'Serious threat to food security': Agri SA calls for Ramaphosa to declare state of emergency

Agri SA has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national state of emergency to bring an end to scenes of unrest playing out in parts of the country.

“The looting of shops, stoning of cars, blocking of roads, burning of trucks and crops, as well as theft of livestock, are posing a serious threat to food security in the country,” said Christo van der Rheede, executive director of Agri SA.

“SA runs the risk of people not being able to buy or access food. This will lead to hunger and starvation on a national scale, which in turn will fuel even more social unrest and mayhem,” he said.

He said it was clear that criminals had no regard for law and order and that they would loot, destroy and steal until there was nothing left.

“Furthermore, SA is a constitutional state, and our constitution places a constitutional obligation on the state to protect its citizens against such criminality,” said Van der Rheede.

Agri SA said a national declaration of a state of emergency should be coupled with the deployment of security personnel in all affected areas.

“In addition, we call on the presidency to ensure that our logistical infrastructure such as our roads, harbours and airports continue to function in order for food to be delivered,” Van der Rheede said.

He said innocent civilians would suffer from hunger if criminality continued unabated, and criminals are allowed to ransack shops and hold the country to ransom.

“It is clear that the calls to shut down the economy and continuing civil disorder and violence pose a serious threat to all South Africans who are law abiding and who depend on law and order to grow the economy. This is critical to bring about a better life for all of our people.”

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