It’s the connections that count

30 03 2012

“So how has this season been?” I asked the farmer once we’d got over the introductions.

“Actually it has been a good tobacco season” he replied. “Not too much rain”.

“And how secure are you?” I asked, referring to the possibility of an eviction.

“Well, there is someone after the farm but he is pretty much a non-entity. There is an electric fence around the house and once in a while we exchange words through it. I have got our case to the Supreme Court and so far we seem secure but I’m not at all sure that we’ll still be there for another season. At least leasing the farm means we have no emotional attachment to the land”.

I asked if the landlord had “connections” in the political world.

“No” came the reply. “He is another white farmer who gave up his other farm. His son was recently kicked off his farm in the same area. There is a notorious fat-cat with political clout who even managed to block the hearing at the Supreme Court and two weeks later was on the farm”.

I thought of my doctor and her husband who were evicted off their farm in November last year. Both the High Court and the Governor of the province had told them to stay on the farm but the would-be occupier know someone with a LOT of political clout and that was that. It’s all about connections.