MAN up! Guiding principles for farmers to Navigate AgriBEE


How can productive farmers protect their businesses against the harmful consequences of the proposed AgriBEE guidelines? This difficult question arose after Sakeliga recently released confidential documentation related to planned BEE enforcement in the sector to the public.

Sakeliga has put forward some considerations for farmers wanting to adopt proactive strategies to maintain their productivity, quality, and autonomy in the face of government-imposed ideologies.

The acronym ‘MAN’ should be a guiding principle for navigating these challenges. Maximum Achievable Non-Compliance. This emphasises prioritising farming over adherence to detrimental state dictates.

Here are some ideas, mindsets, and approaches farmers can employ to assert their independence and protect their interests:

  1. Embrace the MAN Strategy: Farmers are encouraged to prioritise productivity, quality, societal contribution, and fulfilling commercial responsibilities over blind compliance with state ideologies. Wherever state requirements are unlawful or harmful, farmers should strive for maximum achievable non-compliance, as prudently as possible. By prioritising the core aspects of value-creation rather than compliance, farms can serve society best and thrive while challenging or bypassing the implementation of destructive state policies.
  2. Leverage Representative Organisations: Farmers should urge agricultural representative bodies to reject BEE policies and resist government interference. Maintaining robust relationships with foreign trade partners who appreciate free and responsible trade ties is also pivotal. Farming communities need to assert their independence, emphasising their crucial roles in both domestic and global commercial spheres.
  3. Cultivate Value-centric Networks: To reduce reliance on BEE-centric networks, farmers should strengthen ties with suppliers and customers who share the MAN strategy. Voluntary partnerships should be forged with independent businesspeople from different cultural and racial backgrounds focusing on local and international mutual value creation.
  4. Support Litigation Initiatives: Putting funding behind organisations like Sakeliga is vital. We develop comprehensive litigation strategies opposing the extension of BEE into more areas of business life. Sakeliga’s track record in achieving tangible reforms through high-impact litigation in various spheres, including energy policy and municipal collapse, underscores the importance of supporting such initiatives.

With a MAN mindset and a commitment to independent value-creation instead of being tools of state ideology and narrow political objectives, farmers can begin to assert their autonomy, resist harmful state interventions, and safeguard their interests in the complex landscape of agricultural policies and regulations. The focus remains on productivity, quality, responsible trade practices, and good commercial relations, ensuring a sustainable and thriving agricultural sector.