Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on its 3 & 4 Quarter 2015/16 performance

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

24 May 2016
Chairperson: Ms M Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

There was fear that the Land Bank would not be able to cope with the drought due to claims of underfunding though the Industrial Development Corporation had made money available to the entity.
This came out during discussions when the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries presented its third and fourth quarter expenditure and performance reports for the 2015/16 period to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

On Administrative issues, as at 31 March 2016, the post establishment of the Department totaled 6 201 posts. During Quarter 4, the vacancy rate of the Department decreased from the previous quarter from 11.5% to 10%. However, 13 Senior Management Service posts were advertised in January 2016. The decrease in posts was due to the abolishment of 145 unfunded posts during Quarter 4. The posts of Deputy Director General: Fisheries Management and Deputy Director General: Forestry and Natural Resources Management were approved by Cabinet in January 2016, and the Director General`s post was re-advertised in March 2016.

The reconfiguration project to integrate the organisational structure commenced in May 2015, and the Department had received the draft Report with recommendations. This project would be concluded once the new Director-General was appointed. Gender distribution at Senior Management Service level was 41% female and 59% male. Gender distribution across the whole Department was 46% female and 54% male. Disability status was 1,02% compared with the target of 2%.

On Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety matters, in Quarter 3 there was an outbreak of SAT-3 FMD in Limpopo. The outbreak was detected in the Protection Zone in Limpopo where vaccination was carried out. However, the outbreak was currently being contained in the province. Four affected dip tanks were detected in December 2015, and one in January2016, all located in the Thulamela Local Municipality, which fell within the FMD Protection Zone (with vaccination). The outbreak did not affect South Africa’s FMD free status as the Protection Zone was not part of the Free Zone.

18 primary animal health care mobile clinics (light delivery vehicles) were delivered to all nine provinces. An additional 31 prefab clinics procured in 2014/15 were also delivered to all provinces. The annual report of two animal improvement schemes (Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo and Poultry) was compiled. Surveillance was conducted on two animal diseases (PPR and AI) and reports covered the detection and reaction to outbreaks of diseases and pests.

On Food Security and Agrarian Reform, quarterly review meetings were held with provinces regarding CASP Monitoring. Provinces agreed to monitor projects on a monthly and quarterly basis. Project verification visits were conducted in Quarter 3 in all provinces. At the end of Quarter 3, 303 projects were monitored by the Department in all 9 provinces. The Department received an allocation from National Treasury for 2016/17 to increase its capacity for project management, monitoring and reporting.

In furthering market access for smallholder farmers, a working relationship with Tiger Bands was agreed on, and this would see farmers from Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape benefiting during the implementation of the first phase of the agreement.

Unemployed youth were placed in various units within the Department to gain experience. Of the 230 graduates, 175 were currently placed in various units and 25 are placed with Perishable Products Export Control Board as Export Technologists. 30 were deployed to various Agricultural Policy Action Plan aligned farms to be groomed as young entrepreneurs.

Pertaining to Economic Development, Trade and Marketing, small-scale producers and processors were supported through increasing the reach of SA-GAP to livestock producers, and the number of Value Chain Industry Round tables to support the Revitilisation of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Value Chain (RAAVC) and Agricultural Policy Action Plan (Aquaculture, Fruit and Wine) has been increased. The SA-GAP certification programme concluded pre-audits on seven farms in Western Cape, North West and Gauteng, while final certification audits were concluded on four farms in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State and Gauteng.

A total of five commodity-based cooperatives were established and 32 cooperatives supported with training in various provinces. Commodity based cooperatives offered small agricultural producers opportunities and a wide range of services, including improved access to markets, natural resources, information, communications, technologies, credit, training and warehouses.

On Transformation on Agriculture and Forestry sector, the Department was in the process of developing the Agri-BEE Enforcement Regulations in order to fast-track the implementation of the Sector Code by the Industry Stakeholders.

Regarding Forestry and Natural Resources Management, 6 provinces declared drought under the National Disaster Management C and Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC). Provinces used R124 million from their equitable share to assist and the Department provided interim feed aid for livestock of smallholders and drilling and equipping of boreholes for R263 million using CASP and Ilima/Letsema funds. The Industrial Development Corporation and Land Bank have rescheduled loan repayments.

The development of draft Agro-forestry Strategy had been done. This Strategy addressed issues related to multiple land use, conservation and diversification with the resultant minimisation of risk in land based enterprises. It contributes towards judicious methods of cultivation, conservation and, protection of natural resources, including sustainable forest management.

On Fisheries, the Minister had finalised appeals in seven of the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process and the appeals in the line fish were ready for sign-off and approval. The Fishing Rights Allocation Process 2015/16 was going to allocate fishing rights to ten commercial fishing sectors, as well as to Fish Processing Establishments. To this end, the Department had finalised the 10 Sector-Specific Fisheries Policies; the 11 Sector Application Forms, and the schedule of fees through a public consultation process. A total of 16 744 application forms were
distributed via 32 centres throughout the country during 23 November – 11 December 2015.

The DAFF also hosted the International Symposium on FishCRIME that brought stakeholders from law enforcement agencies, humanitarian organisations and a number of government fisheries departments together to discuss issues related to fisheries crimes.

Members asked the Department to give details on the location and number of boreholes drilled; wanted to find out if there were any lessons learnt from the Fish Crime Symposium; wanted to hear the response of the Department to a statement from the Land Bank that it was not going to be able to cope with the drought; asked what progress had been made regarding the long outstanding camping allowance; what the status was regarding the Chinese vessel arrested for fishing illegally between Durban and Cape Town; asked for an update on AGOA SPS, and enquired if the Department had the capacity to test the 3 types of meat coming into the country; what plans were in place because the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife contract ended end of July; lastly, they stated no report on progress has been made on AgriParks in terms of knowing the number of parks that existed and the number of jobs created.
 

Meeting report

Briefing by Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Mr Mortimer Mannya, Acting Director-General: DAFF, presented the summary of Quarter 3 preliminary organisation performance. He focused his presentation on the six programmes of the Department. The overall achievement stood at 71%.

Programme 1: Human Resources
On human resource issues, the vacancy rate was 11,5%. However, 13 SMS posts were advertised in January 2016. The increased vacancy rate was due to budget cuts. However, the two critical posts of DDG: Agricultural Production, Health & Food Safety and Chief Director: Internal Audit were filled in Quarter 3. The posts of DDG: Fisheries Management and DDG: Forestry and Natural Resources Management were approved by Cabinet in January 2016. The post of the Director-General was re-advertised in March 2016.

The reconfiguration project to integrate the organisational structure commenced in May 2015, and DAFF received the draft Report with recommendations. This project would be concluded once the new Director-General was appointed. Gender distribution at SMS level was 41% female and 59% male. Gender distribution across the whole of DAFF was 46% female and 54% male. Disability status across DAFF was 1,02% compared with the target of 2%.

To improve employment conditions and service benefits, organised labour and the Department discussed, amongst other things, the following issues:

  • Long outstanding camping allowance: The process and plan were
  • agreed on. Joint visits with Labour were done; The Department was awaiting reporting to DBC and this was expected to be finalised by end of May.
  • The implementation of Resolution 1 of 2012: Parties deadlocked on this
  • matter; hence the employer was given more time to implement and report
  • before the first DBC in the 2016/17 financial year.
  • Provision of firearms and bullet-proof vests: Security was in place to ensure that
  • training takes place in the new financial year to enable employees to use or
  • be allocated the firearms. The matter would be addressed in 2016/17.
  • Recognition of improved qualifications: The employer was in the process
  • of consolidating the list provided by organised labour and feedback would be
  • given at the DBC during the first quarter of 2016/17.
  • Reprioritisation of positions in DAFF: Parties deadlocked on this matter and in the
  • facilitation meeting it was agreed the employer should still make a presentation to labour, including the outcomes of the reconfiguration of DAFF in the first quarter of the 2016/17 financial year.

Regarding finances, all matters affecting the Auditors-General’s report were included in the Audit Matrix. The Audit Matrix was updated with the first and second progress reports which were submitted on 31 October and 30 November 2015, respectively. R6,3 million disbursed to 154 Micro Agricultural Financial Institutions of South (MAFISA) beneficiaries. R4,2 million was collected as Africa MAFISA loan repayments, and the final report of the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation on MAFISA’s impact evaluation was approved. DAFF revenue collected for services rendered and forestry products sold amounted to R39,1 million against R38,5 million for Quarter 3 of 2014/15. 99% of payments to suppliers were made within 30 days. Proceeds received at an auction for the disposal of assets for the sale of machinery and equipment, computers, furniture and vehicles amounted to R923 810.

Programme 2: Production Health and Food Safety (APHFS)
Concerning foot and mouth disease, in Quarter 3 there was an outbreak of SAT-3 FMD in Limpopo. The outbreak was detected in the Protection Zone in Limpopo where vaccination was carried out. However, the outbreak was currently being contained in the province. Four affected dip tanks were detected in December 2015, and one in January 2016, all located in the Thulamela Local Municipality, which falls within the FMD Protection Zone (with vaccination). The outbreak does not affect South Africa’s FMD free status as the Protection Zone was not part of the Free Zone.

On AGOA SPS, DAFF engaged in discussions with the USA on the importation of beef, pork and poultry meat from the USA to South Africa. A protocol for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was signed between the 2 countries in November 2015. South Africa is currently free from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and was able to export Ostrich meat to the EU.

In terms of Primary Animal Health Care, the plan to deliver 18 primary animal health care clinics was progressing well although the project was severely affected by budget cuts. Its envisaged that this deliverable would be achieved in Quarter 4. Regarding the Animal Disease Management Plan, the first consultation on the Veterinary Strategy with the Veterinary Council and training institutions was
conducted. These consultations are geared towards finalising the Veterinary Strategy in Quarter 4.

Programme 3: (Farming Systems Approach to Research) FSAR
Pertaining to CASP Monitoring, quarterly review meetings were held with provinces. Provinces agreed to monitor projects on a monthly and quarterly basis. Project verification visits were conducted in Quarter 3 in all provinces. At the end of Quarter3, 303 projects were monitored by DAFF in all 9 provinces. DAFF received an allocation from National Treasury for 2016/17 to increase its capacity for project management, monitoring and reporting.

In terms of registering extension officers, the South African Council of National Scientific Professions (SACNASP) Act has been reviewed and amended for inclusion of Extension Science as a field of practice. 2 632 applications of Extension Practitioners were received and were being processed for registration by SACNASP. 350 Extension Practitioners have been registered in different extension categories, while 1 117 still have outstanding information to provide to SACNASP.

Concerning the graduate and youth programmes, 47 graduates have been placed on various farms producing APAP aligned commodities through the internship and experiential training programme while 288 interns were placed in various technical units within DAFF. Further 311 students were awarded bursaries to pursue different study fields in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Programme 4: (Trainer Performance & Monitoring) TPMA
In terms of market access, small-scale producers and processors have been supported through increasing the reach of SA-GAP to livestock producers, and the number of Value Chain Industry Round tables to support RAAVC and APAP (Aquaculture, Fruit and Wine) has been increased. The SA-GAP certification programme concluded pre-audits on seven farms in Western Cape, North West and Gauteng, while final certification audits were concluded on four farms in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State and Gauteng. Negotiations to enhance regional integration and intra-regional trade was continuing under the COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite negotiations and the negotiations of a Continental Free Trade Area have started. The Department has facilitated bilateral and multilateral cooperation through BNCs, TMCs, as well as visits by the Minister and Deputy Minister and participation in multilateral fora. The Department has also finalised the Rebirth of National Fresh Produce Markets Project and created partnership with COGTA to refurbish the markets.

On AGOA trade, an agreement was reached in January 2016 on the relevant three types of meat: poultry, beef, and pork. The USA proclamation not to suspend agricultural imports was extended to 15 March 2016, but the agreement was eventually signed by the USA and was now in force. Implications of the concessions were that EU and other partners may require equal treatment and this would require the re-adjustment of the current agreements with trading partners.

SMMEs and cooperatives/rural enterprise were supported with capacity to improve operational efficiencies and managerial ability. Programmes developed in this regard include the Farm Together agricultural cooperative training, business planning for agri-enterprises and the agri-appraisal tool.

Programme 5 (Forestry Natural Resource Management?) FNRM
Concerning drought, 6 provinces declared drought under the NDMC and PDMC. Provinces used R124 million from their equitable share to assist and DAFF provided interim feed aid for livestock of smallholders and drilling and equipping of boreholes for R263 million using CASP and Ilima/Letsema funds. The IDC and Land Bank have rescheduled loan repayments.

The DAFF in collaboration with the FAO successfully hosted the 14th World Forestry Congress (WFC), the first in Africa, in September 2015. Two Forestry Imbizos were held in November and December in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. This led to the Deputy Minister initiating a Forestry Road Map towards resolving hurdles to economic development in the sector.

Programme 6: Fisheries
Pertaining to FRAP 2013 and 2016, the Minister had finalised appeals in seven of the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP 2013) and the appeals in the line fish are ready for sign-off and approval. The Fishing Rights Allocation Process 2015/16 (FRAP 2015/16) was going to allocate fishing rights to ten commercial fishing sectors, as well as to Fish Processing Establishments (FPEs). To this end, the DAFF finalised the 10 Sector-Specific Fisheries Policies; the 11 Sector Application Forms, and the schedule of fees through a public consultation process. A total of 16 744 application forms were distributed via 32 centres throughout the country during 23 November–11 December 2015.

The DAFF, in partnership with the National Department of Public Works, developed a framework aimed at revitalising the 12 existing fishing harbours and a programme for the proclamation and establishment of additional fishing harbours.

The DAFF was busy with the implementation of nine Aquaculture Projects under Phase 2 of Operation Phakisa (Developing the Ocean’s Economy). The draft Aquaculture Bill has been through the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System tool (SEAIS), and public consultations are underway. The DAFF has also established the Inter-Departmental Authorisations Committee and the Aquaculture Development Fund.

The DAFF had a fleet of 7 vessels: 5 patrol vessels and 2 research vessels. This fleet was currently being managed by the South African Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA). All the 5 patrol vessels and one of the research vessels are active and at sea. The FRS Africana has been repaired and she was, currently, undergoing sea trials, including testing of all research equipment.

The small-scale fisheries regulations were gazetted on 8 March 2016 along with the MLRA Amendment Bill signed by the President. This now provides the legal mechanism for the implementation of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy.

(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate expenditure per programme and per economic classification for 2015/16)

Quarter 4 organisation performance for 2015/16 financial period
The Acting Director-General also took the Members through the summary of Quarter 4 organisation performance for 2015/16 financial period. He focused on the 6 programmes of the Department. The overall achievement was standing at 77% for Quarter.

Programme 1: Human Resources
As at 31 March 2016, the post establishment of the Department totaled 6 201 posts. During Quarter 4, the vacancy rate of the Department decreased from the previous quarter from 11.5% to 10%. However, 13 SMS posts were advertised in January 2016. The decrease in posts was due to the abolishment of 145 unfunded posts during Quarter 4. The posts of DDG: Fisheries Management and DDG: Forestry and Natural Resources Management were approved by Cabinet in January 2016, and the DG`s post was re-advertised in March 2016.

Gender distribution at SMS level was 41% female and 59% male. Gender distribution across the whole of DAFF was 46% female and 54% male. Disability status across DAFF was 1% compared to the target of 2%. The timeline set by Cabinet for achieving 50/50 gender target and 2% disability target was 2014. However, the current 620 vacancies provided an opportunity to address the present situation.

All matters affecting the Auditors-General’s report were included in the Audit Matrix. Progress reports were submitted in Quarter 3 and the final progress report was submitted on 31 January 2016. The Interim Financial Statements were submitted to National Treasury on 31 January 2016. The Auditor-General was currently busy with the Annual Audit. The Interim Audit Management report was received by DAFF on 7 April 2016. DAFF intended reduce the root causes of repeat audit findings by 60%. The Project Risk Assessment was conducted and Risk Management Strategy, Risk Communication and Awareness Plan and the Risk Management Committee Charter were reviewed during Quarter 4. The Fraud Prevention and Anti-Corruption Strategy was also reviewed and approved for 2016/17.

Programme 2: APHFS
18 primary animal health care mobile clinics (light delivery vehicles) were delivered to all 9 provinces. An additional 31 prefab clinics that were procured in 2014/15 and were also delivered to provinces. The annual report of two animal improvement schemes (Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo and Poultry) was compiled. Surveillance was conducted on two animal diseases (PPR and AI) and reports cover the detection and reaction to outbreaks of diseases and pests.

The Veterinary Strategy was concluded after extensive consultations. A total of 127 veterinary graduates were deployed to rural communities to improve access to veterinary services by the end of Quarter 4.

On Avian Influenza, South Africa can confidently declare that the domestic poultry population in the country is free of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) as supported by surveillance. The domestic commercial and backyard chicken populations were also free from Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) H5 and H7. South Africa was currently free from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and was able to export Ostrich meat to the EU.

Programme 3: FSAR
In furthering market access for smallholder farmers, a working relationship with Tiger Bands was agreed on, and this would see farmers from Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape benefiting during the implementation of the first phase of the agreement.

Concerning Family Farming, the University of Fort Hare concluded a feasibility study on Family Farming. The study confirmed the need to promote smallholder interventions in farming and the significant role that the family played in farming and food security.

Unemployed youth were placed in various units within DAFF to gain experience. Of the 230 graduates, 175 are currently placed in various units and 25 are placed with Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) as Export Technologists. 30 are deployed to various APAP aligned farms to be groomed as young entrepreneurs.

Vulnerability assessment work that was co-funded by the SADC Regional Vulnerability Assessment Committee (RVAC) was undertaken as planned. To date baseline assessments were conducted in KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo. The work would be used to guide interventions as planned and would further provide baseline information regarding the vulnerability of households and communities in South Africa.

Programme 4: TPMA
A total of 5 commodity-based cooperatives were established and 32 cooperatives supported with training in various provinces. Commodity based cooperatives offer small agricultural producers opportunities and wide range of services, including improved access to markets, natural resources, information, communications, technologies, credit, training and warehouses.

On Transformation on Agriculture and Forestry Sector, the Department was in the process of developing the Agri-BEE Enforcement Regulations in order to fast-track the implementation of the Sector Code by the Industry Stakeholders.

Regarding the Citrus Emerging Excellence Programme (CEEP), the programme (CEEP) that was implemented managed to reach out to growers who are in need of training, and opportunities were offered for them to understand the citrus export market and other elements in the value chain.

Reports on the implementation of Aquaculture Value Chain Round Table (AVCRT) and Fruit Industry Value Chain Round Table (FIVCRT) were compiled. The aim of these round tables was to foster collaborative industry-government action that helps to secure an enduring global advantage without limiting the round table to issues and developments that are external to South Africa.

Programme 5: FNRM
The draft Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework (PDALF) Bill was developed and consulted with provincial representatives, as well as internally through a project management team. The biogas production integrated crop-livestock system was implemented in Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West. The biogas project responds to the adaptation and mitigation to climate change through effective implementation of prescribed frameworks.

The development of draft Agro-forestry Strategy has been done. This Strategy addresses issues related to multiple land use, conservation and diversification with the resultant minimisation of risk in land based enterprises. It contributes towards judicious methods of cultivation, conservation and, protection of natural resources, including sustainable forest management.

Programme 6: Fisheries
The DAFF hosted the International Symposium on FishCRIME that brought stakeholders from law enforcement agencies, humanitarian organisations and a number of government fisheries departments together to discuss issues related to fisheries crimes.

Two new research projects on genetics and nutrition for aquaculture species were conducted. In terms of the genetics research, genetic manipulation of a popular fresh water commercial catfish (barbel - Clarias gariepinus) to produce sterile offspring for commercial projects was done. The effect of non-conventional dietary ingredients on the growth performance of spotted grunter, Pomadasys commersonni, was also tested.

1997,57 FTE Jobs were created under the Working for Fisheries Programme.

(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate expenditure per programme and per economic classification for 2015/16)

Discussion
Ms A Steyn (DA), first, asked for clarity on the table that dealt with the summary of Quarter 3 performance. Second, she wanted clarity on the sale of tractors. Third, she asked if the Drought Response Plan could be circulated to the Committee, and she wanted to hear the response of the Department to a statement from the Land Bank that it was not going to be able to cope with the drought. Fourth, she asked the Department to give details on the locations and number of boreholes drilled. Fifth, she asked for clarity on suspensions without pay. Sixth, she wanted to find out if there were any lessons learnt from the Fish Crime Symposium.

Mr Mannya, on the table dealing with Quarter 3 performance, explained that the table indicated programmes of the Department, annual targets and milestones. The table indicated what has been done on the milestone and what had not been done against targets set. On sale of tractors, the tractors were in Mpumalanga and belonged to the Mpumalanga provincial government. There were plans for the tractors. Those that were irreparable were going to be sold. Concerning the Drought Plan, the plan was about protecting the vulnerable.  National Treasury indicated that the affected departments (DAFF, Department of Health and Department of Trade and Industry) should prioritise. Pertaining to the Land Bank, the IDC had made money available and it was going to be administered by the Land Bank. Regarding boreholes, that information could be obtained from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) because when boreholes were drilled, they were registered with the DWS. A list of provinces that had drilled boreholes would be forwarded to the Committee. About suspensions without pay, that information would be sent to the Committee. But suspensions without pay depended on a number of factors. When they were implemented, the Department had to follow the proper labour relations guidelines. Lastly, on the Fish Crime Symposium, there were lessons learnt. It became clear there was a need for international collaboration and co-operation between law enforcement agencies in the country. People were encouraged to alert the Department and law enforcement agencies about fish crime, and he noted that fish crime was a world problem.

Mr C Maxegwana (ANC), asked what progress had been made regarding the long outstanding camping allowance. He also asked if the Department had a happy workforce, and wanted to find out what the status was regarding the Chinese vessel that was arrested for fishing illegally between Durban and Cape Town. Lastly, he asked for an update on AGOA SPS and enquired if the Department had the capacity to test the three types of meat coming into the country.

Mr Mannya, regarding the camping allowance, said this matter was in the process of being finalised. The whole thing rested on who was camping and who was based at the station. The Department had decided to separate these processes. About the happy staff, he stated there was a mixed bag. Improvements had been made on a number of areas. People were provided with protective clothing. The captured vessel, it was in Cape Town. The captain had paid the fine. Other vessels had been brought to Cape Town and charges were brought against them. Their embassies were busy talking to the SA government. More than anything else, this was crime. This meant the resource capacity needed to be increased.

An official from the Department, pertaining to AGOA SPS, elaborated that issues around pork, beef and poultry were discussed and they safeguard South Africa in terms of compliance. The Department agreed with the dti to set aside resources to deal with capacity of consignments. Consignments that have reached the country have been tested already. Every product that comes from a foreign country would be labelled. The US poultry portions would be labelled.

Ms Z Jongbloed (DA) enquired what was going to happen to the captured boats and if the SA government was going to contact the Chinese government about the incident. She further wanted to find out what plans are in place because the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife contract ended end of July. Lastly, she stated no report on progress was made on AgriParks in terms of knowing the number of parks existing and the number of jobs to be created.

Mr Mannya, with regard to the captured vessels, stated they were trying to mobilise more resources for law enforcement. The fact that the vessels were captured meant the Department was doing its work. The problem was not uniquely South African. It was an international problem. On the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, small-scale fishing had been taken away from the Ezemvelo. An agency was coordinating that work. As a result, costs were going to double and triple. Arrangements were made to employ more staff. Regarding AgriParks, AgriParks had components of production. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) reported on AgriParks and arrangements would be made with the DRDLR for a briefing. A list of AgriParks would be forwarded to the Committee.

Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) asked for clarity on the four affected dipping tanks that were detected in December 2015 and wanted to know why veterinarians were not deployed in order to assist people.

Mr Mannya explained that work on dipping tanks was done by Animal Health Officers. The process had already started in Limpopo. Plans were there to ensure the Animal Health Officers were absorbed into the system. The Department could not train people and not use them.

The Chairperson enquired what the status was on the partnership between DAFF and the Department of Public Works concerning fishing harbours. She further asked how far the Department was regarding irrigation targets.

Mr Mannya said the partnership between the two departments was still alive but the progress was very slow though there were plans in place. Concerning irrigation targets, to get water you need to revitalise the existing system and then release water for the needed hectares. This was going to benefit also the DRDLR in its work.

Mr Maxegwana commented that the Department should consider employing more females. It was not acceptable to have a 59% male domination. He also asked if the Department had any intentions of expanding on macadamia nuts because they brought in a lot of revenue though its production was very small.

Mr Mannya, on employment equity, reported they had appointed 2 female chief directors and that was a sign that things were changing. The Department had improved on employment equity by 1%. Regarding macadamia nuts, they had a plan. The Eastern Cape was already expanding and developments were going to happen in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.

Ms Steyn remarked it should be clearly stated that the Land Bank did not say it would not help when it came to drought, but it indicated it could help although it was under-funded. Also, she asked the Department to advise of the timeframes for the submission of boreholes because she wants to know where the boreholes had been drilled so as to assist the Department.

The Chairperson asked how far the Department was with set asides for small-growers.

The Mr Mannya reported they had met National Treasury and the submission was en route to the Minister.

Ms Jongbloed asked why the percentage of disabled people had gone down.

Mr Mannya stated that the good thing was that there had been no resignations. The Department was working on a plan to improve its employment equity.

The Chairperson wanted to know if the Department was responding to the Presidential Hotline.

An official from the Department replied that responses were handled by the Communication Unit of the Department. A report was tabled about reported cases. He, however, did not have the details about such cases. The report would be sent to the Committee.

The Acting Chairperson of the Internal Audit Committee of the Department told Members the presentation was prepared by the Internal Audit Committee. A video conference took place between the Audit Committee and the Chairperson regarding action plans, repeat findings, and audit matrix. The audit matrix was being fine-tuned.  Two additional members would be added to the Internal Audit Committee. Weaknesses around not producing reports on time, improper accountability, repeat findings, and incorrectly reported targets would be sorted out. The intention to move forward was there. As a result, there were training programmes in place to make sure everyone understood what was expected of him/her. There could be processes and procedures in place, but if monitoring was not there, nothing was going to happen. What was vital was communication. People needed to communicate at all times.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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