In the presence of the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, the Department briefed Members on Outcome 7 of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme in respect of the State of the Nation Address 2011, in which address President Jacob Zuma had stressed the effective delivery of services to ensure successful results. The key aspects identified were job creation, sustainable livelihoods, education, health and combating crime and corruption with the objective of eradicating poverty and establishing food security. These five priorities and the measures employed to address it were indicated to the Committee.
The Department on Rural Development and Land Reform delivered a detailed presentation on work done and work in progress in achieving these objectives. The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme had been implemented to identify strategic rural areas and to address the issues that entrenched these communities in poverty. In collaboration with other Government departments strategic measures were in place to continue the development to deliver the rural communities from the past deficiencies to an equitably sustainable livelihood.
Members asked why unemployed youths were not recruited in the rural areas of
The Department was asked to provide detailed replies in the follow-up meeting.
Dr Moshe Swartz, Acting Director-General, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, presented an outline of the five priorities of the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The presentation dealt specifically with outcome 7 of the 12 outcomes of Government. Outcome 7 was presented with five fundamental outputs:
Sustainable agrarian reform with a thriving farming sector was supported by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), and the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The driver in this regard was farming. With farming the availability of land, water, labour, capital and markets was provided. The activities involved the acquisition of warehouses, the leasing of storage facilities and the allocation of water resources, surveying, registrations and planning which required the expertise of the co-operation of the other departments.
Improved access to affordable and diverse food was also supported by DAFF. The driver was food security. With food security agro-processing was implemented. Markets were sourced and productivity increased with increasing focus on nutrition. Labour and capital input were acquired. The activities were economic infrastructure in the form of silos, abattoirs, sales pens and additional instruments to secure access.
Improved services to support livelihoods were supported by the Department of Transport (DOT), the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the municipalities. The driver was infrastructure and services. The departments involved were key agents in providing the means to secure the success of livelihoods, namely, roads, railways, bridges, water, sanitation and housing to ease the living of rural towns.
Rural job creation and promoting economic livelihoods, was an important aspect with the support of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET). The driver in this SONA priority was jobs and skills development. This would have an impact on crime reduction and the number of youngsters loitering aimlessly around.
Enabling institutional environment for sustainable and inclusive growth was supported by the Department of Economic Development (EDD). The driver was good governance. The success of this was in building institutions to facilitate in social and financial access.
All these projects were in co-operation with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reforms.
Dr Swartz further outlined the three fundamental phases of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP). The first phase was meeting the basic human needs; the second phase was large scale infrastructure and the third phase was ensuring that small, micro and medium enterprises would be in place.
The CRDP was managed nationally by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform and in the provinces by the Office of the Premier. The provinces had assigned Members of the Executive Council (MECs) to deal with agricultural development and agrarian development.
Dr Swartz pointed out the exception of the
The CRDP pilot projects were in
The National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) was offering unemployed youths opportunities for employment. NARYSEC's youth empowerment programme was targeted at all the rural wards. The national launch of NARYSEC would be on 01 March 2011. Skills development training provided training in discipline, patriotism, and life skills and rights awareness. The youths were mentally, morally and physically fit to execute the tasks trained to perform. The youths would be employed for a period of two years. Every three youths will be accompanied by a fourth youth who had a disability. January 2012was designated for completion of baseline information for community profiling of the rural wards. The NARYSEC employees would complete the National Integrated Social Information System (NISIS) forms which would include the information to allow the CRDP to address the specific issues. The current development for the framework of service delivery focused on the roads, paving, bridges, etc.
Dr Swartz focused on the 467 projects identified under the Recapitalization and Development Programme. This Programme resulted from the collapsed land reform projects and defunct irrigation schemes of the former homelands. The cost of implementing this Programme amounted to R900 million for the 2010/2011 financial year.
Finally Dr Swartz revised the previous outcome models and showed how Outcome 7 was an ongoing process of the CRDP. The experience derived since Outcome 1 was that there would be increase in facilitation and co-ordination with all the 15 departments involved in the development schemes. The lack of co-ordination at municipal level previously experienced also had to be addressed and therefore the municipalities had become members of the executive forum in Outcome 7. By 2014 the NARYSEC programme would allow the youths to be the “Agents of Change” in all the rural wards.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) asked why unemployed youths were not recruited in the
Mr B Zulu (ANC) pointed out the exclusion of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the programme. Interest shown by MPs was misconstrued as interfering in the wards. He also questioned the vast amount of arable land not included in the CRDP.
The Hon.Thembelani Nxesi, Deputy Minister, responded to the exclusion of MPs as a misunderstanding. The MPs as legislators had the right to monitor all projects but the premiers were more directly involved with the respective communities.
Mr Zulu asked also about the youths who did not qualify for NARYSEC. He also criticized those who tendered and then entered the rural areas and employed the youths as cheap labour and, upon completion of the work, left the area while the youngsters were still left unskilled.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked for more information on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' training on developing land training which was discussed previously. She also questioned the 467 projects for Recapitalization and Development. She asked concerning the recruits that were refused and the question of the violation of their constitutional rights on the grounds of their refusal.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked about the sustainability of jobs in view of the two year appointments and what would happen to the employees after the two year service.
The Chairperson asked about the farm dwellers, pointing out the difference between the farm workers and the farm dwellers. He also asked about the problem of soil erosion and its impact on job creation. He stressed that the important task of the Committee was to survey land across the country, but with the exception of the areas mentioned it had to be asked what was planned for the rest of the country. He mentioned the vast traditional communal land. The Chairperson asked about the selection criteria employed in the Committee to arrive at the 467 projects for recapitalization and development.
The Chairperson asked a question similar to that of Ms Ngwenya-Mabila regarding the refusal of recruits but from the angle of their ability and not their constitutional rights. He wanted to know why their inability for recruitment was not treated as a disability.
The Deputy Minister replied to the Chairperson and to Ms Ngwenya-Mabila. The refusal of recruits was occasioned largely because of pregnancy and health issues such as tuberculosis. The rigorous programme would cause problems for them, but potential recruits would be welcomed back after their pregnancy or when their health status was satisfactory.
The Department answered the question of soil erosion and assured the Chairperson of the CRD’s commitment to sustainable use of land to combat soil erosion which was viewed as a disaster management strategy.
The farm dwellers were secured of non-eviction under the Land Tenure Bill. Agri-villages were created continuously to ensure farm dwellers of sustainable livelihoods and job security to adjacent farms.
The Department elaborated on the tender and cheap labour issue raised by Mr Zulu. The prospect of NARYSEC was to train the youths to become competent after the two year training to be able to execute tasks previously given to tenders. In the beginning the strategy was to have professionals as sight supervisors until the recruits are competent to work without supervision. The surveying of land was also noted as a continuing process. The question of the 467 recapitalization and development projects was addressed also as an ongoing process according to budget allocation. The initial 467 projects were deemed in need of immediate action.
The Chairperson, however found the answer incomplete as to the exact criteria selection.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting with questions outstanding on budget availability for the plans, the amount of jobs being created and the measurement of the reduction of poverty in the rural communities. The Department was asked to provide detailed replies in the follow-up meeting.
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