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October 10 2007 at 01:55pm

Continued accusations that commercial farmers were illegally evicting farm workers on a large scale should be investigated, the commercial farmer group Agri Northern Cape said on Wednesday.

Agri Northern Cape president Wessels van der Merwe said accusations by agriculture deputy minister Dirk du Toit were becoming ridiculous.

“Agri Northern Cape wants to distance itself from these false accusations and is of the opinion that the deputy minister’s continued provocation must be investigated so that the lies could be shown,” said Van der Merwe in a statement.

He said farmers did not know of any illegal evictions in the past years in the province.

The farming body had in the past asked the Northern Cape agriculture MEC the provincial police commissioner to supply them with information of such evictions.

“Up to now Agri Northern Cape received no feedback, which confirms our hunch that such transgressions do not take place in the province.”

Farmers in the province found it unnecessary that they had been drawn into the “smear campaign” of the deputy minister.

The farmers were also disappointed by the news that drought assistance for the province would only be considered late in next month (November).

Seven months had passed in some areas where farmers were battling with “disaster drought situations” and up to now they had received no state assistance in trying to preserve core herds needed for economic survival.

“It is imperative that a process be instituted which makes it possible that disaster assistance reaches affected people sooner,” said Van der Merwe. – Sapa

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