IPAP2, New Growth Path, & Draft National Development Plan Implications for Rural Development and Land Reform policies: Departmental briefing

Rural Development and Land Reform

13 June 2012
Chairperson: Mr S Sizani (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) briefed Members on the Implications for Rural Development and Land Reform policies arising from the Industrial Policy Action Plan 2 (IPAP2), the New Growth Path (NGP) and the Draft National Development Plan (DNDP).  It outlined the background and objectives. It was noted that there was a convergence in the actions and objectives of all three endeavours which were illuminated as policy reviews commencing with the 2005 Land Summit, the Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy (CRDP) adopted by Cabinet in 2009, and the Land Reform Green Paper (LRGP) process.

The existence of multiple correlations between the programmes was said to ensure inclusive economic growth which would address the major problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

A total of 13 relevant actions were set out and each was gone over in detail.

Areas of improvement were provided as:

The strengthening of intergovernmental relations

Support for tenure and land reform needs

Creation of the basis for strategic land acquisition

Strengthening of beneficiary selection

Improvement of knowledge and skills in rural development and land reform

Improvement of communicating challenges and successes

Continued capacity building for beneficiaries

Strategic administration and implementation of the Special  Land Use Management Bill (SLUMB).

In conclusion there were indications of policy convergence between rural development and land reform policies within the IPAP2, NGP, and DNDP.

Due to the enormous size and extremely broad nature of the proposal involved, Members expressed a general concern about implementation and coordination with other departments to prevent overlaps in work. The Chairman specifically asked that a clearer, step-by-step plan including dates and proposed deadlines be formulated with the input of the Minister so that the Committee could monitor the progress of implementation more effectively and play a larger role in ensuring adherence to schedules.

Meeting report

IPAP2, NGP, and DNDP Implications for Rural Development and Land Reform policies: briefing
The Committee received a briefing from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) on the implications for Rural Development and Land Reform policies arising from the Industrial Policy Action Plan 2 (IPAP2), the New Growth Path (NGP) and the Draft National Development Plan (DNDP).

Mr Mduduzi Shabane, DRDLR Director-General, said that substantial progress had been made on the Land Reform Green Paper. However the Rural Development Green Paper required more work.

Mr H Toolo, Chief Director, DRDLR, began his presentation by stating that DRDLR policies suggested a convergence with the objectives and actions of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2), the New Growth Path (NGP) and the Draft National Development Plan (DNDP).

Central to this convergence were the: 1) Policy reviews that commenced with the 2005 Land Reform Summit; 2) the Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy (CRDP) adopted by Cabinet in August 2009; and  3) the Land Reform Green Paper (LRGP) process.

The background and objectives of IPAP2, NGP, and DNDP were outlined in detail (see presentation pages 4-6).

The correlation of the IPAP2, NGP, and DNDP suggested a common thread of ensuring inclusive economic growth to address unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Relevant actions for DRDLR were listed as steering the economy towards a value added and labour intensive growth which included elements of agro-enterprise, tourism, green economy, and mining. 13 specific actions were given as areas of focus: promotion of small business, phased economic growth, investment in social capital and infrastructure, achieving full employment, building of a low carbon economy, rural development as a key intervention, optimising international trade, improving human development and settlements, building a capable state while promoting accountability and fighting corruption, and transforming society and uniting in South Africa.

As indicated convergence between rural development and land reform policies was illustrated in the CRDP and the Land Reform Green Paper; however, further action was needed to strengthen the basis for and mainstream these indicators.

The nascent indications of convergence for all 13 of the relevant actions for DRDLR were set out in detail (see presentation pages 10-18).

Areas for improvement which would result in exponential programme efficiency and effectiveness were noted as:

The strengthening of intergovernmental relations

Support for tenure and land reform needs

Creation of the basis for strategic land acquisition

Strengthening of beneficiary selection

Improvement of knowledge and skills in rural development and land reform

Improvement of communicating challenges and successes

Continued capacity building for beneficiaries

Strategic administration and implementation of the Special  Land Use Management Bill (SLUMB)

In conclusion there were nascent indications of policy convergence between rural development and land reform policies within the IPAP2, NGP, and DNDP. Important to note here was the CRDP and the experience attained with its` implementation, matters addressed by the Land Reform White Paper, and finally that areas remained that had yet to be engaged with or enhanced.

Prince B Zulu (ANC) emphasised that there needed to be greater oversight and monitoring over construction of new projects by Members of Parliament (MPs) to ensure that the projects were working effectively and people's lives were improved.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) said that in slide number 6 there were nine key challenges which were listed and he wished for clarity. Similarly in regard to slide number 10, Roman numerals 4 and 5, he wanted to know more about the sugar beet project in Eastern Cape, when it began and if it was successful (see presentation). In terms of animal farming, on slide number 13, Roman numeral 5, he asked if the Government had land in this area where this project could be implemented. Some people in the provinces had misconceptions over new projects, such as solar water heaters, in some areas. On slide 17 he asked for clarification over tensions existing in some communities in rural areas.

Mr A Trollip (DA) indicated that on slide 8 there was no mention of crime and security. Examples were made of the recent murder of former ANC MP David Dlali on his farm in Eastern Cape, and stock theft near Lesotho, which had limited grazing of livestock, despite excellent quality of veld, due to theft. He wished to hear more about CRDP and the role and function of council and stakeholder committees because there was a controversial issue where there was only a single stakeholder for multiple projects. Reference was given to the Special Land Use Management Bill which was sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and then referred to the National Assembly for retagging and had yet to be satisfactorily amended since it was declared unconstitutional. The deadline had since passed so was an extension requested. He raised the issue of tenure reform and wished to know how this was being addressed by the DNDP. An abattoir  had not been used since it was built. Next to it a R5 million bio products digester was being built. Unsustainable infrastructure projects must be avoided. In regard to slide 17, point 8, on transforming the country,he noted the specific difficulty of this project and asked what was the DRDRD`s take on integrating and transforming society through reconciliation programming between distinct social  groups.

Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) wished to know about relevant actions mentioned on IPAP2 and NGP, and if the DRDLR's strategic or operational plan dealt with these actions. In tender specifications there did not seem to be a focus Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) but in many cases providers were ignoring the need for a focus on labour intensity and skills transfer so that people could be employable even after a project had ended. On infrastructural development, the rates that had been paid enhanced rather than closed the gap between urbanites who were profiting far more than people living in rural areas. Challenges were noted as being the enforced participation of all Government departments on the NGP, IPAP2 and NDNP. How would DRDLR ensure participation? The issue of markets was raised, as noted in point 2 - promotion of export markets - and it was asked how the DRDLR could ensure farmers had market access for their crops. She asked what interventions would be made in this respect. The issue of water rights was raised as was that of agro-processing. In Mpumalanga there were lots of fruits but what steps would be taken to ensure that they were processed and sent to market?

Ms P Xaba (ANC) wanted to establish if the DRDLR had the capacity to ensure that they followed their presented programmes. She did not want to hear DRDLR reply that the issue was the budget.

Mr J van der Linde (DA) noted that in his own constituency in the Karoo many retrenchments had been made resulting in very low staffing levels and affecting capacity. Many farms in the area of the Northern Cape were without energy and suggested that solar power could provide a solution to this problem.

Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) noted that on slide 10 many large sugar cane farms in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had been taken over by residential developers and many people had lost their jobs. He wished to know what inroads the DRDLR had made to understand the challenges faced by sugar cane growers and resolve this situation by assisting farmers. He said crops were harvested and then kept past their date of usefulness and he indicated that many areas lay fallow which could be farmed by the unemployed to the benefit of all. Another challenge was noted as the increased mechanisation which as well meant less work for farmers.

The Chairperson raised the issue of the changes in DRDLR but found it difficult to understand the relevance of those changes to the proposed plans presented at meeting. He said DRDLR needed enhanced capacity to accomplish these projects including the revitalisation of rural areas through infrastructure building. There had only been 33 months since the initiatives were begun but he was not sure that the presentation represented what DRDLR was really capable of. He wished to know how DRDLR could recreate itself within a framework to encourage better funding from National Treasury.

Mr Shabane responded that currently it was difficult to answer very specific questions from Members without further research but he would attempt to deal with the broader issues raised in the discussion. He indicated that the proposals put forth today were not for a single department to deal with but would require the entire Government and country to improve upon and implement IPAP2, NGP, and the DNDP.

The SLUMB had been in process for 11 years because many people across the provinces, Members of the Executive Councils (MECs) and other representatives were lobbying to have their many diverse opinions included. As a result DRDLR might face litigation from developers due to the slow legislative process.  The Committee was encouraged to deliberate the Bill extensively. The Minister had the intention to introduce the Bill at the National Assembly very soon but the cut-off date for passing the Bill set at the Constitutional Court was 17 June. An extension was applied for but the Constitutional Court threw out the application so DRDLR was now at the mercy of Parliament. Provinces were being assisted by DRDLR in developing new laws, with Western Cape and KZN already advanced in this regard.

Noting the issue of crime he said that while security was important community development was more important in rural areas. Without infrastructure no one would build a factory, for example, in the former Transkei if they needed to pay millions in transport costs to ship products to Durban or Richards Bay so there was an emphasis on development rather than crime and security.  A working group comprised of departmental officials and external partners - academics, agriculture and civil society - were working on this issue and had drafted a document in this regard.

Transforming the country needed to come from addressing relative income inequality, cultural backwardness, inequitable distribution and access to land and other serious issues. The role of DRDLR was to coordinate, implement and facilitate these actions under Outcome 7 and the economic cluster. What had been realised in hindsight after two years working on the DNDP there was a need to strengthen capacity through coordination with other departments rather than increasing the number of staff within DRDLR although it was important to bring in external experts when necessary.  A public-private initiative was in the offing where DRDLR was working together with agriculture. DRDLR had identified over 500 000 hectares across five provinces for planting which was currently lying fallow.  When all parties were brought together R800 million could be placed on the table to initiate this endeavour. Rather than ask for more money there was a greater need for inter-government departmental cooperation and improved DRDLR capacity. For example, if people planted maize, DRDLR must ask the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for help with marketing. The possibility of a rural development agency to bring all departmental expertise together under one roof was a possible consideration arising out of the Green Paper using existing resources rather than asking for more from National Treasury.

Mr Ntsiki Mashiya,  DRDLR Deputy Director-General: Support Services, said the Craddock biofuel project, also referred to as the sugar beet project, was started in 2006 but it had stagnated. Within the project of 15 000 hectares of land,  2 493 were currently under irrigation.  During this year the Government had reaffirmed its support and the project was scheduled to begin next month in July. From the DRDLR side the selection of beneficiaries was being finalised with great care.

Mr Shabane replied to Mr Cebekhulu that small scale growers were responsible for greater employment than larger mechanised farms. In KZN the provincial Department of Agriculture invested over R200 million working together with the sugar industry. It was indicated that the sugar industry was one of the most organised across agriculture with excellent resources, and a college to train new workers and share experiences. The province of KZN intervened after the livelihoods of small scale sugar beet farmers were threatened. DRDLR had invested over R100 million in land reform initiatives to help recapitalise farms in KZN and Mpumalanga. He indicated that some people believed the farmers should be pushed aside for initiating reforms too slowly and DRDLR should step in to increase yields.

The Chairperson asked what methods were being used to stop small scale farmers from being pushed off of their lands and said that the Committee intended to visit KZN for a second time on an oversight trip. 800 people were employed on a specific farming project in one local community but the strategic partner had pushed the small scale farmer aside and taken control. Fortunately, in this instance, crops were not limited to sugar beet but included others. He noted problems on the ground with the effectiveness of DRDLR's intervention in agriculture in KZN and hoped that the oversight visit would show a successful resolution to this and similar problems.

Mr Toolo said the eight challenges that were identified came out of the development plan: too few people worked; the standard of education for most black learners was of very poor quality, in particular in rural areas; challenges of access to higher education and university; problems with infrastructure, which included poor maintenance and that it was insufficient; and a widespread disease burden compounded by a failing health system. Public services were of poor quality and corruption was rampant, and South Africa remained a divided society. All of these challenges were initially highlighted from the second quarter in the national Government plan and had made their way into the current DNDP. DRDLR was able to realise synergies and to pool resources to strengthen coordination and bring in new partners - public and private - to inform growth and implementation. It was not an issue of money but how efforts were coordinated. This in turn would draw in new partners and investors. From the current pilot level, moving towards delivery and implementation was key.

The Chairperson said that what was missing was leadership on land reform, on communal tenancy on infrastructure, and financial and technical support to farmers and on building the capacity of state institutions. A central authority was needed to coordinate efforts between the nine provinces and other departments so that this project would evolve into something better. He noted there were no punitive actions for not spending money, officials were getting paid bonuses for not spending money, and the people would no longer accept this situation. There was no longer any run over of funds as any excess was sent back to Treasury.

Mr Trollip said there was a grave concern that DRDLR had to battle with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). If any two single departments had a need to coordinate their efforts, it was these two in particular. A disconnect in their relationship was noted which cascaded downwards into lower levels of Government. He wished to know how this `silo mentality` would be dealt with by DRDLR.

Mr Shabane said that it was difficult to get Government departments to work together because it took away from the prestige of a single department as well as being problems with overlapping responsibilities and resource restrictions. There was a need to claim and strengthen departmental capacity. Clear marching orders were given to the Minister to allow DRDLR to coordinate efforts with the DAFF and for a need for stronger leadership from DRDLR. He expressed a desire to establish a joint oversight committee to ensure the cluster of departments working on these issues could report together and thus prevent overlapping responsibilities and enhance coordination.

The Chairperson said there was a need for better reporting back from DRDLR. He wished to know over what period of time these actions would take place so that the Committee could monitor the progress of the programming. Other Committee chairs were meeting in this regard. The document presented lacked a vision of its own and there was a need for more practical measures to come out of it. He wished the DRDLR to take this on board and come back to the Committee with more proposals in line with this wish.

The meeting was adjourned.


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