The death of African Farmers’ Association (Afasa) president Dr Vuyokazi Felicity Mahlati has hit the agricultural industry hard. Mahlati passed away on Tuesday, Afasa confirmed to Food for Mzansi.
AgriSA said it mourned the passing of “an inspirational leader and visionary advocate for agriculture development”.
“She always sought to find solutions to overcome hurdles faced by farmers and rural communities, and lobbied for the acknowledgment of the value that emerging farmers play in the agricultural value chain,” AgriSA said.
“As a colleague in organized agriculture, she never wavered in the face of adversity, and led with true grace and empathy.”
Mahlati was the chairperson of the government’s advisory panel on land reform and agriculture, and was serving her second term as a member of the national planning commission at the time of her passing. She was appointed to serve as one of the inaugural members of South Africa’s national planning commission, and helped craft the National Development Plan.
She also owned a company which is the first cashmere producing enterprise in the country, situated in rural Eastern Cape.
“AgriSA wishes to extend our condolences to the Mahlati family and the broader agricultural community. Everyone who has worked with her can attest to the value that she unlocked for the industry,” said AgriSA president Pierre Vercueil.
While AgriSA executive director Christo van der Rheede added: “Dr Mahlati was a pioneer and positioned farmers’ interests at the centre of agricultural development.”
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