Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Budget Speech, responses by DA, ACDP, IFP, EFF, FF+
12 May 2022
SPEECH BY MS ANGELA THOKOZILE DIDIZA, MP ON THE BUDGET VOTE OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (Vote 29),
12 MAY 2022,
Honourable Chairperson Honourable Members
Deputy Ministers Skwatsha and Capa Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee Members of our Statutory Boards and Councils
Leadership of Farmers Organisations and CEOs of Commodity organisations
Farmers and Farm Workers Senior Officials
Ladies and Gentlemen
THE MACROECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
The new normal ushered by COVID-19 has meant that we execute strategies on agricultural production and food security differently. Agriculture has shown buoyancy over the past two years, growing by 13.4% year-on-year in 2020 and 8.3% in 2021. The employment figures in the sector were at
868 000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, reflecting stability over the past few years. Most agricultural subsectors in South Africa are emerging from one of the best years for the agricultural sector—the 2020/21 season. Grains, oilseeds and some fruit such as citrus saw bumper harvests, which boosted export earnings and improved farm income.
However, the economic growth experienced and the relative stability in employment are in danger of being eroded due to a number of factors, including the geo-political issues affecting agricultural trade. The current Russia-Ukraine conflict has the potential to scupper our growth, as there are real concerns about its potential impact on escalating food insecurity, since the two countries are major exporters of grains, oilseeds, fertilisers, and crude oil products to international markets.
I have established a sector Task Team, led by the National Agricultural Marketing Council team that is constantly scanning the environment and providing periodic reports on this unfolding situation and the impact on the sector in particular the escalation of food prices, animal feed and fertilisers.
Honorable Chairperson, honourable members, the intention of our land and agrarian reform has always been about redressing the inequity in terms of land ownership because of colonial and apartheid policies. We must ensure tenure security for all, empower citizens to participate in the agricultural economy and ensure integrated rural development. Our interventions in policy, legislation and programmatic intervention must bring us closer in building an inclusive society, without leaving anyone behind.
The challenges of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment must challenge us to continuously find solutions that can respond to these challenges. Racial discrimination also had a gender dimension, it is for this reason that women empowerment in both land and agrarian sectors should be integral.
The participation of the majority of women in the agricultural sector has always been limited to subsistence farming and working in the commercial farms, largely because land access has always been a constraint.
Government’s intervention in order to correct the situation has been multi fold. Firstly, it has been about profiling women farmers who are producing for the market through Female Farmer of the year. Secondly, it was about allocating women with farms through the Pro-Active Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS). Thirdly through department’s procurement.
I wish to table the 2022/23 budget. Let me indicate from the outset that the Budget for the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Department is R17.3 billion. A sizeable portion of this budget is for transfers to Provincial Departments of Agriculture, as part of the division of revenue as well as transfers to Agricultural Entities.
These allocations relate to-
Ilima /Letsema Conditional Grant - R610 million;
CASP (Comprehensive agricultural support program) –R1,2 billion;
CASP Extension Services – R304 million;
Commission on Restitution of Land Rights R3,7 billion;
Agricultural Research Council – R1,2 billion;
National Marketing Council – R48,5 million; and
Ingonyama Trust Board – R24,4 million.
I wish to thank the Portfolio Committee for their work in engaging us on our Annual Performance Plans for the year 2022/23, which outlines how we will utilise the allocated budget.
Today we are joining the world in celebrating the inaugural International Plant Health Day - raising global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. These objectives are critical for us to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These development goals compel us to have development that is sustainable and inclusive, without leaving anyone behind.
Chairperson, today also marks a historic moment in South Africa’s Agricultural Sector. Earlier today, we signed the Agriculture Agro-processing Masterplan together with social partners. This Plan is a product of negotiations between government, business, labour and civil society organisations in the agriculture and agro-processing sectors.
The journey we have undertaken since June 2020, built on the work done since 2001 when we first developed the Strategic Plan for South Africa’s Agricultural Sector, the Sector plan, Operation Phakisa and the National Development Plan. All of these processes remain important milestones that aimed at the transforming the sector, giving us a vision to which we must focus. This Masterplan is lifting our gaze to imagine the agricultural sector we want in South Africa. We want a prosperous and inclusive agricultural sector that thrives on better utilisation of its natural and human resources.
Allow me to commend Professor Mzukisi Qobo, who has diligently facilitated this compact supported by the National Marketing Council and the Research Team form BEFAP, and CCRED. My appreciation goes to leaders and representatives of farmers, agri-business, labour and government, who have tirelessly worked to ensure that we have a vision and plan that will help us attain a transformed and inclusive sector.
The process of developing the Masterplan has emphasised the multifaceted nature of agriculture in society. The representatives were diverse reflective of the sub-sectors of the industry. Such representation also highlighted the upstream and downstream linkages that are embedded in agriculture.
The Masterplan development process has once again affirmed the importance of Social-compacting, as pronounced by President Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation address. It requires commitment, patience and determination from all those who are involved. It may take long; however, the fruits derived from such a process are always rewarding.
In 2016, we commenced a process of negotiating an e-certification with the Netherlands, in order to ease the burden of inspection in support of trade. Working together with Industry, we have finally launched the e-certification on Monday, 9 May 2022. This digital tool has come at an opportune time, given the Covid-19 pandemic, where inspection across borders has become even more difficult. South Africa is now one of the few countries that will now use e-certification for trade.
The feature of transformation of agriculture in South Africa remains the change in landownership patterns, the growth of Black commercial farming and the accumulation of wealth, to improve the quality of livelihoods of people directly and indirectly impacted by agricultural initiatives. One of the important elements for transformation and inclusive growth will be the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Our partnership with Numolux Group, on the Ceres Abattoir, through its subsidiary Numolux Agriculture, has seen us improving its production capacity to 60 tons per month for the local market. The success of this project gives us lessons on how we can revitalise some of government defunct projects.
Initiatives such as Partners in Agri-land Solutions (PALS), where there is a partnership between emerging and commercial farmers, are showing fruits in addressing binding constraints.
The development of the Mkhuze-siding, in support of small-scale sugarcane farmers of Makhathini Flats is a result of partnership between government, farmers, Transnet, KZN Economic Development Department, Tongaat Hullet and Santrans.
Honourable Members, I am raising these stories as an affirmation of the importance of partnership in resolving our country’s challenges.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND BIOSECURITY
Today, it is a day to celebrate. Our very own Veterinarian Dr Gideon Bruckner, a committed civil servant who served his country and continues to do so. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) will be honouring Dr Bruckner with an award of the Gold Medal. This award is in recognition of his excellent contribution to the international veterinary scientific community.
As we celebrate our excellence in veterinary services, we acknowledge the challenges that remain in our country’s animal health system. Despite our efforts in containing Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Limpopo, it has shown the weakness in our governance system within the concurrence framework and the line of command. The strengthening of our vaccine production capacity is more urgent now than ever before. The Onderstepoort Biological Products Company requires deliberate support, to ensure the completion of its GMP facility. It is important to ensure that information on availability and non- availability of vaccine is given timeously to producers.
Chairperson, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather and climate events on the globe, and particularly in Africa, are expected to increase. We therefore need to continue to strengthen the multi-hazards early warning system for our country, to preserve our development gains and minimise losses in agriculture, livelihoods, property and human life. We also need to accelerate the implementation of disaster risk reduction measures, response and post-disaster recovery mechanisms to protect our sector. The recent floods experienced in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape serve as prime examples for the implementation of disaster risk reduction measures.
There is an intrinsic link between climate change and the spread of pests and diseases. Over the past few years, we have been experiencing introduction, establishment and spread of pests and diseases into new areas. Some of the outbreaks are due to deliberate human interventions. The current outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth in new areas such as Northwest, Gauteng and Free State is being addressed. Depopulation of affected farms in Gauteng and Free State has been completed. We are busy with depopulation in North West. I wish to thank the livestock industry for working with us in addressing this outbreak timeously.
The gravity of the challenges with FMD have created an avenue for me to have consistent sessions with the livestock industry. I have also had positive engagements with Premier Stan Mathabatha, MEC Nandi Ndalane and other relevant MECs of Limpopo, to adequately resource our strategy to address FMD control measures in Limpopo. I also had engagements with the Limpopo Provincial House of Traditional Leaders to ensure that they become part of the disease control and management mechanism. In KwaZulu-Natal, MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi and her team have begun with the vaccination in the Disease Management Area.
In order to address the economic impact of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, the department is currently engaging with trading partners where there have been bans on the export of products from cloven-hoofed animals. We have contacted the authorities in China on the re-opening of exports of our wool as we believe the current system utilised in the wool industry provides the appropriate level of protection required for safe trade.
In recognising the importance of biosecurity to our country and the sanitary and phytosanitary incursions we have experienced in the last few years, I established a task team of experts to investigate challenges in our animal health system and advise accordingly. The draft report has been discussed with the Ministry and the final report will be released soon. I wish to thank Dr Moephuli, Professor Kirsten, Dr Mogajane and Dr Bruckner for availing their expertise to support government’s efforts in strengthening its animal health system and thereby growing the livestock industry.
BROWN LOCUST OUTBREAK
As a country, we have experienced swams of brown locust in the provinces of Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Free State that we have not seen in decades. This outbreak has had devastating impact on farmers and local communities. These will affect negatively food security, as grazing lands and crops are eroded. The government, working with industry, has been controlling using aerial spraying and training of local communities. Some of the difficulties relate to ever-changing wind directions that move these locust to different directions as we have seen them now in the Buffalo City metro. We wish to thank Kumba Iron Ore, Transnet and other private sector companies that have collaborated with us in the fight against these locusts.
Our programme of commercialisation of black farmers is taking shape and some green shoots of this programme are showing in Land Development
Support of farmers on farms acquired through Pro-Active Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS). I visited Georgina Farm in the Free State last month, where Mr Dan Mosia farms sunflower on 600 ha. He narrated that in 2020, he started with 300 ha with a yield of 1.33 tons per ha. He expanded his operation to 600 ha in 2021 and increased his yield to 1.5 tons per ha. He has created 40 jobs, with youth making 40% of his workforce.
We also recognise Mr Rudzani Sadiki of the 1 285 ha Thornveld farms in Limpopo. He mainly farms with sunflower, supplemented by livestock production. In 2021, he planted 774 ha of sunflower and he has increased land under sunflower production to 974 ha in 2022. He has five permanent employees and further employs 75 seasonal staff during peak periods.
These two examples show that commercialisation is possible but we have also realised that we need to make all PLAS farms farmable.
Honourable members, last year in our budget debate we announced that we would open up for the application of hemp permits by October 2021. To date,
31 permits have been issued. We continue to process the rest of the applications. In order to ensure an inclusive value chain, we will be working with ARC to set up demonstration farms in all nine provinces, to ensure education of primary producers on the appropriation production technologies.
Agricultural financing remains the critical element in ensuring that agriculture remains the productive sector of the economy, which contributes to food security, poverty alleviation and job creation.
It is important that our financial institutions appreciate that agriculture needs patient money like other land-based industries. Production finance needs to take into consideration the variables that are inherent in the cycle of production of relevant commodities as well as risks. Non-financial services to producers are equally important in order to reduce the default rate from farmers.
The resolution of the challenges in the Land and Agriculture Bank remain important. We need to support the Board of Directors and Management in the continuous negotiations with lenders and those who hold its debt.
To date, the department has transferred R400 million of the committed R1 billion grant to the Agri-Industrial Fund as per Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC). In our first year the facility has funded nine projects to the value of R384 million. All of these projects are black owned and operated and four of these are women owned. This facilitated 229 new jobs. There are currently 31 transactions in the pipeline requiring R2.2 billion, of which R623 million is grant funding. It is envisaged that 1 371 new permanent jobs will be created through these initiatives.
In support of the Poultry Masterplan, six black owned and operated farmers have been supported. These farmers are producing one, 9 million birds a month.
We have concluded the signing of citrus and pear protocols to increase export of pears and citrus fruits to the China market. We are also currently
negotiating trade protocols with South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.
In the past year, we have signed technical cooperation agreements with Ghana and Cote d’I voure. These agreements will also create conditions for market access.
Chairperson, during this current year we will examine all bilateral agreements we have entered into in order to assess the extent to which they enhance our country’s national interest.
STRENGTHENING GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Chairperson, in 2021, as part of our efforts to strengthen governance, administration and leadership, we appointed our Director-General in December 2021 and we have since also been able to fill positions of four Deputy Directors-General to head the following branches: Spatial Planning and Land Use Management, Rural Development, Food Security and Agrarian Reform and Provincial Operations. Capacitating the department in all respects will ensure optimal efficiency in the execution of our mandate. Within our State-Owned Entities we welcome the new Chief Executive Officer of the ARC, Dr Litha Magingxa, and we wish him well in steering our prime research institute. We are also in the process of engaging in appointing the Ingonyama Trust Board.
I thank you.
BUDGET VOTE ADDRESSS: DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: MR MCEBISI SKWATSHA, MP
12 MAY 2022
Honourable House Chairperson; Honourable Minister Didiza; Deputy Minister Capa;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers on the platform; Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee; Members of Parliament;
Board Members of our State-Owned Entities;
Senior Officials of the Department and State-Owned Entities; Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen
I now wish to draw your attention to some of our key programmes:
To achieve the goal of equitable access to land, as enshrined in the Constitution, the department acquires and allocates land under the land redistribution programme. In the 2020/21 financial year, we reported that we acquired 22 000 ha of land. We have improved our acquisition by over 100% from our previous financial year by acquiring 57 000 ha of land through the Pro-Active Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) in the 2021/22 financial year. This achievement is just a drop in the ocean, and we are not complacent about it, as we know that inequitable access to land remains the main challenge in this country.
In line with National Policy for Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy (NPBSLA), we continue to ensure that land allocation targets the vulnerable members of society, and to that extent, of the 39 037 ha of the PLAS land allocated, over 50% of it was allocated to the targeted vulnerable groups. It is our desired goal to improve on this as we implement the policy.
We will continue to target areas where there is huge land hunger, especially in the communal, peri-urban and rural areas. The department had to make additional funding to this programme through budget adjustment and budget re-prioritisation, to ensure that more land is acquired. In the current financial year, a budget of R366 million has been set aside for land redistribution.
Rapid release of state land to enhance land reform
In support of the initiative to release the underutilised and vacant State land, the department has allocated 679 943 ha of 700 000 ha of the agricultural land to various farmers, cooperatives, entities and communities, including vulnerable groups such as farm dwellers and labour tenants. The department will continue to provide support to these farmers with extensions services that are inclusive of technical and infrastructure support.
We have set aside a budget of R217 million for land acquisition, to address security of tenure. Regarding this, the department intends to acquire 5000 ha of land in the current financial year. The land acquired for security of tenure addresses different land tenure needs, including settlement of the Labour Tenants applications and Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997 (Act No. No. 62 of 1997) (ESTA) occupiers.
Communal Property Association (CPA)
The department recognises the challenges facing Communal Property Assosiations (CPAs) with the limited budget. We will continue to ensure that CPAs are capacitated and supported to be compliant with the Act.
Last year, we said that we will audit CPAs over a two-year period. The current financial year 2022/23 is year two of that work.
Currently, more than 1 500 CPAs have been established and registered nationally. In the past financial year 2021/22, we supported 581 CPAs against our target of 577 and we will further train 585 members on governance of these CPAs in the current financial year. Although we over achieved in terms of the target set, we remain uneasy about the performance of CPAs.
As government, we are concerned about governance issues within CPAs and we fully understand when the Portfolio Committee and Select committees raise concerns.
We will continue to grapple with governance issues and mediation of disputes.
For us, we consider that as dealing with the symptoms and not the actual cause of the problem,
The fundamental question is:
Are CPAs the best land holding model?
Is it not time to consider sub-divisions in certain instances? For example, where family members have been brought into a legal entity and they experience continuous disagreements, to the detriment of the business enterprise.
Another major worry is that when beneficiaries have acquired land through the various land reform programmes, they defeat the very same objectives of land reform, by not using the land or not leasing it out for meagre rental income.
In saying so, I must hasten to add that a lot of support needs to be provided to the CPAs. More thinking needs to go into how we can make them functional or whether they are the best land holding model given the governance challenges.
We are pleased that through our support, the Kgatla CPA in Greater Tzaneen and Tshivhula CPA in Musina were able to resolve their governance and compliance challenges and, as a result, they were able to attract investors and are thus creating jobs for the beneficiaries.
The department will prioritise the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (ESTA) awareness campaigns, to create awareness and curb farm evictions, implementation of the farm dweller programme and provide legal representation to farm dwellers through Legal Aid South Africa and Mediation services.
On 26 March 2022, I was in Belfast – Mpumalanga, at Paardeplaats and Rietfontein Farms, where we handed over 35 housing units to farm dwellers and labour tenants. These beneficiaries had been living in mud houses all along and are now staying in proper brick houses.
The department will expedite land acquisition for farm dwellers to provide long term security of tenure.
The department will also expedite the piloting of Agri-villages in eviction hotspot areas of KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
Communal Tenure Reform
A Government’s Position Paper on Land Administration and Communal tenure was approved by Cabinet for further consultation with traditional leadership, traditional communities, civil society organisations and other interest groups, and the consultation process has been complemented. This will lead to the national summit, which will take place soon.
The development of the Communal Land Tenure Policy and the Communal Land tenure Bill has commenced and awaiting the national summit consultations, before moving on with the approval processes.
All the inputs from these consultations, including the outcome of the summit, will be consolidated and contribute to the finalisation of the Communal Land Tenure Policy and the Communal Land tenure Bill.
The consultations were conducted with the following stakeholders:
National House of Traditional Leaders;
National Khoi-San Council;
Seven Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders;
30 Local Houses of Traditional Leaders;
Five of the Kingdoms in Eastern Cape;
Gauteng and North West traditional community members;
CONTRALESA; and the
Academia /Civil Society/ NGOs/ expects.
We thank the sister departments; Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the Department of Justice and Correctional Services for co-piloting the consultation process. We also thank the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform and Agriculture, led by the Honourable Deputy President DD Mabuza, who provides continuous guidance and support.
Policy and Legislative Development
In furtherance of the recommendations of the Presidential High Panel on Agriculture and Land Reform, the department has commenced with the development of a Land Redistribution Policy and Land Redistribution Bill. The Bill is envisaged to be introduced for approval toward the end of the current financial year, as extensive consultations will have to be undertaken. This will mark the country’s first over-arching Land Redistribution Legislation.
There are nine new Bills that will be introduced to Parliament, four are amendment Bills and five are new Bills.
The Sectional Tittle Amendment Bill has been processed by Parliament and the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill is currently being processed.
The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights is established by Section 4 of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 (Act No. of 1994), to ensure the realisation of the Constitutional imperative set out in Section 25(7) of the Constitution, which is,
“A person or community dispossessed of property after 19 June 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to restitution of that property or to equitable redress.”
Notwithstanding the challenges presented by Covid-19 and the attendant State of disaster regulations, the Commission was able to achieve and exceed its 2021/22 Annual Performance targets – achieving 103% on the settlement of land claims and 106% on the target of finalising land claims.
A total of 55 073 hectares of land was secured in the settlement of 17 claims.
If the 230 claimants who opted for financial compensation had opted for land, we would have restored 88 742 hectares.
To ensure that the commission assists the claimants who opt for land restoration in the development of their land, an amount of R87, 275,483.50 was allocated in the form of development grants.
At an overall level, an accumulative total of 82 295 claims have been settled to date. A total of 3,8 million hectares of land has been secured at a land cost of over R24 billion. Financial compensation awards totaling R18 billion have been paid to date.
These land and financial compensation awards have benefitted a total of
444, 057 households who constitute a total of 2,228,123 beneficiaries. A total of 170 616 are female-headed households, while a total of 1 202 constitutes persons with disabilities.
It would be amiss of me if I do not stop and appreciate the progress, we made in District Six. All stakeholders came to the party – the Portfolio Committee, the IMC on Land and Agriculture, the City of Cape Town, our department, etc. On 6 May 2022, more beneficiaries returned to where they were forcibly removed, after the City of Cape Town issued occupancy certificates. More beneficiaries will move in in phases.
Performance Targets for the 2022/23 Financial Year
A significant progress is being made in the settlement of old order outstanding claims, an improvement that augurs well in meeting the expectations of the Constitutional Court as expressed in the LAMOSA judgement of 2019.
The 5th LAMOSA report submitted by the commission in December 2021 reflected 7148 old order outstanding claims.
The commission has set itself a target of settling a total of 336 claims and finalising a total of 372 claims for the 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan. This represents a marked increase from the targets set for 2021/22 and is premised on the significant improvements in the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Fast Track and Improve Settlement of Claims
In recognition of the urgency to expedite settlement of outstanding claims, the commission has, in the past year, completed an external audit of the outstanding claims.
This work was done by a firm of Auditors and is a critical milestone in the broader backlog reduction strategy instituted under Project Kuyasa. The audit report has since been included in the latest LAMOSA report submitted in December 2021.
While the commission is not responsible for post settlement, to improve sustainability of restituted land, it continues to mobilize role players across various economic sectors that are affected by land claims.
Several engagements have been held with public and private stakeholders, in an attempt to develop settlement models in the forestry, sugarcane, mining, Agriculture and urban land development.
To date, consultations on draft proposed models have been held across these sectors.
We are currently busy with approval processes for land claims of:
Xwili Community Claim – King Sabatha Dalindyebo Local Municipality
Kuni Community Claim, Phase 2 – Buffalo City
Bethania Community Claim – Elundini Local Municipality (Joe Gqabi District)
Shamane Community Claim – Capricorn District, Limpopo
We have not forgotten other communities.
Land Restoration in Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Two KwaZulu-Natal communities; being Okhukho and Mlaba-Ximba received title deeds to portions of Umfolozi Nature Reserve. Okhukho community restored 13 505 hectares while Mlaba-Ximba received 13 315 hectares in extent. Both communities are situated in the Ulundi Local Municipality of KZN.
Hlabisa-Mpukunyoni community received a title deed to 24 210 hectares of land in the Corridor Nature Reserve in the Mtubatuba Local Municipality of KZN.
Bakgatla ba Mmakau, under Hahabedi CPA, received a title deed to 1963 hectares of land in Barakalalo Nature Reserve situated in Moretele Local Municipality.
All these communities will enter a co-management partnership as envisioned in the Memorandum of Understanding entered between DALRRD and the Department Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE). This partnership seeks to ensure communities partake in nature conservation while promoting meaningful benefit sharing.
Progress towards autonomy
To deal with the organisational structure that does not accord with Section 4 and 21 of the founding legislation that envisions an autonomous entity, Project Kuyasa instituted an organisational form sub-project, whose outcome seeks to transform the commission into an autonomous public entity.
A business case, which details the proposed design and cost implications of setting up the commission as an autonomous entity, has been developed and submitted to both DPSA and the National Treasury for further processing.
In the interim, the department has approved an interim commission structure, which begins to introduce some level of operational autonomy, as well as the introduction of several Regional Land Claims Commissioners (RLCCs) based on a cluster of provinces. This will also go a long way in alleviating the current problem of centralisation of powers of the RLCC.
OFFICE OF THE VALUER GENERAL
In the recent past, we admitted to you the challenges impacting negatively on service delivery at the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG). In the past financial year, we began to implement a turn-around strategy and we are now reaping the fruits.
The 2021/22 allocation has assisted the OVG to improve its performance with regard to personnel and systems.
The OVG was able to:
eliminate the valuations backlog inherited since inception;
improve its audit outcomes;
improved its management and internal processes; and
implemented a Valuations Tracking System.
Currently, we have 21 valuers in the employ of the OVG, however, we still do have vacancies. This helps us to mitigate the risk we were exposed to in the past.
The R107 million allocation in 2022/23 will be used to further strengthen the organisation.
When all is said and done, our stakeholders want to see an improved turn- around time.
I want to conclude by sharing this quote:
“Our mission has always been to serve the people of this great nation and to ensure that a better life for all steadily but surely becomes a lived reality”. (2022 January 8th Statement)
Let us not live anyone behind.
BUDGET VOTE ADDRESS: DEPUTY MINISTER AGRICULTURE LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
DELIVERED BY; MRS ROSEMARY NOKUZOLA CAPA
12 MAY 2022
Honorable Chairperson Honorable Members Minister Didiza
Deputy Minister Skwatsha
Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee Members of our Statutory Boards and Councils
Farmers Organizations and CEOs of Commodity organisations Farmers and Farm Workers
Ladies and Gentlemen
Chairperson, it gives me great pleasure to address the house today on the occasion of Budget Vote 29 of Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). The state of our rural communities is a stark reminder of the oppression visited upon our people by the apartheid era government, which is characterised by high levels of poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment. Rural areas continue to bear the scars of a brutal system, which sought to strip black people of their dignity, though, among others, the theft of their land and livestock and to condemn them to be a constant supply of labour for the formal economy. Approximately 33,7% of the South African population live in rural areas. These communities are among the poorest in our country, due to their limited access to social services, including education and healthcare. The legacy of the past system of oppression subjected our people, particularly in rural, to underdevelopment, unemployment and inter-generational poverty.
Our government has been working to address the historical challenges facing South Africans in rural areas, by engaging in socio-economic processes to uplift these communities through rural development initiatives. We will continue to bring transformation to rural areas, through policies and programmes which aim to ensure these communities begin to truly enjoy their liberation. DALRRD is leading the charge of bringing much needed development and support to rural communities. That will then achieve sustainable economic growth.
Chairperson, the Covid-19 pandemic had a profoundly negative impact on these poor and marginalised communities. The pandemic, which remains a factor in the lives of our people even today, disrupted the economy, impacted the ability of many citizens to earn a living and caused a deepening of poverty in rural areas.
As part of government support initiatives to mitigate against the effects of the pandemic, the Presidential Economic Stimulus (PES), with the agricultural support administered by the department, brought much-needed relief to struggling smallholder and subsistence farmers. Through this support initiative, subsistence farmers were able to obtain production inputs through a voucher system, which allowed them to continue to grow their crops, feed their livestock and, in turn, sustain their livelihoods.
More than 50 thousand subsistence farmers applied for the second phase of the PES, which will bring further relief and ensure that jobs are created and sustained. Global warming and climate change are realities that we have to address as a collective. This means the government, traditional authorities, civil society, citizens and residents of this country need to come together. We must change our living pattens and do all we can to reduce emissions and improve human settlement planning, to avoid future catastrophic natural disasters.
As if the outbreak of the pandemic was not enough, another disaster occurred, which affected largely KwaZulu-Natal as well as Eastern Cape and North West. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families who lost their loved ones during the floods in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape in April 2022. This disaster has cost lives, property, infrastructure and brought pain and sadness to families, communities and our nation. We extend our appreciation to every person and organisations who extended a helping hand to those affected by the floods.
We know that subsistence agriculture plays an important role in meeting the needs of residents in rural areas. The department plans to implement a number of projects that are aimed at increasing jobs, developing skills and the provision of the infrastructure development, to support rural economic transformation. The creation of jobs is critical to alleviating poverty and improving the lives of the rural communities. The department plays a critical role in contributing to the creation of an environment conducive for the growth of the rural economy. In the 2021/22 financial year, the department completed a total of 30 infrastructure projects that support the Farmer Production Support Units (FPSUs). Sixty-four infrastructure projects were completed to support the Animal Veld Management Programme (AVMP).
This number will increase in the 2022/23 financial year, as we roll out projects to further support growth and development in rural areas. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development supports the proposed Eastern Seaboard Development, a multi-nodal smart city development initiative launched in November 2021 by the president of the Republic of South Africa. This important development covers the jurisdictions of 4 district municipalities: OR Tambo, Ugu, Harry Gwala, and Alfred Nzo in Eastern Cape. Successful consultative engagements were held during May 2022 between traditional leadership, DALRRD, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) and affected district municipalities and traditional leaders.
Chairperson, in the current financial year, more than R600 million has been allocated rural infrastructure development. This allocation will be directed to infrastructure projects, including those related to the Animal Veld Management Programme, River Valley Catalytic Programme (RVCP), Farmer Producer Support Unit (FPSU) and the Revitalisation of Rural Towns. As our country battles the scourge of Gender-based violence (GBV), women and girls in rural areas have not been spared from this despicable social ill. One could even argue that they are even more vulnerable than their counterparts who live in urban areas. This is due to the underdevelopment in their communities, which often means accessing services such as law enforcement and medical facilities is even more challenging.
GBV is a blight on the freedom for which so many of our comrades paid the ultimate price. Women and girls are not safe in their own homes, they are not safe in their own communities, among men. This situation must change.
DALRRD, as a member of the National Rural Safety Forum, has contributed to the development of the Rural Safety Strategy, which aligns to the National Development Plan: Vison 2030’s call to build safer communities, with particular emphasis on the protection of vulnerable groups such as women, children and rural communities. We call on all of society, traditional leaders, religious leaders, political parties, law enforcement agencies and men in our communities, to defend and protect the rights of women to live in freedom and safety
In his State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the plan to upgrade 685 kilometres of rural road over the next three years. These, he said, include access roads in Limpopo and Eastern Cape, surface upgrades to gravel roads in the Free State and the North West. We welcome this initiative as it will go a long way toward improving the lives of our people, by allowing for cheaper and the easier flow of goods and services, access to economic opportunities and safer movement of communities from one place to the next by road.
In addition, the department will work with farmer organisations and its counterparts in all spheres of government, to implement a programme of repairing and rehabilitation of rural and farm access roads to facilitate transport logistics for the agricultural economy.
Chairperson, our country is experiencing record levels of unemployment among youth, women and persons with disabilities. Through the NARYSEC programme, we have recruited and skilled youth in various TVET colleges across the country and created nearly 500 jobs for the rural communities in the 2021/22 financial year. In this group, the department included a significant number of women and persons with disabilities.
The department also employed former NARYSEC youth and agricultural graduates on short-term contracts, to assist farmers with applications during the implementation of the Presidential Economic Stimulus Initiative (PESI).
Through the District Development Model, more than 600 youth were trained through the Agricultural Research Council and have been supported with agricultural inputs.
It is encouraging that 610 NARYSEC participants, who established enterprises in all nine provinces, received support and were afforded economic opportunities.
In conclusion, we will continue to collaborate with all social partners while we implement targeted programmes and projects which will bring development and create jobs and job opportunities for rural communities. We will not rest until poverty is eradicated and there is prosperity and continued growth!
I thank you