Commercial farming ‘key to land reform’

first_img14 January 2011The establishment of successful black commercial farmers was key to land reform in South Africa, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson told black and white commercial farmers during a visit to a farm in the Free State province.Farmers such as Pitso Sekhoto, owner of the farm Makolobane Farmers Enterprise, had shown that land reform did work and that black farmers could become successful commercial farmers, Joemat-Pettersson said.The farm in Senekal supplies milk to Woolworths retail stores nationally and also apples to fresh produce markets in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.Sekhoto employs 34 farm-workers who own a 28 percent shareholding of his farm. During the apple harvest, the farm creates employment by hiring 66 additional workers for a three-month period from January to March.During her visit, Joemat-Pettersson tried her hand at apple harvesting. After placing a few apples in a bag around her shoulder while standing on a ladder, while photographers clicked away, she asked: “How many apples does the man want in the bag?”“Hy moet vol! (It must be full),” a choir of farmers answered almost simultaneously.Joemat-Pettersson commended Sekhoto for giving workers shares in his farming enterprise without approaching the government for “equity money”.“If a black commercial farmer can give 28 percent shares to workers and all farmers do that, we would go far in the country.”The minister also commended Sekhoto’s neighbours and the Senekal community for “being one”.“He is a successful farmer. You do not see him as a black farmer.”Senekal farmer Marius de Jaeger described Joemat-Pettersson’s visit as “informative” and a high point for the region.“She shows interest in farming, and it seems not to be another case of being heard but not seen for farmers.”De Jaeger said farmers also had to make a living, and it seemed that the government realised that there had to be people producing food.“People must be kept on farms; I can do nothing else,” he said, adding that the positive air of the minister’s visit towards agriculture was encouraging.Another local farmer, Jess de Klerk, said the minister’s visit was encouraging, especially her calls for white and black farmers to work together.De Klerk said it was good that the government wanted to stop using the term “emergent farmers” and to talk instead about only farmers.“Pitso is ‘n boer in ons gemeenskap (Pitso is a farmer in our community)”, he said, adding that Sekhoto was an example, not just on the farm, but also in the way he got involved in the community.Sapalast_img read more

Games OC needs a few lessons in etiquette

first_imgThere is little room for debate that hockey wizard Dhyan Chand’s family is not just the game’s No. 1 family of India, but the numero uno of all sports. Members of this clan have won India a total of five Olympic gold medals and one bronze besides one World Cup gold, one silver and one bronze medal. This is besides their numerous appearances in international matches and hundreds of goals.But, for some inexplicable and strange reason, this humble family has often not got its due, especially at big occasions.Dhyan Chand, a triple Olympic gold medallist, himself had to face several embarrassing situations, including the time when he was critically ill and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.Even after he died, the officialdom failed to react in time even as his son Ashok Kumar, a former India captain, rushed to the Pachkuiyan Road crematorium to hire a van to take the body to their native place, Jhansi.Even at the ongoing Commonwealth Games (CWG), the family has been virtually ignored by all, including the sports ministry, the CWG organising committee, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the national hockey federation, that is if it exists at all.Ashok Kumar, who scored the title- winning goal at the 1975 World Cup, feels the pinch. ” I have been given a single accreditation for the CWG hockey competition. What am I supposed to do with it alone?What’s the use if my family members are not allowed to accompany me to a venue that is ironically named after my father – the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium?” he told Mail Today .advertisement”During the 1982 Asia Games too I had received only one pass.” Ashok says his son is buying the match tickets daily. ” My elder brother Brij Mohan Singh has come down from Kota to watch the matches, thinking that I would be able to take him to the stadium,” he said.”The real issue is not only about my family; there are many other players, including Olympians, like me who are facing the same treatment.” For instance, Ali Sayeed, a member of the 1964 gold medalwinning Olympic team, came down to Delhi from Gorakhpur to watch the World Cup held in Delhi in February-March. But he was given a royal ignore by IOA president Suresh Kalmadi as IOA-appointed Hockey India had organised the tournament.Ashok too was initially ignored for the World Cup. ” But after I wrote to Kalmadi, I received 10 passes for my family,” he says.Frustrated, he went to meet the CWG ticketing in- charge Harish Sharma on Friday, but the visit was in vain.Unlike in hockey, the Board of Control for Cricket in India doles out hundreds of passes to all former international players for Tests and ODIs while matchhosting associations separately provide passes to local players.Interestingly, the Gwalior District Cricket Association delivers five passes at the residence of Roop Singh – the younger brother of Dhyan Chand and twice Olympic gold medallist – for each ODI played in that city, discloses Ashok. ” They do that even today, without fail, as a mark of respect because the venue, the Roop Singh Stadium, is named after him,” he says.Ashok narrates another startling story. ” Dhyan Chand was ignored for an international tournament held in Ahmedabad in 1968- 69 and he had to buy match tickets. Yes, it happened with him,” he discloses.At the 1982 World Cup in Bombay, Ashok had to go through a similar humiliation. “I had just retired and despite that I was not given while I saw hotel waiters and peons taking away bundles of passes,” he reveals. “[For some people] we as a family are dead and gone,” he said.”We are into hockey for the love of it; we are ready to give. We don’t want anything, but they should at least acknowledge our contribution to the game.” Village still based on desi-style adjustmentDespite CWG organisers’ claims that everything was now hunky- dory at the Athletes’ Village, “adjustments” continue to be made. Apparently several people are still trying to check in, with no rooms available.A request was made to an official on duty at the Village on Friday but he declined it, saying there are no rooms at all. “The person who called wanted us to adjust three more people, in addition to the five who have already checked in [in a particular category]. We have told them to come later as there is hardly any room to accommodate them,” said the official.advertisement”We told them that some gymnasts and swimmers are leaving on Sunday, so some space will be created then.”Another official said that athletes checked in late because the track and field competition was supposed to begin later.”Indian discus thrower Krishna Poonia and her coach-cum-husband Virendar were one of the latest athletes to check in at the Village on their return from Ukraine. They came on Thursday and were accommodated as per the existing check-in list,” he said. ” A few days ago, legendary PT Usha along with her protg Tintu Luka had checked in and were happy with the accommodation.” Have you ever heard of an Olympic torch being turned into a lamp shade? Former Services volleyball captain and coach Harinder Chopra has done exactly that.Chopra, father of former Test off- spinner Nikhil and cricketer turned television actor-cum-double trap shooter Vikram, was one of the Olympic torch bearers when it passed through Delhi in 1964.Now 71, he got the 1964 Olympic torch turned into an innovative lamp shade.”I have placed the lamp on my bedside,” he said.Chopra captained the Services team in 1964-65, earned his diploma from the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, and also qualified as a referee. He would definitely make a good interior designer. Plumbing woes for swanky hockey stadium Serious plumbing problems at the world’s best hockey stadium have forced teams competing in the Commonwealth Games to another location for postmatch ice baths. Sports manager Denis Meredith, employed by the CWG organising committee, said that this problem was identified during the World Cup this year but persists even now.”Here, I understand, the pipes are too small to take in the water, which is spreading everywhere. It was noticed during the World Cup but still hasn’t been fixed.” Meredith told Mail Today .”All other teething problems have been resolved with hard work. But we haven’t really resolved the plumbing problems; they are working on it every day here. We have made some arrangement for the teams to have their ice baths in the spare change rooms on Pitch No. 2, to reduce the water in the original change rooms. Teams are happy with that,” said the Aussie who was here as an FIH official at the World Cup too.There have been other ” teething problems”, like disbersing the payment to technical officials and a pipe burst at the main field, but 66-year-old Meredith said all of them have been resolved.”Initially, they wanted to pay the daily allowance only to India’s international technical officials. They are in five- star hotels with us. But they have now fixed that. The usual practice is that everyone is treated as equal if they are appointed by the FIH, but this is not an FIH tournament.If they are appointed by locals, it’s different,” he said. “We have six Indian international technical officials on our panel out of a total of 44 from around the world. We get $ 50 as daily out of pocket allowance besides two meals a day – it’s very fair.”advertisementBut Meredith’s own accreditation problem continues. ” My accreditation was invalid. They issued a new accreditation and it’s still invalid, but I am still getting in. I think the problem is that they have not updated their database, which they apparently do once a day. The men’s tournament director still doesn’t have a car,” he said, listing a few other problems that [email protected]last_img read more