“Waking up on the 13th of October 2020, no one would have thought that Dr Vuyo Mahlati would have breathed her last breath. The voice of the struggle for women’s economic empowerment and the commercialisation of Black farmers is no more.”
These are the words of minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza reacting to the death of President of African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) Dr Vuyo Mahlati.
Didiza said Mahlati will be remembered on how she touched many lives with her smile and energy.
“She was always engaging to find solutions to the many challenges that our country face, more so in agriculture, rural development and land reform matters. In a number of areas where she served, she always went an extra mile to ensure success and excellence,” said Didiza.
The minister said that the farming sector and the landless masses of our country will remember her and her leadership as the Chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
As the President of African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), she led her organization in engaging government on matters that affect South Africa’s agricultural sector, particularly black farmers. Her concern about the Land Bank saw her mobilizing other black farmers organisation in articulating the need for a development financial institution to support farmers with credit.
“She was eager and always showed interest how government working in partnership with the private agricultural role-players can solve problems across the sector.
“Her death has robbed us her valuable contribution in the development of South Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness sector plan, as the country continues to work on strategies for fostering inclusive growth from the shock of the pandemic,” continued the minister.
The minister said Mahlati built networks beyond the boundaries of our country.
“Africa was also her home. She remained to the end a role model to many of us, old and young.
“Our thanks go to her husband, Mr Gilimamba Mahlati, and the children for sharing their mother with the nation, and for the immense contribution she made to our country.
“May you be comforted during this time as you to come to terms with her departure. Lala kahle Dokotela, we will surely miss you.”