine others vs. the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and two others, in the case opposing the ban of tobacco products.
- Saai represented more than 240 wine farmers in the case of Saai and nine others vs. the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and five others regarding the ban on wine sales.
- Saai represented 180 game farmers in the case of Saai and one other vs. the Minister of Tourism and five others, to lift the ban on interprovincial travel to enable hunters to cross provincial borders for hunting purposes.
As the second part of our initiative to help wine farmers through the lockdown, Saai launched “Die Wynboer”. This web site sells family farm wines on an online platform at cellar door prices to consumers across South Africa. It also gives consumers access to wines which might not necessarily be available at local stores and it enables wine farmers to sell their wines directly to the consumer.
In July 2020, after the lifting of the ban on interprovincial travel, Saai launched the “Gaan jag” campaign to encourage local hunters to support game farmers during the hunting season. The initial local and international travel ban had cost the industry roughly R11 billion.
After the murder on Brendin Horner, Saai supported the agricultural community in Senekal during a very difficult and sad time, while the world’s eyes were fixed on the farming community.
Saai assisted ostrich farmers in Oudtshoorn and launched a project during which we visited the town to establish the ways in which the drought and COVID-19 had affected the ostrich farming industry. We also delivered loads of fodder to farmers who were adversely affected by the drought. During the visit we made a documentary to highlight the importance of the ostrich farming industry and to gain support for this uniquely South African products. We held an ostrich day at Buffelsfontein Beesboerdery on 1 December 2020 where several ostrich dishes were served and ostrich products displayed.
In November 2020, Saai initiated a project to emphasise the importance of small towns and thus give our countryside a boost. The first small town we visited was Vanwyksvlei – this town is caught up in a neverending drought and the purpose of our visit was to build a bridge of hope between this period of drought until the next rain falls. Saai, along with other network partners, arranged for seven loads of fodder to be delivered. We met with members of the community about plans for the future and made a short video to create awareness among South Africans about the importance of small towns such as Vanwyksvlei.
Saai also visited several schools and agricultural schools as part of our Young Farmer Agricultural Association that will be launched in 2021.
Saai, as part of the “Manna vir die Boere” initiative assisted communities who were affected by the devastating veld fires in the Free State. Manna vir die Boere has continued providing drought relief after the fires and as a group they are still assisting drought-stricken communities. With the wonderful support of countless supporters we were able to transport 232 loads of fodder to the Free State, 33 loads to Warrenton and 26 loads to the North West to offer relief after the fires. Drought relief in the form of 45 loads of fodder were delivered to the Northern and Eastern Cape since November.
Various plans were made with network partners such as Wiesenhof, Grondpad Vellies, and Bosveld Kudu that will each sell a unique product to benefit Saai’s projects. These products will be available at the various restaurants and online shops.