Zimbabwean and Botswana Study Tour; Food Security: preparation for hearings

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
4 March 2003
ZIMBABWEAN AND BOTSWANA STUDY TOUR; FOOD SECURITY: PREPARATION FOR HEARINGS


Chairperson: Mr N H Masithela (ANC)

Documents:
Draft Committee Programme

SUMMARY
The Committee programme was adopted. Members heard that the purpose of the trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana was to investigate communal land affairs. Issues of land redistribution, the control of foot and mouth disease, and food security, however, would not be ignored. Suggestions were received from members of organisations that should be included in meetings from both countries. Suggestions were received about interested parties to invite to food security programmes.

MINUTES
Committee Programme

Mr M Ngema (IFP) corrected the spelling of Ingwenyama to "Ngonyama". Mr Botha (DP) asked if members who were not present because they were not told of the meeting in time would still be able to submit written corrections. The chair agreed.

Trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana
The chair invited comments on the planned Zimbabwe and Botswana trip.

Mr Botha (DP) suggested that instead of having four days for hearings and only one day for site visits, hearings should take place in one day and spend more time on site visits, where they could assess the situation for themselves.

Mr B Radebe (ANC) suggested two days of briefings and two days of site visits.

Dr A Schoeman (ANC) agreed that four days for briefings was rather long. He suggested a format of briefings followed by site visits then meeting with relevant organisations again to ask more informed questions. He stated that traditional leaders had been omitted from the present programme. The chair agreed to include traditional leaders.

Adv S.P. Holomisa (ANC) supported Dr Schoeman's suggestion for the trip structure, and wanted to get clarity on the purpose of the tours. Were tours exclusively for studying the matter of communally held land? The trip should also look at factors like land redistribution, which Zimbabwe and Botswana had to deal with.

The chair reminded members that the trip, as decided five months ago was specifically for the communal land bid, but other developmental issues that impacted directly on South Africa would not be neglected.

Mr Abram (UDM), Mr Botha, Dr Schoeman, Ms Ntuli (ANC), Ms Nkompe-Ngwenya (ANC), and Mr Ngema (IFP) all made comments to the effect that the communal land bid should not be side-tracked. Issues of land redistribution, food security, and foot and mouth disease should also be considered.

The chair stated that the purpose of the trip was now very clear. He asked for suggestions and requests from members of who they should meet in the two countries. He read out the current list:
The Portfolio committee, the minister responsible for land, all NGO's responsible for the Communal Land Bill, farm workers, farmers unions, traditional leaders, women's organisations impacted by the Communal Land Bill.

Mr Botha suggested that in Zimbabwe they meet the organisation 'Justice for Agriculture'. The chair asked if this was a farmers' organisation, and Mr Botha affirmed this. The chair asked the committee if in principle they would agree to meet with all farmers organisations. This was agreed, but an ANC member asked whether Justice for Agriculture was not a pressure group? Ms Ntuli was also concerned. She suggested asking the embassy in Harare to first check if any of the organisations were pressure groups, as they do not want to have any trouble.

The chair asked if the committee agreed with the list. Mr Botha requested a copy of the list for clarity.

Mr Abrams (UDM) asked if there was any identifiable organisation involved in consumer and food issues for information on food security. The chair agreed to ask the embassy to find out about these organisations.

Public hearings on food security
Although newspapers had been informed, advertisements of the hearings had not yet appeared. The chair had approached several interested people, and wanted more suggestions from the committee. So far they had told NAFU, Agri-SA, Pick and Pay, Shoprite-Checkers, Woolworths, trade unions, consumers organisations, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Social Welfare. Some had not replied yet, others were sending reports which would be circulated as soon as possible.

Mr Botha suggested Grain SA and small and big millers. The chair agreed. Mr Abram suggested that red meat producers organisations and the SA poultry association. The chair requested the names and addresses of any organisations to be included before 14:00hrs.

Adv Holomisa mentioned the ARC (Agricultural Research Council), the NANC, and the House of Traditional Leaders. The ARC and traditional leaders had already been invited, but the NANC would be included.

Mr Abram suggested the Land Bank, as they were involved in financing, and could make it very difficult for people to access finance. The chair thought the Land Bank would fit better in the finance hearings in the second term.

Mr Radebe agreed with the chair about the Land Bank, and suggested SALGA (South African Local Government Association).

A DP member agreed with the chair about the Land Bank, but suggested including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as he would like to know how their position on imports would affect food security.

Adv Holomisa supported inviting the Dept. of Trade and Industry, the Land Bank, and SALGA.

The chair summarised that he would include SALGA, DTI, Traditional leaders, and NANC, but felt that including the Land Bank would shift the focus from the specific issue of food security.

Mr Schoeman agreed with the chair about inviting Land Bank the following week, but wanted to suggest that when they met with Land Bank they raise the issue of how banks fit into funding and establishing viable farmers. He reminded members of his comments of last week on looking to the successes of the past.

Mr Abrams felt that it was important for Land Bank to know how everyone felt about food security. He suggested inviting a representative to attend the hearings as an observer, so as to equip the Land Bank to deal with their questions when they do meet. This was agreed by everyone.

Mr Abrams suggested inviting the Provincial Departments, but it was thought that having the National Food Security Directorate was sufficient, they could interact with provincial departments at the implementation phase.

Mr Holomisa mentioned the Ad Hoc committee established last year to monitor food prices, but it was agreed that as this committee did not have anything concrete to report yet, they should be invited as observers.

Mr Botha inquired on the timing of the hearings. The Chair said that a full two days were put aside for the hearings.

The chair asked all members please to inform the media, as the media would play a pivotal role in encouraging people to make an input.

The meeting was adjourned.

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