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Du Toit Agri declaration to government

South Africa: Anarchy in the West Cape

Here 5500 crates on fire at Horse Gap in the Witzenberg Valley, Ceres.

In response to the recent dispute in the West Cape, South Africa, the directors and management of Du Toit Agri have issued a declaration:

It describes the "anarchy" seen in the area "on most of our agricultural properties in the Western Cape (as) really a big betrayal of trust." Du Toit say the anarchy is mainly the result of stirred up worker emotions.

"We are convinced that workers and investors in agriculture have been misused in this process as a plaything by political parties with hidden motives.

12,000 crates were completely destroyed by striking workers.

The plans has gone wrong, the result is:
  • Millions of Rands of damage to property has been caused with specific instructions to set fire to properties and moveable assets.
  • Hundreds of millions of Rands will be lost as a result of loss of profits, because agricultural activities, such as irrigation, harvest protection, harvest preparation and harvesting cannot be attended to.
  • An orchestrated attempt has been made to destroy the good relationship between employer and employee which has existed for many years, lasting through unfounded promises by political representatives in areas where labour organisations and political parties played an important role.
  • A minority group of workers received the specific order to damage certain properties and to cause millions of Rands of damage.
  • This minority group of workers have intimidated willing workers by glaring violations of the country's laws and also traumatised management and physically attacked them.
  • The fact that the Government acts slowly in order to protect both employers and employees and their property confirms a strong impression of the malevolent intention of a planned campaign of labour organisations and political parties.

A haystack for ground cover in the new plantations smolders after being set on fire by striking workers.

In the interest of all parties involved Dutoit Agri sends the following urgent and very serious message to all interested parties:

Plantations and Fynbos burning after set alight by striking workers.

To the Government:

  • Support the agricultural community in the Western Cape by arranging for sufficient police and other safety personnel in order to protect us and our workers against intimidation and vandalism.
  • Make the culprits known and hold them responsible as laid down by law.
  • Take the identified saboteurs and vandals to court, so that justice can be done.

To sympathetic workers:

We know that you went through an enormous trauma.

  • Please remain courageous, because we are with you and do all we can to protect the labour opportunities built up during the past many years.
  • Although difficult try and continue with critical work, so that our company can survive.

A wheat field burned down by striking workers.

To Management:

  • The terrible traumatic experience, sleepless nights and life threatening experiences you had to go through make a hero of each of you in this time of crisis.
  • Your dedication is proof that the larger calling of Dutoit people unite in order to fight together for survival and following our vision.

To the Community:

  • Thank you so much for the thousands of messages of support and your prayers. We appreciate this and it gives us the courage to go on and to share the prosperity, which we bring to South Africa and especially to the Western Cape with all interested parties.

To our clients:

  • We will do everything possible to supply you, as arranged, with the beautiful products offered to us by nature.
  • Please accept this period in our history as a one-time happening.
  • Over a large number of years we have never disappointed you. Trust that this will continue in the future.
  • We apologise for the anarchy of last week. This was outside our control.
  • We hope that our Government will now finally be aware that law and order are non-negotionable when running a successful company to everybody's advantage.

This is how the Ceres valley burned.

To our suppliers:

  • We are very grateful for your understanding in the present crisis
  • Please try and cooperate in replacing the destroyed property as soon as possible, so that the critical production work, which must now be done, can be attended to.

This is what is left after striking workers burned down brand new tractors and
spraying machines essential for crop protection.

The attached photographs show shocking scenes as proof of how a political powerplay in the context of this community influences so may people, who are dependent on agriculture.

Our prayers, wishes and faith are that Dutoit Agri will soon be allowed to continue the good work which has been done for more than 100 years. This disrupting experience forces us, however, to again set a condition, that the following company circumstances are made clear in order for us to invest further in agriculture.


A clear policy framework by the government specifying the support for agriculture
An agreement with agriculturists and workers about their safety and to guarantee the protection of their property. Our experience of this happening is, that serious questions have arisen, such as:

  • To what extend can we automate and mechanise our processes in order to be more productive and less dependent on labour?
  • Are there plants we can farm with less labour or no labour at all in order to limit our risks?
Based on the fantastic material resources available to Dutoit Agri coupled to marketing arrangements have already lasted for years, options like the ones above could lead to a tragedy for present workers, not to mention the creation of work for the young people of the future.

For more information:

P.S.F.du Toit G.C.du Toit
Managing Director Managing Director
Marketing Production
Tel: +27 (0)23 3121071 Tel: +27 (0)23 3121071

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