South Africa: Agri SA and Cosatu join forces in shared goals

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South Africa: Agri SA and Cosatu join forces in shared goals

South Africa's commercial farmers union Agri SA and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) met for the first time this month to discuss common interest issues such as improving the country's infrastructure.

Food security and rising prices, the value chain, health and welfare of workers, farm safety, land ownership audits, agricultural training opportunities and the government's integrated growth and development plan (IGDP) were discussed.

Agri SA labor and social policy chair Anton Rabe, who took part in the discussions, said he was keen for trade unions to have a "bigger footprint" in agriculture.

"We are finding a number of issues where we can work together relating to services and communities, infrastructure, toll roads and government departments not doing their jobs."

South Africa's Institute of International Affairs deputy chairman Moeletsi Mbeki, who is the younger brother of former president Thabo Mbeki, facilitated the discussion.

Agri SA president Johannes Möller said issues were raised such as the perceptions of farmers and their behavior, as well as how trade unions were viewed.

"Without a process of trust gaining trust, these two organizations would not be able to work constructively on a better relationship."

Möller said Agri SA supported the sentiments in the National Development Plan's Vision 2030 document where agricultural was highlighted as a key job creation sector.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, said his union supported the goals cited in Vision 2030, although there could be some differences on issues of detail.

The two unions agreed on a strategy for further engagement on priority issues.

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