The Council met at 10:03.
House Chairperson Mr A J Nyambi took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
APPROPRIATION BILL (Policy debate)
Budget Vote 26 - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, hon Ministers, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, other Deputy Ministers present, members of the Agricultural Executive Councils, hon chairperson and members of the portfolio committee, Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, goeiemôre, good morning, sanibonani, molweni, ndi matsheloni, dumelang, bonjour, grϋB dich!
We are all compelled to remember the wise words of uTata uNelson Mandela as we celebrate his life this month:
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
The wellbeing of our nation is measured by our ability to feed the most vulnerable of society. At the moment, we know that 12 million people are suffering food insecurity.
Hon Chairperson, 62% of the electorate mandated the ANC to accelerate the implementation of radical socioeconomic transformation, to push back the frontiers of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Underpinning this task is to create 1 million jobs by 2030 and to transform the countryside into sustainable economic centres, as envisaged by the New Growth Path, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, and the ANC’s 2014 Election Manifesto, all of whom are encompassed in the overarching National Development Plan.
Hon members, I am proud to announce that our provincial department of agriculture has taken up the spear and, together, we will see that these ideals are achieved. The programmes of the provincial department of agriculture are geared to deliver on will be able to create an enabling environment through which the sector could create 1 million jobs. The objectives of provincial strategies will be to embark on radical socioeconomic transformation, pushing back the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Chairperson, while the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries creates the policy and regulatory environment in which our sector must grow and strive to create 1 million jobs, our provincial counterparts are clearly the implementers of these policies and programmes. We see our provincial departments of agriculture as the coalface of our war against poverty and food insecurity and our success is invariably linked to theirs.
Hon members, the 2014-15 to 2018-19 Medium-Term Strategic Framework is structured around 14 Priority Outcomes, with a lead department co-ordinating each of them.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries indirectly supports Outcomes 4, 7 and 10, all of whom seek to achieve decent employment through inclusive growth, vibrant rural communities and natural resource management. The recently released general household survey informs us that South Africa currently has 2,8 million households engaging in agricultural production. Of these, 299 000 are smallholder farmers. What the survey also shows us is that only 26% of smallholder farmers receive government support. This clearly indicates a need to expand on the depth and reach of our support programmes.
For this financial year, the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, CASP, has been allocated an amount of R1,8 billion, R460 million for Ilima Letsema and R67,8 million for LandCare. For this financial year, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will transfer R1,4 billion through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme. A collaborative study with the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency aims to assess the impact of CASP and other grant funds.
Preliminary results recommend an improvement in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of all funded projects of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. I am therefore pleased to announce that a National Agricultural Information Management System will be institutionalised to improve on the planning, monitoring and evaluation of all Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries-funded projects.
Hon members, achieving food security for all citizens is a non-negotiable priority. We are particularly pleased with the decrease in the number of households experiencing hunger, as shown by the 2013 General Household Survey. The percentage of households that experienced hunger decreased by 16% between 2002 and 2013.
However, as long as these achievements are mainly attributed to social grants, we must strive for the agricultural food economy to increasingly contribute to decreasing levels of food insecurity.
Furthermore, we understand that the target of 1 million hectares will not be achieved by government alone, and requires the mobilisation of all social forces with strengthened and seamless governance between national, provincial, local government and all other relevant cluster departments.
Provincial departments such as the Eastern Cape’s department of rural development and agrarian reform was able to increase the number of hectares planted from 7 000 ha in 2012 to 13 000 ha last year among its achievements.
The Northern Cape’s department of agriculture, land reform and rural development in turn planted a total of 1 000 ha of crop land, which yielded 9 300 tons of maize, wheat, grapes and rooibos tea.
The Ilima Letsema Fund has supported projects such as Siyazondla in the Eastern Cape, increasing the area planted from 7 000 ha in 2012 to 13 000 ha last year. In the Gauteng province, the impact of this programme reached 25 000 beneficiaries.
In the Free State, Mohoma Mobung supported 6 500 beneficiaries, while Mpumalanga’s Masibuyele Emasimini reached 39 600 beneficiaries. Hon members, unless these achievements contribute to sustainable rural economies, our interventions are unsustainable and have little impact, if any, on the lives of our people.
Our interventions must therefore lead to the growth of the sector, and in turn to rural economic development. Agriculture’s contribution to the gross domestic product is approximately 2,7%, which is generally viewed as far below the capacity of the sector. The President’s pronouncement in the state of the nation address to deliver 1 million jobs is therefore closely linked to unlocking the growth potential among key industries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Most of these are specified in the NDP and prioritised in the Agricultural Policy Action Plan.
The fisheries sector forms an important element of the ocean economy strategy, Operation Phakisa. We anticipate that that project, which is still in incubation, will place marine resources central to the economy. Under this project, we plan to grow the value of the aquaculture sector from R2 billion to R6 billion, and it has the potential to create up to 210 000 jobs by 2030. Transformation of the fisheries sector remains a critical element in addressing job creation and radical economic transformation.
The fishing rights allocation of 2013 has been viewed independently of the department, and I have received the final report. I am consulting with the State Attorney’s Office on the legal feasibility of the various options to institute corrective measures where weaknesses have been identified. I will make an announcement in due course on the path to rectify those anomalies. The implementation of the small-scale fishing policy will be the second element of transformation to ensure that coastal and fishing communities gain access to resources. We cannot postpone that. We cannot change it. It has to be done.
The livestock sector plays a crucial role in the economy of poorly resourced communities. About 40% of livestock in South Africa is owned by black smallholder farmers. We will continue to expand our animal improvement schemes to transform this sector. An example of this is the Nguni Cattle Development Programme of the North West.
Interventions through veterinary services will include the distribution of 28 mobile veterinary clinics that are equipped with medicine and technology. Compulsory community services for newly qualified veterinarians will be rolled out in the 2015-16 financial year.
In addition, the World Organisation for Animal Health conducted an evaluation on the performance of veterinary services in South Africa. We will use the recommendations from the report to further enrich our interventions in the veterinary sphere.
Forestry offers a long-term investment opportunity for rural economic development. The first state forest will be transferred to the Tembe-Mbila-Mabaso communities through their traditional authorities in KwaZulu-Natal.
We will use the Forest Sector Charter Council to accelerate further transformation and economic development. Sustainable management of land, soil, water and climate systems is critical for sustainable use of our resources and food security. The LandCare programme is a flagship programme to enhance the sustainable use of our natural resources.
To address the challenges of loss of prime agricultural land through degradation and competing demands, we have formulated the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework, and consultations with all stakeholders are currently under way.
In the trade arena, we are interacting with the Department of Trade and Industry so that we can make sure that markets are made available.
In conclusion, hon Chairperson, I am proud to announce that the department has had six consecutive unqualified audit reports on our financial information. The findings are reflected in our financial management system. I am thus proud to present, for your approval, Budget Vote No 26 of R6,7 billion.
Chairperson, I would like to pledge that the issue of allocations to provinces is still under discussion. We want to make sure that provinces are allocated equitable funding, to make sure that production is happening in every province. If we fail to account for those funds, it would be because we are not working together. Therefore, provinces are called upon to manage and to monitor together to make sure that we change the landscape of our country; that no family lives without food. We can do it. We can defeat poverty. Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Thank you, hon Chairperson. Hon MECs, hon members of the Council, the National Development Plan is the roadmap for our programmes for development. Chapter 6 sets out the trajectory for rural economic transformation and development.
In making land reform work and acknowledging that land reform is necessary to unlock the potential for a dynamic, growing and employment-creating agricultural sector, the National Development Plan’s proposed model is based on the following six principles: Firstly, to enable a more rapid transfer of agricultural land to black beneficiaries without distorting land markets or business confidence in the agricultural business sector; secondly, to ensure sustainable production on transferred land by making sure that human capabilities precede land transfer through incubations, learnerships, apprenticeships, mentoring and accelerated training in agricultural sciences; thirdly, to establish monitoring institutions to protect land markets from opportunism, corruption and speculation; fourthly, to bring land transfer targets in line with the fiscal and economic realities to ensure that land is transferred successfully; and lastly, to offer white commercial farmers and organised industry bodies the opportunity to contribute significantly to the success of black farmers through mentorship, chain integration, preferential procurement and meaningful skills transfer.
Therefore, in terms of this proposed model, each district municipality with commercial farm land in South Africa should convene a committee, a district land committee, with all agricultural landowners in the district, as well as key stakeholders such as the private sector, the government and provincial departments that deal with rural development, land reform, agriculture and government agencies such as the Land Bank and the Agricultural Research Council.
His Excellency President Zuma, during both state of the nation addresses in February and June 2014 said:
The next administration will need to take forward a number of policies, legislative and practical interventions, to further redress the dispossession of our people of their land.
Therefore, the policies that will drive actual socioeconomic change and interventions in rural South Africa will include the democratisation of decision-making in matters of land administration and development, facilitating scaled-up land reform and instituting legally secured tenure and managed agricultural transformation as a basis for broader rural development.
To this end, hon Chairperson, we have undertaken a series of policy, legislative and institutional reforms with the aim of accelerating land reform, tenure reform, land development and rural economy transformation based upon the agrarian strategy. Working together with the economic sectors, employment and infrastructure cluster departments, we will advance our policy, legislative and institutional reform processes.
Hon members, the policies that we will be focusing on in the 2014-15 financial year include communal land tenure, communal property associations, regulation of land holdings, electronic deed registration and the extension of security of tenure for farm dwellers, tenants and workers.
We will continue codifying the exceptions to the 1913 cut-off date with respect to the Khoi and the San heritage sites and historical landmarks. Discussions on policy proposals on strengthening the relative rights of people working the land will continue.
We appreciate the current public discourse as it will enrich the discussions. South Africans are talking. Let us remind ourselves of the words of our former President, his Excellency the late Nelson Mandela, addressing Parliament in the President’s Budget Debate on 18 August 1994, said:
To present a facade of unity on each and every issue would be artificial, undemocratic and patently pretentious. The more these issues are aired and opened up for public debate, the better for the kind of democracy we seek to build. Handled within the bounds dictated by the interests of coherent and effective governance, such debate will definitely enrich our body politic. This applies equally to debate within parties about how to manage this novel experience.
Again, when he addressed a rally in Durban on the February 1990, he said:
Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country. Their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.
As far as legislative development and institutional reforms are concerned, the following Bills will be introduced to Parliament for consideration: Electronic Deeds Registration Bill, Regulation of Land Holdings Bill, Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill, Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill, and Communal Land Tenure Bill.
We plan to introduce the electronic system through the Electronic Deeds Registration Bill. It will allow us to achieve universal, countrywide access to deeds registration and cadastral services. It will decrease turnaround time for approval and registration of property. The Deeds Office processes almost a million registrations per annum, yet it is done manually.
We believe this piece of legislation is progressive and will have an immediate impact once operational. It will allow for the current paper-based system for lodgement and registration of deeds, which currently requires the conveyancer to appear before the Registrar of Deeds, to lodge electronically.
The second Bill that we will bring before Parliament this year is the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill. This Bill seeks to provide for the establishment and composition of the Land Commission, the appointment, qualifications and remuneration of members of the Land Commission, the classification of controlled land, the determination of land ceilings and the regulation of land ownership by foreign nationals.
Through this Bill, we seek to provide a legal framework for the disclosure of race, gender and nationality by owners of land and property. It will provide a transparent and more conducive regulatory environment for the generation and utilisation of policy-relevant information on land ownership and usage in the country.
The third Bill is the Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill, which in the main attempts to address legitimate aspirations of the vulnerable groups in commercial farming areas, namely, the farm workers and farm dwellers. The Bill further proposes the establishment of the Land Rights Management Board with District Land Reform Committees and Local Land Rights Management Committees. The latter two will provide a participatory platform for stakeholders.
The Bill envisages strengthening, clarifying and protecting the rights of various categories of persons within the commercial farming space. It is strongly believed that the Bill will help bring about a stable, cohesive and conducive atmosphere in farming communities.
The fourth Bill is the Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill, which seeks to ensure greater efficiency in the registration of Communal Property Associations, improved levels of social stability within affected groups or communities, as well as improved accountability to Parliament by the department. This Bill will provide for security of tenure through the registration of title deeds in the name of individual households. This will apply to both farm dwellers and labour tenants.
The fifth Bill, which is the Communal Land Tenure Bill, seeks to reform communal tenure to provide for the institutionalisation of land use rights by individual households irrespective of gender. It will define institutional roles and roles-relationships; provide for the distinction between governance and investment and development entities in the communal space; delineate responsibilities of the governance and investment and development entities and establish an accountability regime for the governance structures and investment and development entities in that space as well as to protect communal land from land sharks and to provide for active participation by households in strengthening the capability of the local sphere of government.
Hon Chair, you would have observed that most of the proposed pieces of legislation are about ensuring that together, we move South Africa forward. I am confident that with these policies and pieces of legislation, the ANC-led government will be placed in a position to accelerate the process of rural development and land reform. Working together with the economic sectors, employment and infrastructure cluster departments, our policy legislation and institutional reforms will be advanced.
We acknowledge that to enable the department to deliver on its ambitious programmes, its capacity will have to be dramatically strengthened. This should include communication with stakeholders and strategic partners. Our budget proposal is as follows, hon Chair: For 2014-15, R9,455 billion; 2015-16, R9,574 billion and for 2016-17, R10,67 billion. Hon Chair, thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr O J SEFAKO: Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here, hon members, director-generals, officials from the department, viewers and listeners at home, and distinguished guests, allow me to say that I am, indeed, grateful to participate in this debate on Budget Votes No 26 and 33.
Agriculture, Land and Rural Development are interrelated and interdependent. There is no way that you can farm if you do not have the land. It is therefore true that today we are seeing the two departments putting before this august House their Budget Votes.
The history of social and economic development of South Africa is characterised by contradictions. It is a history filled with bitterness, where in the same country there are developed and underdeveloped areas. It is the country that was created deliberately by the system; a bitter history of land dispossession; and forceful removals. As we celebrate 20 years of democracy, we can subtract 20 years from over 350 years, and there will be a good story to tell. For such a short period, there is a lot that this ANC-led government has done for the entire citizenry of this country.
Those who should celebrate the most, in particular, are the white women, because for a very long time they were under a oppressive patriarchal system, denying them access to property and lending by financial institutions. Today, in this democratic South Africa, they are enjoying the fruits of the struggle.
Chairperson, allow me to get into the subject matter of today by saying, ever since the inception of the ANC, its vision, policies and programmes have always been consistent in addressing the political and socioeconomic issues that have been haunting South Africans for so long. The adoption of the Africans’ Claims on 16 December 1943 was very emphatic of the land questions and mobilised progressive members of society by the ANC in the Congress of the People in 1955. That congress emerged with the paper that entered history as the Freedom Charter. It is emphatic of the issue of the land, that people should have their land. We are therefore embracing and welcoming the window period that has been opened for those who were done severe injustice by the dispossessions and forced removals, so that they may be able to start claiming their land. We are really welcoming that.
Ka re jalo ke tsena mo go tsa temothuo ke re Tona ya Temothuo, re a go leboga. Re leboga fa o gata e bile o arabela lonaka le le neng la peperetswa ke Moporesidente wa naga ya Aforikaborwa, e leng Rre J Z Zuma, ya gore re lebelele e le nngwe fela ya dikgwetlho tse tharo e leng botlhoki. Re sa ntse re na le batlhoki ba ba bidiwang badidi ba nta e e motopo, mme re na le setlhotshwana sa banna le basadi ba ba maragorago le borradimpa. O ribogolotse lenane la Phakisa, a boa a re itlhaganeleng. Re tshwanetse go siana gore re bone matshelo a batho a a tokafala; re gate ka moribo. Ke a itumela ka gonne kwa temothuong ke bona ka setlhopha sa lona gore ga go tshamekiwe. O teng o na le Rre Bheki Cele. Ke a itse gore go itlhaganela ke dilo tsa gagwe. Re a go siana kwa dipolaseng.
Komiti ya kgetho e a re e nesetsa pula ditekanyetsokabo tseno, ka bobedi jwa tsona. Re le ANC re a di amogela. Seo re se gatelelang ke gore a go nne le tekatekano mo Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, Casp. Re a itse gore ... (Translation of Setswana paragraphs follows.) [Having said that, I will now focus on agriculture and would like to thank the Minister of Agriculture for addressing one of the three challenges that were outlined by the President of the country, Mr J Z Zuma, which is poverty. We still have impoverished people who live in dire conditions and thereon are the other hand, a small group of people who are filthy rich.
He unveiled Operation Phakisa, which means “Hurry up” - and we have to speed things up in order to make the lives of our people better - we must move in one rhythm. I am excited to see Mr Bheki Cele in the agriculture group, which means there won’t be any playing around as making things happen fast is his forte. We are going to speed things up on the farms.