House Chair, hon members, I would like to preface the tabling of this report with three brief remarks focusing on the dynamic of oversight advancing participatory democracy and pertinent lessons from this oversight visit.
The health of our democracy depends on the health of all its constituent organs, public or social sector, Parliament and executive and the state or the administration.
These sectors each have their own organs that further unable functionality and the delivery of their mandate. Parliament through the portfolio committee extends its mandate of holding the executive and the administration accountable. Oversight provides the portfolio committee the opportunity to experience first hand the conditions of our people and the state of service delivery. Through providing access to individuals, communities and community structures the oversight visit gave expression to participatory democracy.
The reality on the ground is harsh and our people are really suffering in listening to our people on the ground during this oversight visit we realised that the experience that they have emanate from three primary problems, the lack of excess to information about government programmes, the lack of capacity of government departments to effectively implement and the lack of coordination between government departments.
I may also add to these contending or competing community factions for limited government resources hence it is important to ensure that CPA's are run effectively and
democratically for the benefit of all its beneficiaries. These issues we need to address in all earnestness if we are to delivery on our mandate and make a difference in building a better life for all our people.
The report that we are tabling contains some disturbing findings, but please allow me hon Chairperson to highlight two or three of these issues - firstly let me say that the agricultural sector is closely related to our goals of fighting poverty, inequality and ensuring food security for our poor rural communities. It is therefore vital that the transformation of this sector be accorded the priority that it deserves. Some statistics reflects that as much as 80% of agricultural land in Africa emanates from small farmers and hence the critical demand of empower more of our historically disadvantaged to start their own self subsistence and commercial farming and they grow their participation in the agricultural sector.
This must be a top priority especially for the deep rural communities for whom poverty is the reality that they stare in the face of on a daily basis and by so doing we
are then able to advance our agrarian revolution programmes and dismantling agricultural monopolies. Secondly, we must rethink the way in which we approach the land reform and I want to cite an example of the case we encountered on this visit.
One of the beneficiaries of our one hectare one household initiative who stays so far from his allocated land that is almost self-defeating we must ensure that beneficiaries of land reform and related programmes are enable to make a success of their endeavours. The manner in which we are allocating financial resources land and agricultural infrastructural must be done conveniently in order to ensure the productively of the enterprises. Thirdly - the last issue I want to highlight relates to poverty and rural development. We cannot after twenty five years into democracy still perpetuate special developmental paradigm that operates like our separate development schemes of apartheid.
The rural-urban divide resource allocations and access to enabling support programmes are mountains that rural communities and individuals have to scale. We must do
more to breakdown this paradigm as we are all equal before the law.
Hon Chairperson, on that note I thank you and welcome the report of our Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development oversight to KwaZulu-Natal province.
There was no debate.
The Chief Whip of the Majority Party moved: That the Report be adopted.
Declarations of vote:
One of the projects visited by the committee is Amandla Entuthuko feedlot loosely translated this means the power of development feedlot.
Unfortunately what we witness on the ground in KwaZulu- Natal did not showcase the power of development. All they had to show for the R3million feedlot was a fenced field with absolutely nothing on it.
Clearly no feasibility study or impact assessment was done prior to approval of this project. In total an amount of R437 million was spent by the two departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Land Reform on the 18 projects, ostensibly, for acquisition of land, machinery, infrastructure and production costs. However, not all of these funds found their way to the intended purpose. For example, beneficiaries from the Empangisweni project had no knowledge of an amount of three million for the vegetable scheme under irrigation.
The current state of most of the projects negates the astronomical amount supposedly spent on them. One has to wonder where the money went. Extension services by the Department of Agriculture were nonexistent all the beneficiaries confirm this.
One has to again wonder what the amount of R202 million spent under the extension recovery programme between 2015 and 2018 was used for. Unfortunately with the serious lack of monitoring and evaluation on funds disbursed one may never know ...
Amandla entuthuko akabonakali kwaZulu. Iyaphi kanti le mali?
The DA supports the report. Thank you. [Applause.]
House Chair, the majority of the 19 projects that the portfolio committee visited in KwaZulu- Natal have completely collapsed. It is not surprising that the recent report by Auditor-General has picked up KwaZulu-Natal as one of the greatest contributors to irregular expenditure.
With the experience, we as the committee got during the oversight, we can bear testimony to that. For this declaration I would like to focus on two projects that really need the urgent attention of the department.
A project in Umkhanyakude at Makhathini Flats run by an entity of the department called Mjindi Farming Enterprise has been supported by the government since 2009 and have thus far received over half a billion rand and farmers
during our meeting raised a lot of dissatisfaction with the model implemented and told the committee that they have never benefited from a cash injection by the government and that they are still appealing for help from the government.
We proposed as the EFF that the department must look deeper into the financial affairs of Mjindi Farming especially at Makhathini Flats as it is not beneficial to the farmers at all and institute a forensic audit as soon as possible.
Another project of Empangisweni Community Trust chaired by Chief D V Zondi of the Empangisweni Traditional Council was formed in 2004. The beneficiaries acquired 500 hectares of land through the restitution of land rights. The Commission of Restitution of Land Rights awarded the restoration of rights to 300 households with 2 700 beneficiaries, 1 547 and 1 200 youth.
The department implemented the project through the Agricultural Development Agency and there are serious allegations of corruption that were raised by the chief
and the community that must be followed up as a matter of urgency and I think the member of the DA also spoke about that, that R3 million was spent on a vegetable project ... there is literally nothing on the ground around that.
Now, there are no operations at the project site except
70 hectares of planted orchards deteriorating on a daily basis because of no funding to the project and a full year has passed now. A hundred and twenty people who used to work at the project have lost their jobs now and an initial investment by government is just going to waste as a result of this.
Clearly these projects will only start making a profit after the harvesting of the trees in about three to five years from now. And why is there no multiyear support from government in the form of a cash injection to this project as it has continued to fund Mjindi for the past 10 years? Now, House Chair, the EFF supports the report.
Thank you. [Applause.]
House Chairperson, the recent oversight to KwaZulu- Natal highlighted quite a few issues
with regards to the smallholder farmers as well as subsistence farmers. The department does not sufficiently monitor how these farmers have progressed through the assistance given to them. As such, these farmers have little ongoing support to some of the challenges they experience.
These farmers do not have the luxury of large amounts of capital reserves and require near maximum efficiency regarding production. The department must ensure that it has the proper and adequate mechanisms to further support smallholder farmers. What concerns me is that the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform wastes millions of taxpayers' money on the irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, not to mention cases of corruption within government.
So why is the department so intent on diverting attention to an easy scapegoat to communal land owned by the Ingonyama Trust when it should be fixing its internal problems? The use of mentors and strategic partners has also not paid the intended dividends.
We need a comprehensive report by the department on all funds spent on projects aimed at assisting farmers through mentors, strategic partners and agencies. This will be able to provide an assessment of the progress made in capitalising smallholder farmers.
Sihlalo, amalungu ahloniphekile asuke lapha aseyibalule indaba yokungabikho kobulungiswa ezisebenzini zomnyango. Konke okwenzakalayo kungenxa yokuthi izisebenzi zomnyango aziyinikele ekwenzeni umsebenzi ngobuqotho. Sisetshenziswa nangabathile ukuthi bazizwise bona kunokuthi kusizakale isizwe.
Kuphuma imali kaHulumeni kuthiwe kuyosizwa abantu kanti imali izophuma iphumele eceleni. Konke okuvelayo kuyakhomba ukuthi inkohlakalo isazoke iqhubeke kuleli lizwe, abantu abampofu kusetshenziswe amagama abo kuthiwe bayasizwa kodwa kube kusizakala izikhulu, osopolitiki nezithunywa zomnyango ezithile ukuthi zikwazi ukuswaxelisa izimali zombuso ezingabe zisiza abantu kodwa zisize bona abathile abambalwa kuphela.
Nanxa kunjalo, umuntu-ke uyaweseka umbiko ophumileyo ngomnyango ngoba uveze amaqiniso amaningi ngokwenzeka la emnyangweni okudinga ukuthi kulandelwe yilo ikomidi. Ngiyathokoza.
Chairperson, we agree with this report, its observations and recommendations and that this is a just depiction of what we saw in KwaZulu- Natal. The only thing left to do now is for the department to implement what we recommended and my true hope is that the department will take this report as seriously as we in the committee took it when we were writing it.
We made some very important observations and my fellow colleagues of the portfolio committee have mentioned but I still feel the need to highlight just a few. We spent hours and days in committee meetings and in committee rooms; we talk about projects and we see numerous reports about one thing and the next.
We are bombarded by explanations of our Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, Casp, Ilima-Letsema, Recapitalisation and Development Programme, Recap, Rural
Infrastructure Development Programme, RIDP, Rural and Community Development Programme, RCDP, Community Property Association, CPA, One Household One Hectare Programme, Strengthening Relative Rights for People working on farms, SRR, Agri-Parks, Animal and Veld Management Programme, AVMP, River Valley Catalytic Programme, RVCP, to name but a few are supposed to be working.
And we have received beautiful reports of these projects and we see how paper targets are met every single time but on closer inspection, as we did on this oversight, we see that the reality on the ground tells a different story.
A prime example of this and speaking of KwaZulu-Natal specifically is the Ndumo Farmer Production Support Unit, FPSU; on paper this project is excellent. We even saw pictures to say that this was a success but on inspection of this project, we saw that it was in total disarray. Farmers were planting cabbages yet the farming implements that were given were to plant, harvest, clean and pack potatoes.
The access to these markets were promised and to this day they have not yet been realised and this - as colleagues have mentioned - is one of the hundreds of projects that the department is implementing. And this is proof of the sector oversight model of this Parliament that is failing and it is failing our people.
We need to add more site visits. Reports on performance information are not sufficient as an oversight. Paper targets without depicting the quality of these targets will never improve our service delivery.
When we come to site visits, we see that the reality is not as our paper targets and as our reports have reflected; we need more oversight, more opportunities like this and we need to hold our departments more accountable for what they are doing to our people.
And on a disconcerting note, if you do not go on oversight like this and we take the department along for the ride, they will most probably never get to see their own projects and they will be misled by officials of provincial departments that lie blatantly to their faces.
But, as I conclude, we visited a number of border municipalities and projects and we saw with our own eyes that the redline fencing in these border municipalities are not sufficient and are not adequate even though the department says they are adequately maintained and they are sharp.
Hulle is reg so!
My fear is that what is happening in Limpopo will next be happening in KwaZulu-Natal. But, other than that, we support this report. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Hon House Chair, at the outset the ACDP wishes to commend the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on the compilation of this Report on their oversight visit to KwaZulu- Natal. On studying the Report one finds that it is frank, transparent and not shy of honouring the truth as it elaborates on both successes and failures.
It is the view of the ACDP that this Report presents a synopsis, a microcosm - a snapshot if you like - of the challenges pertaining to the land question. The ruling party has had 25 years to bring redress to the landless, impoverished and the indigent of our country. If one takes this particular Report as a progress on redress, the only conclusion that one can reach is that the ruling party and those that are accountable to it has failed in this regard.
Allow me to site a few examples to substantiate. The one hector one household programme was meant to allocate one hector of land to needy households in order to reduce poverty in rural areas and revive the calibre of productive black smallholder farmers and food produces. What did the committee find? The funds for this programme were allocated to commercial farmers rather than needy households. Secondly, some beneficiaries who would have benefited from the recapitalisation and development programme and further received the one hector one household grant while many poor communities waited for government support.
The Amandla Thuthuka Co-operative needed R3 million from the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme for a four-kilometre fence and a feedlot, R490 000 was provided for the fence with no gates at one camp. The fence is now in need of repair because the project has been abandoned allegedly due to competition within the mining sector. The committee made two tallying observations; firstly, the collects of land reform projects can be attributed to weaker institutional mechanisms for co- ordinating interventions on land reform. Secondly, they said, there are no mechanisms to streamline funding of projects and ensure that the intended beneficiaries are supported.
Hon House Chair, it is the view of the African Christian Democratic Party that these recommendations given by this particular portfolio committee is what we should be focussed on and what we should be fixing rather than meddling with section 25 of our Constitution. I thank you as the ACDP support this Report.
Hon Chair and the hon members of the august House, the ANC- led government is the only progressive government in this country. I therefore stand here to
declare the support to the oversight Report of KwaZulu- Natal. Hon chair, we will continue to fight for a better life for our people and be relevant to our national democratic revolution because we have progressive policies that are meant to address historical injustice of the past.
I further ensure that equality and redistribution of the country's resources will be done by this African National Congress. The South African people must always remember that our struggle is not over. We have to eliminate the apartheid machinery including the current monopoly of capital in our beloved country. Let me remind this august House that it is this government of the ANC that cares about the realisation of better life for all South Africans, no-one else, no-one else. We have the Constitution that embraces socioeconomic rights.
Hon Chair, as the committee we took an oversight visit to the province of KwaZulu-Natal in order to track the progress that has been made by this Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. This is clear a clear indication that we take our work seriously.
We are made to believe that this Parliament passes the legislation that is meant to address economic challenges that are faced by our people. Further, it ensures fair equality and participation in the economy of this country.
The ANC is always the first to acknowledge challenges that are faced by our government. We do not shy away from them because we are a committed government.
Pele ga ngwaga wa 1994, Kgoro ya Temo e be e na le t?helete ye nt?int?i yeo e bego e fepa batho ba ba it?ego, e sego batho ba rena. Batho ba rena ba be ba bolawa ke tlala, ebile e le ba basehla - ba sehlefet?e ba sehlefadit?we ke mmu?o wa aparteiti! [T?hwahlelo.]
Chair, for us as the ANC, our most cherished concern is not with the few, but it is for the many people of this country. The process to change the horrible legacy that was there in this country, hon Chairperson ...
... hon members, do not drown the speaker, please.
Hon Chairperson ...
... order, order, hon members.
Hon Chairperson, forward we go. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development will make sure that the economy of this country goes up because the African National Congress is there for it. We will make sure that we provide food and security to our nation. The participation of the small emerging farmers especially in the rural areas is our goal as the ANC. No ways, it is our goal. Hon Chair, in welcoming this Report, we do denounce our progressive policies as the ANC and all efforts made by our department indeed. We will ensure that programmes undertaken by this department becomes a successful benefit to the majority of our people in this country through co-operative development that are in the farming
activities to allow them to enter in the mainstream economic global market.
No ways that our people can be suffering when we are there. I have said that the portfolio committee says that we will also be important that the department ...
... order, order, hon members ...
... the department will look into the expansion of the government extension advisory services across the provinces that we have in this country. The department must have an action plan detailing on how they will resolve the challenges that we identified in all the projects that the portfolio committee have visited in KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, the action plan should comprehensively detail on how the projects will be assisted. We must have timeframe and exit strategy must also be in place for all the projects. Hon Chairperson, again I raise that I declare our support for this Report of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
Le swanet?e le tsebe gore ANC ke yona ke yona, gomme ebile ga go na ka mokgwa wo mongwe. Ke a leboga. [T?hwahlelo.]
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.