Committee Programme 2003

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
25 February 2003
COMMITTEE PROGRAMME 2003

Chairperson:
Mr N H Masithela (ANC)

 

Relevant document:
Draft committee programme (see Appendix)

SUMMARY
The programme was clarified, and then adopted with various amendments:
- The Zimbabwe/Botswana trip will go on as agreed, but members can submit suggestions for meetings with other stakeholders. The chair will circulate a tour programme.
- There will be a slot in the 2nd or 3rd session with the European Union.
- During visits to the provinces in the 2nd session the committee will also meet with private sector stakeholders.
- The 3 day public hearings in the second session will include briefings from the Department of Land Affairs and the Agricultural Research Council.

Issues highlighted by members in the discussion on the committee programme were: the Ngonyama Trust lands, the Extension of Security of Tenure Act, the need for innovative black farmer support programmes, the need for a balanced view of the success of land redistribution programs by asking beneficiaries to come and give their views.

MINUTES
Announcements
-
Committee member Mr M Maphalala had passed away and condolences had been sent to the family on behalf of the committee.
- A new clerk, Mr J Boltina, had been appointed but unfortunately will not be available for the next few meetings.

Committee programme 2003
The Committee discussed the draft committee programme:

First Session
The Chair highlighted the public hearings on food security, briefings from the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs, and the budget speech on 1 April. COEGA has requested to address the committee, and there will be a World Trade Organisation (WTO) briefing.

Mr S Farrow (DP) raised several concerns:
- the committee was supposed to go on a tour of the provinces, but that does not seem to have been included in the program.
- is the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) going to report back on their farm settlement models?
- they needed to met with Agri-SA to establish if strategic objectives from their presentation by Agri-SA had been met.

The Chair responded that in the second session he envisaged briefings with Agri-SA and the Department of Agriculture to check up on implementation of strategy. The quarterly review would be an opportunity to raise farm settlement model issues, and that if members wanted to highlight specific concerns then, that would be appropriate. He felt that the trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana should occur before the trip to the provinces, which is why it is not in the first session. Mr S Holomisa (ANC) added that he expects that members of parliament, as individuals, are aware of what is going on in this country, therefore it is more valuable to go to other places first.

Mr A Botha (DP) wanted to know how COEGA related to agriculture. He also wanted to know why there was a problem with the funding for the Zimbabwe/Botswana trip. He had thought that there was enough money in the budget at the end of last year.

The Chair replied that none of the plans for the trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana had changed. The purpose was to deal with the communal land bid, and to observe what was happening in these countries. A list of meetings with relevant stakeholders had already been set up. They also planned to look at development issues, and food problems because they have a direct bearing on South Africa. The trip was delayed for various administrative reasons, but the current dates are now approved.

A committee member raised the issue of the Ngonyama Trust. It had been "left up in the air" the previous year but it is not explicitly on the 2003 programme.

The Chair agreed that the issue of the Ngonyama trust must be dealt with.

Mr Holomisa suggested that this matter would also fall under the quarterly review. Another committee member agreed that the Ngonyama Trust and land reform could be catered for very well in the quarterly reports. He commented that the provincial visits should fall within the second session, and that, after having been debated extensively, there was now unanimity on Zimbabwe/Botswana trip.

Mr Farrow responded that his reasons for raising these particular points were that communal land issues were going to be one of the most crucial issues this year, and unless they have a strategic plan, and some idea of what is happening on the ground, they will not be properly prepared. He mentioned that the meeting in Durban, while apparently fruitful, had still not produced any concrete outcomes. Also, the ARC had done a lot of work with land models, and this needs to be utilised. He wanted to highlight these crucial issues, and suggested that the programme be reorganised so as to accommodate them.

The Chair agreed to put the Ngonyama Trust onto the agenda for the briefing in April, and that between now and April he would ask the clerk to circulate the report, without re-debating it.

Mr Holomisa commented that the Durban conference had been set up to assist the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs to get the views of various stakeholders so as to draft the necessary piece of legislation. As the legislation is being drafted at present, a separate report is not necessary. He also mentioned that while some earlier bill drafts had excluded the Ngonyama Trust lands, the latest draft bill does include them. Thus a separate report should not be necessary.

Mr Botha was concerned that unless the unused 2002 committee budget funds were rolled over to 2003, then, through no fault of their own, they were likely to run short of money this year.

The Chair clarified that as the study tour budget had been approved before the end of the previous financial year, naturally it would get funds from last year's budget, so there would not be a shortfall this year.

Mr Botha noted that he had written several letters (in August 2001, Nov 2002, and Jan 2003) on the impact of food security on South Africa. He believed that before the visits to Zimbabwe, Botswana and the provinces, there should be an ad hoc planning committee.

The Chair replied that plans for the trip were at a very advanced stage. Mr N Mudau (ANC) did not think it would be proper to propose an ad hoc committee at this stage. Mr E Shoeman (ANC) added that there had not been one dissenting voice when the Chair had summarised the trip objectives. He suggested that there was still space for additional issues to be raised, but that he would oppose going back on the plans that are in place. Ms Ntuli added that in the past there had not been any ad hoc planning committees, and she did not think it was necessary now.

Ms Dudley (ACDP) pointed out that so far she had not seen any document giving information on the preparations for the trip. Mr Farrow agreed.

The Chair agreed to circulate a draft programme for the trip as soon as possible, to be discussed at the next meeting. He recognised that everyone had an interest in Zimbabwe, and that they all had different views about what needs to be looked at in Zimbabwe, therefore they should all participate in planning the trip.

This proposal was agreed upon unanimously.

Second session
The Chair stated that while he did not anticipate a flood of people at the public hearings, but if necessary the time allocated for these could be extended. He suggested that during the provincial visits they should not only concentrate on government problems but should also visit the private sector.

Mr Holomisa wondered whether their respective parties would be willing to let them tour during the constituency period: 22 April - 9 May. He suggested taking the tours during the recess period: 17 - 22 April. Another committee member agreed that it might be a problem. The chair suggested leaving it open, trying to use either, or both the recess and constituency periods.

Ms Ntuli was concerned that ESTA (Extension of Security of Tenure Act) is not explicitly included in the briefings. This is an urgent matter, and needs to be attended to now.

Mr Botha suggested getting the private sector in to discuss their vision of a strategic plan as regards land reform.

Mr Schoeman suggested that the meetings with the European Union in 2002, which had been very fruitful, should be continued on a regular basis. He noted that these had had a very technical focus, but that they must not forget the political focus: decisions that are made by the EU are often detrimental to South Africa.

Mr S Abram (UDM) supported Mr Schoeman, and raised the example of the broiler industry which is facing problems because of European trade. He also suggested the they include the Department of Land Affairs when the private sector is reporting on their program, because they are falling far short of the target set by government at present.

Mr Farrow also supported more involvement in the EU.

Mr Abram suggested that as the Communal Land Rights Bill was going to be contentious, the committee should receive an "on the ground" briefing so as to make informed decisions.

The Chair thought that they had already been briefed, and that the planned trips would also provide insight.

Ms Ntuli suggested asking the NCOP whether they had any written information on this topic. The chair agreed to look into this.

The committee agreed:
- to slot in a visit with the EU in the second or third session
- the three-day public hearings on the role of the public sector should include briefings from Department of Land Affairs and ARC.

Third session
Mr Abram noted that because departments want to get their budget approved, they present success stories, and do not talk about failures. He appealed that during this period the committee try to get a more balanced view on the actual success of the programmes.

The Chair noted that as the committee decides which places to visit, it is able to look at successes and failures. Mr Holomisa suggested inviting supposed beneficiaries to explain for themselves what they feel, and whether they are receiving proper services from the Land Bank.

Ms Ntuli suggested coupling the public hearings on agricultural black economic empowerment with the land issue. She was worried about reports that established white farmers sometimes buy up available land so as not to allow emergent black farmers access to the land.

The Chair suggested that this issue could be captured in the briefing on land distribution in the second session.

Mr Farrow supported Mr Holomisa's suggestion of bringing witnesses into the discussion. He said that the report-back process would dictate policy reviews. In the third session the committee should link this all back to the budget, so as to ensure that the relevant departments put the funds in place for policy to be implemented. The Chair agreed.

Mr Schoeman said that they not only want briefings and cold facts, but also suggestions for innovations. He mentioned that they had look into the system of farmer assistance in the 1920s. While this programme had only assisted white farmers, many of the strategies used might be useful now to help emergent black farmers to become successful. He emphasised that it was not just a matter of land redistribution.

Mr Holomisa suggested that they set up a small group, representing all parties, to assist the Chair in planning the program.

The Chair said that this suggestion should have come before. If this happened now then they would not be able to move forward. The programme had been circulated to all members and they had been given an opportunity to think about their recommendations.

Mr Abram said the committee was being re-active instead of active and that they should get more actively involved in advising departments. They cannot rely on the free market mechanism to achieve their objectives, it needed state intervention.

The chair brought the focus of the discussion back to the programme.

Fourth session
It was agreed that any other issue that members want to include after the programme had been adopted could be incorporated in the fourth session.

Amendments To Zimbabwe/Botswana Study Tour Programme
The Zimbabwe/Botswana trip will go on as agreed, but members can submit suggestions for meetings with other stakeholders. The chair will circulate a draft programme.

Appendix:
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS DRAFT PROGRAMME 2003

FIRST TERM (20 January to 16 April 2003)

AGENDA
Monday, 17 Feb 2003
Debate: Presidential Speech

Tuesday, 18 Feb. 2003
Debate: Presidential Speech

Wednesday, 19 Feb. 2003
Presidential Response

Tuesday, 25 Feb. 2003
Strategic planning meeting (Committee Program)

Tuesday, 11 Mar. 2003
Public Hearings: Food Security (Parliament)

Wednesday, 12 Mar. 2003
Public Hearings Food Security (Parliament)

Tuesday, 18 Mar. 2003
Budget Briefing Agriculture

Tuesday, 25 Mar. 2003
Budget Briefing Land Affairs

Tuesday, 1 April 2003
Debate on Budget Vote No 25 and 29 (Agriculture and Land Affairs)

?? April 2003
Briefing on Agricultural Risk Insurance Bill

Tuesday, 8 April 2003
Briefing by Coega Development Corporation (CDC)

Tuesday, 8 April 2003
Briefing by Department on Agricultural negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Monday, 14-15 April
2003 GMO Conference (2 days)


18-21 April 2003
Easter Weekend

22 April- 9 May 2003
Constituency period (10 days Study visit to Zimbabwe & Botswana)

SECOND TERM
(12 May to 27 June 2003)

Monday, 13-16 May 2003
Public Hearings on Communal Land Rights Bill (4 days)

Sunday, 11 - 12 May 2003
Participation in the Growth and Development Summit (2 days)

Monday 12 - 13 May 2003
NAMPO Annual meeting (2 days)

Sunday, 18 - 25 May 2003
Agricultural Research Focus Week (includes Forum for African Agricultural Research eeting; Global Forum for African Agriculture and linked Activities) Dakar Senegal

Monday, 2 -4 June 2003
Public Hearings (Role of the Private Sector in Agricultural Development) (3 days)

Tuesday 10 June 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing


Tuesday 17 June 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Tuesday , 23 June 2003
Departmental Quarterly Review (1st)

Monday 23 -24 June 2003
International Conference on Biotechnology-Sacramento, USA

30 June - 11July
Leave period

14 - 25 July
Constituency period

THIRD TERM
(28 July to 26 September 2003)

Tuesday, 29 July 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

 


7? July 2003
African Diaspora Meeting - South Africa (details to follow)

Tuesday, 5 August 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Tuesday, 12 August 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Monday , 18 -23 Aug 2003
International Agricultural Economists Association Conference - Durban, South Africa

Tuesday , 19 August 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Tuesday 26 August 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

?? August 2003
Possible Public hearings on Agricultural Black Economic Empowerment

Tuesday 2 Sept 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Tuesday 9 Sept 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Tuesday 16 Sept 2003
Committee meeting/Briefing

Tuesday 23 Sept 2003
Departmental Quarterly Review (2nd)

27 Sept - 10 Oct 2003
Constituency period

FOURTH TERM
(13 October to 14 November 2003)

Saturday, 18 Oct. 2003
Female Farmer Awards Ceremony Limpopo Province


Tuesday, 21 Oct. 2003
Committee meeting/briefing

Tuesday, 28 Oct. 2003
Committee meeting/briefing


Tuesday, 4 Nov. 2003
Committee meeting/briefing


Tuesday, 11 Nov. 2003
Departmental Quarterly Review (3rd)


?? November 2003
FAO Bi-Annual Ministerial Council and

17 Nov. - 12 Dec. 2003
Conference - Rome, Italy

From 15 Dec. 2003
Constituency period Leave period

IMPORTANT:
Please note that this program is subject to change
Where necessary and possible, legislation will take precedence to other activities

Legislation: Agricultural Produce Agents Bill (Agriculture);
Liquor Products Amendment Bill (Agriculture);
Agricultural Risk Insurance Bill (Agriculture);
Agricultural Production Inputs {Farm Feeds Fertilizers) (Agriculture);
Communal Land Rights Bill (Land Affairs);
Sectional Titles Amendment Bill (Land Affairs);
Restitution of Land Right Act Amendment Bill (Land Affairs);
Spatial Information Bill (LandAffairs); and
Land Use Management UHI (Land Affairs).

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