Wildlife ranch­ing en­deav­ours to make a dif­fer­ence for ‘have-nots’

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Dr Peter Oberem

LAND re­form has been a con­tentious and di­vi­sive topic ever since the birth of democ­racy in 1994. While it has been cyn­i­cally used by pop­ulists no-one can deny that it is the “ele­phant in the room”, an in­jus­tice of the past that needs to be con­clu­sively but fairly reme­died if we are to en­sure that our mirac­u­lous democ­racy is to sur­vive.

If the masses of poor “have nots” con­tinue to grow and bur­geon, they will be­come a tool for un­scrupu­lous and cyn­i­cal pop­ulist politi­cians, as their hope fades.

The only way to avoid such a sit­u­a­tion, where the poor are in­cited to rise up and re­volt, is to make sure that South Africa pros­pers eco­nom­i­cally and sus­tain­able, rapid growth is shared and in­clu­sive, en­sur­ing that the num­bers of the poor, hun­gry, hope­less and dis­grun­tled de­cline.

There needs to be re­stored con­fi­dence in our coun­try and its econ­omy to at­tract in­vest­ment. This will con­trib­ute to achiev­ing racial equal­ity and ul­ti­mately our vi­sion of peace and har­mony.

Un­for­tu­nately, there is a lack of co-or­di­nated and co­he­sive plan­ning and sys­tems to make this hap­pen, whether from the gov­ern­ment or from the pri­vate sec­tor, to en­sure what we seek: food se­cu­rity, fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity and com­fort to all.

Of course, the gov­ern­ment can up­lift its con­stituency, but that is not enough, es­pe­cially when some politi­cians and bu­reau­crats are un­mo­ti­vated, un­skilled, and in some cases cor­rupt. The only peo­ple who clearly have some­thing to lose un­der those cir­cum­stances are us, the “haves”.

In re­al­ity, how­ever, as the coun­try’s ca­pac­ity to de­liver de­clines as a re­sult, even the “have nots” will lose. They will lose what lit­tle they have and, most im­por­tantly, they will lose hope.

Given the lim­ited abil­ity of the gov­ern­ment to make a pos­i­tive im­pact, the “haves” are the only ones with the re­sources to make a dif­fer­ence, be it in terms of fi­nances, as­sets, ed­u­ca­tion, busi­ness and other skills, and the will to con­trib­ute.

It is for our own sakes that we must make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence to the lives of the poor and hope­less masses.

If you need any con­vinc­ing that the gov­ern­ment is strug­gling to make the nec­es­sary im­prove­ments and that we are not mak­ing enough of a dif­fer­ence our­selves, then look again at the un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures; look at the daily and coun­try­wide ser­vice-de­liv­ery protests; and look at the crime sta­tis­tics.

Look again at the pre­dicted de­mo­graph­ics over the next few decades (from Clem Sunter) and the shock­ing num­bers of our com­pa­tri­ots who go to bed hun­gry or go to school on an empty stom­ach.

What is writ­ten above paints a dark and gloomy pic­ture, one that would make some pack their bags for Perth.

There are many who are try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence and many, truly many, game ranch­ers who want to make a dif­fer­ence and have in­di­cated their willingness to en­ter into dis­cus­sions with the De­part­ment of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment and Land Af­fairs.

We are also for­tu­nate that the ef­forts of our Wildlife Ranch­ing South Africa trans­for­ma­tion team (vice pres­i­dent Te­bogo Mo­gashoa, di­rec­tor Karel Land­man and con­sul­tant Cobus du Toit) and the willingness of our mem­bers have been recog­nised by min­is­ter Nk­winti and his special ad­vis­ers. Our ef­forts over the past three years have changed the gov­ern­ment’s view of our in­dus­try.

In­stead of be­ing con­sid­ered a rich white man’s play­thing, our in­dus­try’s con­tri­bu­tion to the econ­omy, de­cent jobs and food se­cu­rity has been no­ticed. The po­ten­tial for our unique form of agri­cul­ture to make a con­tri­bu­tion and a dif­fer­ence has been recog­nised. Wildlife Ranch­ing South Africa pres­i­dent

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