The select committee supports both budget votes and the ANC welcomes them. All that we emphasise is that there should be equality in the Comprehensive Agricultural Programme, CASP. We know that ...]
... all our provinces are more rural. The allocations should be equitable, as the Minister has already alluded to.
Re a re a porofense nngwe le nngwe e lebelelwe ka leitlho le le ntšhotšho. Re le komiti ya kgetho, di teng tse re di lebeletseng, segolosegolo e leng baofisiri ba tlaleletso. Re a re a baofisiri ba tlaleletso ba ke ba atamele kwa baleming, ba tswe mo gare ga diofisi le dithai ba tsamae. A e nne karolo e e leng gore ba tshwanetse go e lebelela ka leitlho le le ntšhotšho.
Kgang ya metsi re e lebile ka leitlho le lengwe re le komiti ya kgetho. Fa re lebelela, matamo le dikanala tse di leng teng tse, di sa ntse di tswela mosola fela bao mo malobeng di ne di ntse di ba tswela mosola. (Translation of Setswana paragraphs follows.) [Let each province be placed under surveillance. Some are under the surveillance eye of the select committee, especially additional officers. They should leave their ties and offices, come and work closer to the farmers, and look into it with much interest.
The other area that we are looking into, as the select committee, is water. From our point of view, the dams and the canals that were there a long time ago still benefit those who historically benefitted from them.]
If one can cite an example, let us take the Irrigation Board of Hartebeespoort in the Brits area, where we have two streams, the Eastern Canal and the Western Canal. The infrastructure has been there for a long time, and even today it is still benefitting those who historically benefitted from it. We are making an earnest appeal, as the select committee, that infrastructure should be redirected to the people for agriculture to be more successful. The emerging small farmers cannot emerge perpetually. The small farmers are commercial farmers in the making.
As the select committee, we also support the Bills that Minister Nkwinti has alluded to.
Re a re a di potlakise gore mafatshe a boele go beng ba ona. Re boa gape re re go Makhoisan, monna yole yo o neng a tla fano a be a jwala tshingwana e re leng gaufi le yona fa, a le fitlhetse mo Kapa mono, ke nako ya gore le itlhagise. Fa go na le bokgoni jwa go tsenya kopo ya Motse Kapa, ke nako. [Legofi.] Go a bontsha gore tsela e e tswang mo Motse Kapa e ya e leba kwa Namibia, ke moo borraalonamogolo ba tlogetseng motlhala wa lona teng. Moo le senyeditsweng teng, re a re a go baakanngwe. Re a leboga. Pula a e ne! [Legofi.] (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.) [Let them speed them up so that the land can go back to the rightful owners. We also appeal to the Khoisan: That man who came and planted the garden that we are next to, found you in Cape Town. If there is a possibility of submitting a claim for Cape Town, this is the time. [Applause.] The road from Cape Town to Namibia shows that it is where your great grandfathers left their mark. We say that where you have been wronged; let it be corrected. Thank you. [Applause.]]
Mr C B F SMIT: Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon premiers, hon members, guests, land and the use of it lies close to the hearts of all South Africans. It is the foundation of who we are and gives us purpose and a sense of belonging. That is why it is so important that we address this critical issue with caution and the necessary sensitivity. If we do this wrongly, we will rot from the root upwards as a society. It is very important that we address the legacy of past dispossession in a responsible, developmental and constructive way.
We need to ensure that all South Africans benefit from the productive use of this land, particularly in the rural economy. The National Development Plan, NDP, outlines how we can boost the rural economy and create a potential 1 million jobs in agriculture by 2030. Unfortunately the department has a terrible record with respect to land reform and rural development, as we have dismally failed so far.
Why did we fail, hon Minister? We failed because the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform thought that by throwing heaps of money at rural communities it achieved rural development. This is illustrated by the example of Makgoba Tea Estates, where the estates were bought for R104 million in 2006 and recapitalised. We have had over R76 million since 2010, but in 2012 the financial statements show that the estate had R121 million’s worth of assets and a profit of only R80. Can we call this success and development? I don’t think so, hon Minister. We failed, because the department does not grow and nurture security of land ownership. This harbours fear to invest in land that could create jobs for our people.
It is clear that we are chasing away investment if we reflect on the declining number of commercial farmers in South Africa. In the 90s we had 120 000 commercial farmers, whereas today we are left with about 37 000. This is a serious threat to our food security. In the 90s we were a prime exporter of food; today we are a prime importer of food. And then we scratch our heads, wondering why food is getting more and more expensive by the day.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries must start giving the necessary support to our commercial farming sector, to prosper and create jobs and opportunities for more development and job creation. The department can start by giving support through more research into crop and production methods as well as into climate change and how to adapt the industry.
Let us start working on a win-win farming partnership where we utilise the experience of successful farmers in creating opportunities for expansion where more and more people can benefit from agriculture. Does the hon Minister have a clear and specific plan for how to utilise high-potential agricultural land under state and communal control? I can’t see such planning in this budget, hon Minister. What are we doing to ignite the potential of places like Umzimvubu Valley that are greatly underused?
I drive through the villages of Mogalakwena in Limpopo, where I live, and see all this high-potential land and thousands of struggling unemployed people in the vicinity. But I can’t see any visible effort from these two departments to develop the potential in order to benefit these people. Hon Minister, are we really serious about rural development, while we have about 50% of our high-potential agricultural land underused? Let us stop throwing money around and start spending wisely, whereby we can ignite the potential of our land.
Hon Minister, when will the department be able to fill its vacancies, while you don’t even have the budget to do so? And this while the department overspends on consultants as it is unable to fulfil its full mandate. It seems to have become a pipe dream. Hon Minister, are we really getting value for our money if we look at the large budgets for geometric services or is this just an easy way to direct money to the connected few?
What happened to the forensic audit in this regard, hon Minister? There are 8 733 outstanding claims from the previous claim period, hon Minister. And we settle between 260 and 380 of these claims per year. This means that it will take 30 years to finalise these current claims. Hon Minister, I don’t wish to be part of your department when you start settling new claims while the current claims have not been settled yet. New claims are expected to be in the region of 397 000, which will cost the state between R125 billion and R175 billion.
I was wondering where the Minister plans to dig out this budget. Oh, but I forgot! Hon Minister Nkwinti responded to my statement on this matter in this Chamber and said, I quote: “We will settle it as we go along”. So, hon Minister if I understood you correctly, it means you don’t have a specific plan to handle these new claims. If this is how the department plans to handle land restitution going forward, I foresee chaos. People who lodge their claims today will be in their graves by the day when their claims are settled. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hold on! Hold on, hon Smit.
Mr O J SEFAKO: Chair, on a point of order: I just want to find out whether the hon speaker is prepared to take a question.
Mr C B F SMIT: No, thank you, I won’t be interested.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Okay, thank you; continue.
Mr C B F SMIT: People who claim today might be in their graves by the day when their claims are settled. Can we imagine what this will do to the value of our land, if we sustain this unstable and insecure environment over many, many years? The year 2030 will come and go and we will not even have come close to the 1 million jobs in the agricultural sector.
Hon Minister, the DA suggests that you make it your priority to develop a detailed plan with timelines and a relevant budget to finalise these claims as soon as possible. Like they say ...
Kersfees kom en Kersfees gaan. [Christmases come and go.]
Let us look ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order, members! Order, members! [Interjections.]
Mr C B F SMIT: ... at the success rate of the current land reform programmes. After recapitalisation we increased the success rate from 8% to 27%. Can we call this a good story to tell, while 73% of all land reform programmes are still failing? It is very interesting that 75% of all successful programmes are situated in the Western Cape, where the DA governs.
An HON MEMBER: Bring back the land!
Mr C B F SMIT: In the 2013-14 financial year 109 of the 239 land claims were finalised in the Western Cape. Furthermore, in the same financial year 187 of the 379 land claims were settled in the Western Cape. If this is not a clear testimonial that the DA governs far better, then I don’t know.
The SA Fisheries Sector is in disarray. Where did this problem start? Firstly, the dodgy tender to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium, as is alleged by the Public Protector; and secondly, the abandonment of the flawed 2014 fishing rights process. The DA agrees with the government’s policy to look after subsistence and small-scale fishing communities. But the only way to empower local fisheries is to allocate sustainable fishing rights to individuals instead of co-operatives, which have already proven to be a massive failure, and continue to fail.
The communities of Langebaan and Paternoster are a clear indication of this failure. These communities are dying of hunger because their only source of living has been taken away from them. The time has come for us, as South Africans, to take hands and unite behind the National Development Plan. It is time that we build our South Africa and not hold each other to ransom.
It is time to own this land and contribute towards its success by being productive and actively involved. It is time to heal the wounds rather than scratching them open at each and every opportunity that we get. Let us become entrepreneurs. Let us become farmers, fishers and small business owners in our rural villages and along the coasts where we live. Let us build one nation, with one future. I thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here, hon Members of the NCOP, officials, our partners in Rural Development and Land Reform, distinguished guests, fellow South Africans, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Let me begin by re-emphasising what was said by the President of the ANC in January 2014, on the 22nd anniversary of the ANC, and I quote:
The ANC, together with the communities, will work towards poverty eradication in rural areas. Accordingly, the current rural development policies suggest an instrument and approaches for effective rural poverty eradication, and further to mobilise and organise rural communities against the roots of racialised and gender–based rural poverty.
Twenty years since the advent of democracy, a lot has been achieved towards reversing the negative legacy of the 1913 Natives Land Act. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform introduced the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, CRDP, in July 2009. Since then, the programme has been implemented in all provinces. The CRDP rolls out in three phases, which run both sequentially and simultaneously. Phase one deals with meeting basic human needs with infrastructure as a key driver,including food security; Phase two focuses on rural enterprise development; and Phase three relates torural industries,supported by local markets and credit facilities.
The CRDP vision of creating vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities is beginning to be evident in some of the earlier villages where CRDP was implemented, like Diyatalawa in the Free State, which was developed as the first rural green village. Since the start of the CRDP in the area various interventions dealing with the three phases of the CRDP have been implemented ranging from improving housing, access to water, sanitation and energy. This has been coupled with enterprise development, which includes the development of 100 ha under irrigation, the provision of dairy infrastructure and the improvement of the livestock programme.
All of the above have contributed significantly to the change in people’s lives. Other communities where a marked improvement has been noted include Masia in Limpopo; Mvezo, Ludondolo and Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape; Witzenburg in the Western Cape; Devon and Sokhulumi in Gauteng; Riemvasmaak in the Northern Cape; Msinga, Uthungulu and Mansomini in KwaZulu-Natal; Virginia in the Free State; Dabulamanzi bordering the North West province and the Free State; Mayflower, Donkerhoek and Mhlongamvula in Mpumalanga, to name but a few.
As we begin to move South Africa forward together, we have taken cognisance of the fact that comprehensive development is not an event, but rather a process that requires a consolidated long-term plan that covers all the areas that impact the lives of our rural people. This holistic change is well captured in the strategy of agrarian transformation, which refers to the rapid and fundamental change in the relations of land, livestock, cropping and community.
This means that agrarian transformation is not just a reform, but about social, technical, economic, political, cultural, organisational and institutional issues. Hence, in areas like Diyatalawa and Muyexe, which were the first pilots, the department is still working with those communities to ensure that radical socioeconomic change continues.
In the current financial year, amongst others, we will be focusing on improving rural road access across the country. In this regard in Diyatalawa, we have in the first quarter completed a 22 m bridge at a cost of R21 million and we are also actively involved in paving 8,5 km of internal access roads in Muyexe at a cost of R23 million.
The department has over the past term been partnering with various research institutions to find new technologies that could be utilised to develop rural areas. For example, we are partnering with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, and we will this year test the implementation of ultra-thin concrete road technology in the Eastern Cape. This is a very labour-intensive technique that could provide us with an opportunity to improve access in rural areas at a lower cost, while still contributing to job creation.
Furthermore, we are exploring the use of technology to assist in recycling projects that could serve as an enterprise model. One such initiative that we are looking into is where tyres from mines and other sources can be used to generate fuel and recycled into tiles for roofs or even paving. In this financial year, we will invest R12 million in this research.
Meeting basic human needs is the first phase of the CRDP. The department has been working closely with the Department of Co-operative Governance and rural municipalities to ensure improved access by rural households. In this financial year 8 000 households will be assisted at a cost of R126 million to access basic services. All of the aforementioned interventions will be linked directly to the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, MTSF, target of increased access to basic infrastructure and services.
Revitalisation of rural towns is key to ensuring that rural urban links are created for sustainable economic transformation of the rural space. We are pleased to announce that the department will be managing the implementation of the Neighbourhood Development Partnership grant in support of rural municipalities. This is being done through an agreement with National Treasury and it is anticipated that over the next 18 months this programme will be transferred fully to the department, which would give us the ability to expand the work that we have started with in the 27 priority rural districts.
Over the past year the department has been supporting various women’s co-operatives to expand their arts and crafts enterprises. On 19 July, this month, we hosted a rural women’s conference to initiate a process towards organising 93 arts and crafts co-operative enterprises with a membership of 1 088 rural women, into a co-operative financial institution, the precursor to an arts and crafts co-operative bank.
The department has, in the MTSF, committed to supporting smallholder farmer development. One of the programmes launched by the Minister is the Animal and Veld Management Programme, AVMP. Furthermore, the livestock auction that was started at Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal will be rolled out to the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape. As part of the AVMP, we have been working with the Woolgrowers Association of SA towards meeting the target of introducing, in the current MTSF period, 70 000 rams to improve wool production in the North West, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. In the Eastern Cape alone the department and the SA Woolgrowers Association will be supporting, in the next three years, over 17 000 wool producers in 334 villages.
We are providing support to rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo to improve participation in the essential oils and perfume manufacturing industries. The department will invest approximately R380 million to support formal and informal rural enterprises in the selected commodities and value chains and rural industrial development.
His Excellency the President, in his state of the nation address, placed emphasis on skills development. In this regard, the department will enhance the implementation of the National Rural Youth Service Corps programme with the main objective of recruiting and developing rural youth to become agents of change in rural areas.
To date a total of 13 894 rural youth have been recruited and more than 5 000 of these youth have been trained in various construction disciplines, including building of community housing, paving, welding, and electrical engineering. During this financial year we will be recruiting young people to ensure that 50 000 of them will be participating by the year 2019.
As the department, we have selected a few projects that are going to be launched within these 100 days. One of these projects is the Tugela Bridge, which will cost us R30 million – this will be started during this financial year; the Masia Multipurpose Centre, which will be constructed and completed in September 2014 at a cost of R29,5 million; the Beaufort West Youth Hub, which will cost us R50 million; the iSchool Africa Rural Development Programme, for which we are partnering with stakeholders in the private sector, will also be launched in August, next month. Through this programme, we are going to reach 61 schools in rural areas, with participation by 40 000 learners.
The Tugela Ferry Irrigation Scheme is the one that will be creating jobs in this area. It is a project through which, during the first quarter of this financial year, we shall have revitalised infrastructure, which includes 1 000 ha along the Tugela River. This project will cost us R40 million.
The Msinga auction facility, including an administrative block, will be completed in September 2014 and will contribute towards the Animal and Veld Management Programme that is being implemented in these areas.
The Thaba Nchu College in the Free State has been identified to serve as headquarters for the National Rural Youth Service Corps. It will serve to accommodate youth during recruitment, induction, medical assessment, and skills development. It will become the base from which the entire programme will be co-ordinated for the country. To reorientate the mindset of young people in the country the facility will become the final resting place of the 1913 Natives Land Act exhibition.
We will also launch the customary feeding project under the red meat production improvement initiative with the National Agricultural Marketing Council, NAMC, in the Gxwal’ubomvu village in Tsomo, Chris Hani District Municipality. Just over 1 000 cattle-farming households are participating. This project will be expanded to involve 3 000 cattle-owning rural households and rolled out to the Northern Cape and the Free State.
In conclusion, we are certain that, through the CRDP, working together, we are surely moving rural South Africans forward towards a sustainable, vibrant and equitable future. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr V E MTILENI: Hon Chairperson, Ministers and your staff, the guests in the gallery, avusheni. [... greetings.] The South African poet Lefifi Tladi described the state of the youth in words that best describe the attitude of this department to the task of returning land to the black people.
Ga ba tshwenyege, ga ba tshwenyege, ebile ga ba kgathale. [They do not care, are not even concerned; and are not bothered.]
This Ministry does everything to avoid the issue of land redistribution. In 20 years, only 8% of the land, which is worth R50 million, has been bought back. We still remember the times when the President, hon Jacob Zuma, could not pronounce the billions that the government gave to one white farmer, who benefited from the land theft.
The land policy framework of this government promotes illegality. The government takes taxpayers’ money and buys back stolen property. Therefore, the EFF can’t support a Budget Vote that continues this logic. This government has indeed given up on land redistribution. That is why no targets are set anymore.
In 1994, the government set a target of 30% in five years, but it only achieved 1%. Again, it set the same target, that of 30%, by 2014. This year is 2014, and the 30% target that was set has not been reached. The current Medium-Term Strategic Framework, MTSF, has no set targets. We just do not know when the land will be returned to our people. The truth is that it will take us more than 100 years to buy back the 30% target prescribed by this government.
“Bogatlapa” [Laziness] has led to a long list of bad land policies. There are some 15 or so policies and Bills to be processed. None is about ending the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle. In other words, they are all about avoiding land expropriation without compensation. The EFF is offering its votes to achieve the two-thirds majority required to amend section 25 of the Constitution: Property; as it stands. Why is the ruling party not taking it so that we complete the land question?
The reopening of the restitution process, the Land Claims Process, is a bad policy. It is clearly about looting by the rural elite and feudal lords connected to the President. We have seen, in the past few weeks, an orgy of claims and counter-claims by all manner of minor chiefs, kings and other such individuals. Even the nephew of the President has claimed more than 60 farms in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Land Claims Process is organised as the second Nkandla. It is not about land returned to our people. The old claims have not been settled. The department has asked for R180 billion for the old claims. Now, there is a new claims process, but the total land budget is about R10 billion, with R2 billion going to the restitution process. Ke mantlwane-ntlwane fela. [This is a joke.]