OPEN LETTER TO SOUTH AFRICAN COMMERCIAL FARMERS – GABM R1 BILLION DROUGHT RELIEF DONATION
By Mark Paulsmeier
7 July 2016
GABM, GABM members worldwide and I would like to express our shock and outrage that we have been prevented to provide the SA farmers with R1 Billion in emergency relief funding.
I have established the GABM organization in the year 2000 and never, ever have we been prevented to provide financial aid; or being prevented to undertake any other kind of philanthropic project anywhere in developed countries or developing countries.
GABM has always been welcomed with open arms, yet with the R1 Billion SA Drought Relief Donation we have only experienced obstacles from the outset. We strongly belief (actually know) a third party with malice intentions has sabotaged this project.
I have worked on this project tirelessly for more than 2 months and find it extremely difficult that all my efforts was for nothing and the farmers are still left with no access to emergency funding.
I strongly urge the farmers of SA to voice their dismay with me in this regard. I also urge journalists to investigate this matter. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE GABM R1 BILLION DROUGHT RELIEF DONATION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN APPROVED.
It is now 2am in the morning and for the past few hours GABM members and I have looked at all aspects surrounding the necessary regulatory approval and involvement of organized agriculture, and we still cannot find any reason why the project did not get the approval to go ahead.
We have had a backup plan on the aspect of the involvement of Agri SA in the event we could not secure its support. TLU was ready and willing to replace Agri SA if needed. No problem here.
The regulatory approval was in our view academic and should not be a problem as well. We have however not received the required letter of approval from the SA Government. WHY, WHY, WHY NOT??? We will discuss the aspects surrounding the regulatory approval in detail in due course.
We have also been subjected to very strange requests for information at the very last hours yesterday afternoon, and I would like to share some of it with you. This request was not made from the SA Government!
It was required from me to provide a copy of my financial statements and tax clearance certificate, merely because I was the facilitator of the funding for the SA Farmers!
Due to the fact that GABM members have contributed to the R1 Billion SA Drought Relief Donation in their individual capacity, GABM as a private international member based organization was required to inter alia provide:
• A copy of its latest annual report reviewed by independent auditors;
• A copy of its audited financial statements and tax clearance certificate;
• Details of GABM’s Board of Directors and details of its auditors.
Can you imagine the situation, and this is merely an example, anyone of us is a member of Agri SA or a church group and anyone of us would like to make a donation to a charity organization or cause and then be told Agri SA or the church should first provide the aforementioned documentation, even considering they are not making the donation! DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL?
During the past week or more we have also seen that certain people has made statements in the media that suggested the GABM R1 Billion Drought Relief Donation is not credible and should be regarded as suspicious. Why would anyone make such assumptions or suggestions? Why would anyone caution farmers not to accept money from GABM members? GABM members donate much needed emergency relief funding to farmers, without asking anything in return, why then would anyone not fully support such a project and instead create mistrust and division?
We will definitely not leave this matter to rest. GABM members and I would like to know what is going on!
What can be more important than the farmers plight at this very moment, should we not stand together as a nation to resolve the severe effects of the drought? Should we not put aside any differences we might have and roll up our sleeves as a nation and help the farmers, as it is actually of national importance?