The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) explained to the Committee that it required the Strategic Plan (SP) and Annual Performance Plan (APP) of each department to be aligned with the priority outcomes in the Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF). The potential of Agriculture in creating one million jobs in accordance to the 2030 National Development Plan was highlighted. This could become a reality through expanding irrigated agriculture, cultivating under-utilized land in communal areas and land reform projects for commercial production and supporting agricultural industries and regions with the highest growth and employment potential to name but a few.
The suggestions that were given to DAFF by DPME amongst many was the attention to consistency of information in the various planning and budgeting documents, as well as various sections of the same document. The expenditure estimates section reflected that the food security agenda aimed to increase the irrigated agricultural land with an additional 750 000ha, while the performance environment in the situational analysis indicated that water available for expansion of land under irrigation could only cover 80 000 ha, according to the National Water Resources Strategy. A controversial issue was that of granting rights to fishing companies. Members felt that there was not enough transformation in the fishery industry and certain companies sought to have rights for a lifetime. This sparked a debate among DA and ANC Members because of their different perspectives.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that most white-owned fishing companies thought that it was their right to fish in the ocean and did not accept the fact that after their rights have lapsed, they had to apply. He said that if we want to make this industry competitive and grow, there had to be transformation and diversity. The reason people were poaching was not because they woke up and decided to do poaching but it was because of the influx of foreign underground cartels that brought drugs in exchange for fish. He said that that the issue of how communities could benefit from this would require a change of heart from the big companies. He said they had to embrace change and participate with the government in doing that. He said there were processes in place to ensure the smooth running of this. He said he heeded and agreed with the Members that implementation could not wait for 2020 when people were waiting now and on top of that they would not even be there during 2020. He said that the President stated in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that there needed to be an increase between the cooperation between government and civil society. He said he also encouraged cooperation between government and the public because it helped government to not pay for some projects. He said the big companies did not want to work with other smaller companies particularly if they were black-owned. He said there was a tendency of wanting to keep black people out of the fishing business.
The Chairperson welcomed all who were in attendance and acknowledged the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. She also noted the presence of Dr Ngomane, from the Presidency of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Apologies from Mr P Maloyi (ANC), Mr W Maphanga (ANC) were given.
Mr N Paulsen (EFF) interjected and made the Committee aware that he had another Portfolio Committee meeting running concurrently which he had to attend. As a result he would leave during the presentation.
Briefing by DPME on the Strategic Plan and 2017/2018 Annual Performance Plan of DAFF
Dr Tsakani Ngomane, Outcome Facilitator: Rural Development, DPME, greeted Members and the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and fisheries. Appreciation was expressed for the invite that the Committee rendered to DPME in order to give the Department an opportunity to present its APP. An apology for the Minister of DPME was noted.
She further said that as a Department they were aware of the level of accountability that was required of the Minister; however she was delegated for this particular task. The purpose of the engagement was to present its assessment of the DAFF's strategic plan and Annual Performance Plan 2017/2018 as approved by Minister of Agriculture in March 2017. She listed the specific areas of focus namely as the alignment of the strategic and the Annual Performance Plan (APP) with objectives of the (National Development Plan) NDP and priority outcomes in Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014-19 and the technical Compliance with National Treasury Regulation in the compilation of the SP and APP.
The MTSF was described as one of the key means of tracking progress towards the achievement of the NDP 2030, annually. As a result, the APPs and SPs of government ought to be aligned to the Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF) in order to enable the implementation of the NDP 2030. She said that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF’s) SP should be grounded in the MTSF 2014-2019. By way of the development of the Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF), critical actions and key outputs aimed at putting the country on a positive trajectory towards achievement of the National Development Plan (NDP) were identified for delivery by departments over the period 2014-19.
The MTSF had key performance targets and indicators from the NDP to be achieved by government over the 5 year period. Chapter 6 of the National Development Plan (NDP) highlighted the potential of agriculture. Agriculture had the potential of creating one million jobs by 2030 namely through:
- expanding irrigated agriculture
- cultivating under-utilized land in communal areas and land reform projects for commercial production
- supporting agricultural industries and regions with the highest growth and employment potential
- supporting upstream and downstream job creation
- finding creative opportunities for collaboration between commercial and communal farmers and complementary industries
- developing strategies that give new entrants access to value chains
She explained that outcome 7 of the Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF) strived for comprehensive rural development and food security. She mentioned that of great importance to DPME was how the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries ensured its strategic plan. This outcome implemented chapter 6 of the National Development Plan (NDP) through 6-sub outcomes, namely:
- improved land administration and spatial planning for integrated development in rural areas
- sustainable land reform for agrarian transformation
- improved food security (DAFF)
- smallholder producers’ development & support for agrarian transformation (DAFF)
- increased access to quality infrastructure and functional services in rural areas
- growth of sustainable rural enterprises & industries--resulting in rural job creation
The Strategic Plan for DAFF had four strategic goals and 11 strategic objectives which spanned over six programmes such as administration, agriculture production, health and food safety, food security and agrarian reform, trade promotion, market access, forestry and natural resource management and lastly fisheries. Concerning administration, DPME noticed that DAFF’s objective to strengthen institutional mechanisms for integrated policy was included in the 2015-2020 strategic plan but not the annual performance plan. The Department was advised to ensure that the two plans were aligned. Some misalignments also existed between the annual targets and quarterly targets. DPME suggested that DAFF used Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Time bound (SMART) annual targets which were broken down into SMART quarterly targets in order to adhere to the principle of alignment of targets.
Under agricultural production, health and food safety, it was described how some strategic objective indicators were duplicated as programme performance indicators. This information should be revised to ensure alignment between strategic objectives and programme performance indicators. In regards to food security and agrarian reform, some strategic objective five year targets were found not to be measurable an misaligned. Such as the: “number of hectares of under-utilised land in communal areas and land reform projects cultivated for production” the annual target was “120 000 ha”, while the quarterly targets referred to “Fetsa Tlala Consolidated Plan”. In view of DAFF’s trade promotion and market access, she continued that some annual targets remained constant in each year of the medium term period. She stressed that instead DAFF should provide targets which indicated the progressive realisation of the implementation of the Agri-BEE fund. Furthermore, DAFF should identify actual outputs which informed reports or recommendations in the report which were a reflection of the core performance of the programme. This recommendation was applicable to all the other programmes of the Department.
Dr Ngomane said, concerning forestry and natural resource management, that DAFF should identify the actual outputs which would be delivered and state the output as a SMART target. She further said DAFF had to also revise targets for the indicator “Number of projects to support revitalisation of irrigation schemes”, which was one in each year of Medium-term Strategic Framework (MSTF) period. She noted that there was no strategic objective five year target provided for the strategic objective indicator “To promote transformation and production of fishery by 2020” which was of much concern. A proposal for the following amendment was made that some of the targets that must be revised include for example, the strategic objective five year target “Recovery of prioritized fish stocks” for the strategic objective indicator “To promote, conserve, protect and recovery of depleted natural resources through the implementation of Marine Living Resources Act by 2020”.
Seemingly, it was not clear whether the target indicated the successful implementation of the Marine Living Resources Act. It was suggested that DAFF had to pay more attention to its consistency of information in the various planning and budgeting documents, as well as various sections of the same document. Such as the expenditure estimates section which reflected that the food security agenda aimed to increase the irrigated agricultural land with an additional 750 000ha, while the performance environment in the situational analysis indicated that water available for expansion of land under irrigation could only cover 80 000 ha, according to the National Water Resources Strategy. It was said that DAFF’s APP should further reflect improvement plans in regards to DPME evaluations conducted on the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and Micro Agricultural Financial Institutions of South Africa (MAFISA) identified serious gaps in terms of efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources. Putting much emphasis on CASP and Agri-Parks would need a lot of monitoring and project management skills for DAFF to produce the required outcome and limit resources leakages.
Despite the commitment made at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February 2017 the amendments to the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Act (PDALFA) had not yet been submitted to Cabinet and most importantly, the process thereof, was not reflected on the APP. Finalization on Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Act (PDALFA) must be expedited to enable protection of agricultural high value land from other uses, such as for golf estates, mining, and housing. These ‘other’ uses often compromised food security production initiatives, posing a threat to national food security. The process was reportedly behind schedule by three (3) quarters on government’s Programme of Action (PoA).
The number of hectares underutilised in communal land cultivated as provided in the 2016/17 APP was not aligned with Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF) target seeking to get into the production of 1 million hectares of under-utilised land in both communal areas and land reform projects. The expansion of land under irrigation was not reflected in the 2016/17 APP target for the revitalisation of irrigations schemes was ‘181 project’ in the MTSF, while the 2016 /17 APP reflected only ‘1’ as the target; the annual target should at least be 36.Conclusively, DAFF and Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) reached consensus to jointly implement these activities across departmental mandates however, the agreement was yet to be implemented.
Dr Ngomane was said that commitments which emanated from the Operation Phakisa: Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Lab needed to be included, especially those wherein DAFF was the lead department. There were targets that were still not specific and measurable in the APP, and therefore most likely to constrain performance monitoring. The duplication of programme performance indicators as annual targets over the Medium term required improvement. Overall, there was reasonable improvement by DAFF since the on onset of the MTSF.
The Chairperson thanked Dr Ngomane from the Presidency for her presentation on behalf of the DPME. She mentioned that the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA) reported that it had no issues with the SP and APP of DAFF. She said there was a lot of improvement in this sector since 2014; however it was time to “change gears”. The meeting was opened for deliberations regarding the presentation.
Mr N Paulsen (EFF) appreciated the presentation. He agreed with the fact that there should be intermediate targets since there was constantly a shift in timeframes for attaining targets. With regards to the targets, he advised that DAFF do an audit of land, in order to know what land it had so that beneficiaries of programmes such as land redistribution and land for cultivation could be determined. He said implementing this framework would help DAFF to not “run out of land”. Upon the Committee’s oversight visit to Mpumalanga, a more rural province where the agricultural economy should be larger, there was a R54 million institution built but was not being used at all. As a result, he asked what DAFF was doing so as to allow people to work the land. He wanted to know what was being doing with tax payer’s moneys in the agricultural sector.
He said that the number of resources being spent in other departments in skill development should also be utilised in agriculture towards skills development. He suggested that the Department consider the findings of research which showed that farms which were smaller and manageable to allow more people to access the farms and to share in the agricultural economy since currently the farming industry was accessible to only a few people. Agricultures’ ability to provide more labour also reemphasised why accessibility to agricultural farming was necessary. Concerning Programme 5 outcome 4, he noted that when one spoke of agricultural land, one spoke of rural land which presented a problem when there was too much development of such rural lands.
He proposed that the Minister should use his access to all departments and municipalities to put to a stop to the over-developing of rural lands which could have been rather used for agricultural purposes. He said that the Department had to relate the objectives of the last fisheries allocation towards small scale fishing. Many families were denied allocations for the small scale fishing and experienced more poverty as a result. He suggested that there needed to be a fairer fishery allocation to allow people to live off the sea. Instead these allocations were found to bring much wealth to “people who had never even set foot on a boat simply because they get the allocation”. He continued to say that the people of the Western Cape who lived off the sea, were starving because of the “DAFF’s lack of empathy to ensure fair and reliable fishery allocations”. He proposed that DAFF should also pay attention to urban agriculture as much as they paid attention to the rural agricultural economy.
Ms A Steyn (DA) said that she appreciated the road map with the specific objectives of Programme 5. She said this would help the Committee when DAFF would soon present its quarterly report as each objective and target would be distinguished thus preventing confusion. She mentioned that she was concerned by the way in which DAFF and DRDLR in their integrated planning set targets and consecutively reported back to Parliament regarding the implementation of these targets on the ground. She said the APP had no baseline for its targets year after year. The realignment of water available for irrigation was something she had noted in the Water and Sanitation Department as well and required improvement in target setting.
Mr P Van Dalen (DA) mentioned that he knew that Dr Ngomane was not the person he ought to complain to since she only helped set targets and measured them annually. Concerning the Fisheries Department, he said that these targets were very low. The crayfish sector was downgraded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since the country deviated from the recovery plan, and now South Africa was stuck in a situation where it could not sell crayfish to other buyers which were not good for markets. He mentioned that this was also a conservation problem where ecosystems were not sustained. When one talked about the protection of the country’s abalone resources he said that the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries depicted it as a case for the South African Police Service (SAPS). He contested that this was a problem DAFF should address. In regards to rehabilitation and recovery, he said DAFF did not yield to the advice of the Committee. He wanted to know how to keep the Department accountable since all these presentations were not happening on the ground since there were no consequences for not doing the work accordingly. He continued that the building in Mpumalanga was not being utilised since the people were not included in the governance and decision making. He suggested that the targets were brought down a bit more in order to “spoon-feed the officials” and makes them more fair and reachable.
Mr N Capa (ANC) appreciated the presentation. He sought clarity on page 29 as he would have preferred that the gaps which were referred to would be identified and addressed. The report made him feel uncertain about the Department’s ability to deal with a number of problems at hand.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) asked what the use of technology in agriculture has been in order to minimize the use of labour at the cost of the poor. He further sought to know what the impact of the junk status on transformation in the agricultural sector was given the fact that it was a sector run by money. In regards to the poor alignment reflected in the report, he asked what impact this had on the results of the Department. He said that the proposal for radical economic transformation by the government was something the Department called for years ago.
Mr H Kruger (DA) said that he hoped that the presentation was as helpful to the Department as it was to him. Concerning the development of small business where there was overlapping programmes happening between the DAFF and the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) he asked that DSBD should also be included in DAFF’s SP and APP.
The Chairperson said when one looked at what was required and the Department’s current budget, the Department was in a position to produce results in line with the MTSF. She asked if the assessments and suggestions of the DPME were an obligation which the departments had to follow or not. Was it not proper that Treasury be brought closer concerning issues such as the bargaining process as required by the MTSF? Lastly, she said she wanted to know the thin line between rural infrastructure development and rural agricultural development. Recalling the Committee’s oversight visit to Mpumalanga, she said that buying land and not buying irrigation was like “robbing the people” as it hindered DAFF from fulfilling its mandate. She hoped that Operation Phakisa would help with these issues.
Dr Ngomane thanked the Committee for their remarks and collective insights in relation to the presentation. She thanked them also for acknowledging the rigour of the work. Regarding the baselines for targets, she sought to clarify that it was very crucial that an end result was always in view of a baseline. Having established this, one set targets, but also kept in view where they were of present. The APP ought to be read in conjunction with the MTSF which provided baselines. The 1 million target for job creation found in the MTSF determined the targets which were listed in the APP.
She explained that when DPME drafted its target they only had in mind their desired end. On the land audit, DPME was aware that the Minister was engaging on this matter to finalise that the land audit that would take into account private land ownership. By virtue of the mandate of Rural Development and Land Reform and DAFF, there was an overlap in their mandate. She asked the Committee to consider a joint session with the two departments in order to get a comprehensive report on this process.
She reiterated that when projects were realigned, it was important that the expertise available for the implementation of that project also be realigned and not only the finances thereof. This was required for work such as farm planning which required a certain level of expertise and knowledge. The research done on farms being smaller, she said that in reality the opposite was happening. Smaller farms were being consolidated because of the rise of mechanisation which made it very difficult for them to compete. She shed knowledge on how this research was a legislature submission which aimed at addressing the subdivision and redistribution of land instead. On the water issue, there was a deliberate attempt to try finding an initiative that would address land reform and water reform.
Concerning irrigation, at the time the target was made there were certain assumptions about the availability of water which were not achievable because of the scarcity of water. As a result the submission made by DAFF could not be attained due to the drought and other factors which permitted the Department to only cover 50 000 hectares of land. She explained that this was an issue to further be engaged by DPME. DPME would relook how to respond to this capacity of water.
Regarding the consensus of infrastructure between Rural Development and DAFF, DPME was yet to establish a consensus according to the legislature process in order to ensure the transfer took place accordingly. She said the Minster was actively involved in this process and should be more aware of the progress. About the overlapping of measurements on an annual basis, she said this was actually a good thing as it showed consistency and enabled one to track performance improvements over time. However, she explained that this became a problem when support was provided for the same beneficiaries every year. The likely impact of the junk status on the agricultural sector widened the inequality gap by increasing food and transport prices.
The extent to which Treasury and DAFF interacted was reported to be limited. She stated that the government budget allocation was never enough to meet the needs of the Department. South Africa, compared to other countries in the agricultural budget allocation, remained behind. The budget allocation was not aligned to the prioritisation of agriculture. Nevertheless, DPME’s rigorous work in Operation Phakisa caused Treasury to commit to availing more funds to DAFF. Lastly, concerning cooperation allocations she explained that beneficiaries would respond more to the grant system than to the loan system. DPME identified the need for improvement in this aspect and would follow up with all departments. In conclusion she reiterated that the overall improvement seen in the APP was as a result of the Committee oversight, new leadership and the work of DPME. She further suggested that there be a joint seating with DAFF and Rural Development in order to address certain problems.
Mr Filtane (UDM) said that Dr Ngomane did in some sense respond to digitalisation. He asked what the impact of digitalisation was in decreasing job opportunities in the near future.
The Chairperson said that a fisheries memorandum needed to be reviewed by her which she was not informed about when the meeting begun.
Mr Capa (ANC) asked if DPME could monitor and evaluate whether the two sister departments (Rural and DAFF) could merge and function.
Ms Steyn (DA) said that it would be easier if the Committee had the APP at the time of the presentation as they constantly had to refer back to the MTSF.
Ms Semenya (ANC) asked if the DPME included the APP of entities which supported DAFF in its report. She said that this caused difficulties for them in their oversight duties if this information was not included in the report.
Dr Ngomane said that DPME reviewed the APP’s of the provinces and supplied feedback to them. However, DPME did not assess the APP’s of the entities. She mentioned that DPME would now assess the APP’s of these entities as per the request of the Minister due to certain gaps in the system. In the next performance plan the entities’ APP’s would also be included. Concerning baselines, she said they would take the concern in account in order to make it easier for Members to refer back to this information. She said that she was not certain if DPME could enforce the process of the transfer between DAFF and DRDLR. As a result DPME could follow through this process in order to ensure that there was no reluctance from either department.
Responses to climate change were said to be digital, hence the departments attempts to create digital ways of doing agriculture. She mentioned that in comparison to the global community, South Africa was still in a state of fighting for needed resources. As a result, she said that the DAFF’s outlook was not yet futuristic. However, DPME would look to different ways of production which would be innovative and involve the youth.
The Chairperson said the presentation was an eye-opener for the Committee as they prepared to engage DAFF’s presentation. She asked that the Committee engaged with DPME on a quarterly basis as a means of achieving the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).
Presentation by Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Annual Performance Plan 2017/2018
Mr Mike Mlengana, Director General, DAFF, said that he appreciated the presentation of the DPME and stated that its feedback went straight to the Department. He said that sometimes when these evaluations came, they acted as if the Department had “super-duper” capacity to carry on these duties but this was not true. He said he would first start by talking about Operation Phakisa because there was an understanding that Operation Phakisa must inform or come in to ensure that they delivered efficiently on some of these issues.
He started by giving a background of the Annual Performance Plan 2017/18 and said that the Department undertook a planning session in June 2016 wherein all the sector role players, that is, the Provincial Departments of Agriculture (PDA’s), the Public Entities/State Owned Entities (SOE’s) and Industry stakeholders were invited to participate. He stated that the purpose of that session was to promote intergovernmental relations, Public-Private Partnerships and integrated planning by having all stakeholders planning together towards the achievement of the National Development Plan (NDP) objectives. He said out of that session priorities of the sector and high level deliverables for 2017/18 were developed. He added that these sector priorities were meant to guide all the role-players in the sector to align their plans with each other for the achievement of the NDP objectives.
He said this exercise of bringing all stakeholders together helped to avoid duplication, clarified roles and responsibilities and made appropriate funding arrangements. He said the priorities developed were informed by the MTSF priorities, the Nine Point Plan: Revitalization of Agriculture and Agro processing Value Chain (RAAVC) and other related documents. He explained that after the session, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) participated in the PDA’s and SOE’s planning sessions in preparation of the first draft 2017/18 APPs to ensure that it was informed by the agreed Sector Priorities and High Level Deliverables for 2017/18.
He then enumerated the objectives of the sector and said they were:
- To improve food and nutrition security,
- (ii) To ensure the creation of jobs by the sector and
- (iii) To increase the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said “to this effect, we have to set up targets”. These targets included the number of smallholder producers supported must be 300 000 by 2019, a job increase of 500 000 by 2019 and 1 million by 2030, to reduce the number of households which were vulnerable to food insecurity to 9.5% by 2019, to increase the percentage of biomass of stock levels in prioritized fisheries sectors like Abalone, West Coast Rock Lobster and Hake, to reduce vulnerability and risks associated with climate change and to ensure climate change response for key sectors in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (AFF) was implemented.
He then went on to discuss the alignment of APP’s to MTSF and sector priorities. He highlighted that it was important for APP’s to align with MTSF and sector priorities in order to ensure the Department’s efficiency. He discussed the contribution of provincial Departments of agriculture to food security and agrarian reform. These contributions were quantified through mid-term targets, estimated performance for the 2016/17 period and programme performance indicators. According to the presentation, the programme performance indicators included the number of Households benefiting from food production initiatives, number of hectares of under-utilized land in communal areas and land reform projects cultivated for production, number of smallholder producers supported, and the number of Extension Support Practitioners deployed to commodity organizations.
He said over the years these numbers were estimated to increase to ensure that a maximum number of stakeholders benefited. The programme performance indicator was disaggregated province by province to get the numbers of households, smallholders, extension support practitioners and underutilized hectares of land per province. This also included the projected number of rehabilitated hectares of land per province. He said about 1100 jobs were projected to be created through the refurbishment of category B and C plantations each year until 2021, 800 LandCare jobs, 558 FTE jobs, 15 000 through CASP and 10000 through Letsema each year until 2021. He then went on to discuss the alignment of APP with Operation Phakisa for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. This he did through looking at the Commitments of Operation Phakisa, DAFF APP indicators and mid-term targets until the 2019/20 financial year.
He stated that the commitments of Operation Phakisa included
- Enhanced animal health through revolutionary veterinary service
- National livestock census, animal identification and traceability
- Livestock skills and knowledge upgrading programme
- National Agricultural Decent Work Programme
- Re-engineer Trade Promotion
- Retention and Optimization ring agricultural development finance
- Fortified veld management for sustainable livestock production
- Unlocking water to expand horticulture intervention
- Dynamic Business Model for Producer Support
He spoke about the administration plans which the Department had from the 2016/17 to 2019/20 financial year. He stated that they were expecting 100% adherence from all staff and that it would be the Department’s job to monitor this. He said that the real target was not to have too many jobs but to have qualitative jobs produced by qualitative individuals. He said the stakeholder engagement strategy was implemented and project management methodology for the Department was institutionalised with quarterly reports submitted for approval.
He said the implementation of the sector research agenda was monitored and the number of policies which were reviewed for alignment to key strategic priorities was two. He said in their budget a huge amount of money went to the compensation of employees. He said they had no problem with the budget as it was but they might have to increase it because of a possible software upgrade.
Concerning agriculture production, they were working together with the University of Pretoria to train students and so far they produced 255 graduates to be placed and they were pleased with this progress. He then continued to speak about trade promotion and market access. In this section he highlighted the need to transform the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. This need reflected in the performance indicators which were enabling environment for smallholder access to markets and the development and implementation of AgriBEE enforcement regulation. He stated that this AgriBEE regulation was used and abused for different purposes but their task was to ensure that it met its original objectives. He highlighted the importance of reporting on the implementation of the transformation sector codes and stated that this would be done systematically until 2020. He said an important component was the implementation of the international relations strategy particularly with engaging with other African countries.
He said that the Aquaculture Act was developed and implemented as per Operation Phakisa. He said the aquaculture projects were one of the main ways through which Operation Phakisa was funded. He said one may wonder why the Operation Phakisa budgets was not the same as here and said it was because of special needs these projects had.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishers Mr Senzeni Zokwana thanked the DG Mr Mlengana for the presentation. He added that what caused the problem concerning the rock lobster were climatic changes more than over-fishing. He said that this could not be left out in the presentation.
The Chairperson thanked the DG for the presentation but said that there were certain areas were DAFF’s presentation did not align with the Annual Performance Plan (APP). She said that the APP would be resolved as the main document. The Department was urged to ensure quality assurance in all their presentations when the document went out and that they did not have to go back the APP. She highlighted that during the presentation she had to go back to the APP and that there were instances where one received two different pieces of information but she took the APP as the base.
Mr Filtane said that fisheries from time to time showed to be the most changeling of all the sectors of DAFF. He asked whether the time would come for DAFF to establish a commission that would research the underlying causes of endless problems. He recalled how some fishing communities in Western Cape were landless which led to establishing a fishing culture so as to feed their families. It was further contested that the situation of having families that came to Parliament and complained that they could not feed their families must not continue happening. This was what caused him to wonder if DAFF could not est
The Chairperson interjected and said that there was a commission and also a report which the Department was supposed to implement some of the issues which were raised in those reports. She said to start a commission would not really work as there was already a commission for this task. She remarked that she was just reminding the Members of that. She said that the relevant question in this case would be to ask “where are those reports?” and “have they been implemented?” She then proposed that Mr Filtane could rather request the reports for the implementation of those commissions instead.
Mr Filtane (UDM) responded and said at the back of this he had this feeling that there was a commission. He remarked that the Chairperson helped him by reminding him and also by proposing to ask where the reports were and whether they were implemented. He said it was also possible that the commission did not do enough work to solve the problems and what was recommended. He further said something needed to be done in order to follow up and make sure that the issues were addressed. He also thanked the Chairperson for confirming what was at the back of his mind. He said when one looked at the APP’s, as much as they were aware that there was a trend to improve production in various sectors like agriculture, forestry as well as fisheries, what he wanted to know was to what extent did they use indigenous knowledge for producing anything.
He made an example about maize and said that he asked some people whether the traditional seed that one could replant was available and they said it was available. He said the seeds which could not be reused pushed up the costs of production let alone selling. He said they would like to see these things being implemented because means of production have become too modernized for a nation that was struggling just to feed its people. The whole process of food production became too modern especially considering that there were graduates from agricultural colleges. He said it was quite a pain when he heard that 500 graduates lined up for 5 posts and said this was very concerning. He asked whether the nation was producing more graduates than it required and if so, why not create jobs within the Department.
He asked about page 27 in the presentation on compensation, he remarked that their communication seemed to be outward bound to the media. He said what an institution could do to strengthen its impact was to ensure that what the Minister or the DG did could be understood all the way down to the street sweeper. He said they needed to create the kind of communication where everybody understood what the Department was about. He also asked (referring to the APP) what external and internal risks were anticipated that could cripple the plan that the Department had. He remarked that it was important to anticipate risks and how to address them should they bring problems. He said the plan that was presented to them was not complete until it contained risks that were anticipated and how they would be circumvented. He said this plan did not give them a complete picture and the absence of it, denied the Committee the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution using their expertise and knowledge in the sectors.
Mr Capa said that the Committee would not behave as if they did not get anything from the presentation of DAFF. He said if one went to page 19, it was found that the reporting became a target. He said the timeline of the plan was worrying because by 2019/20 the people might not be there to implement or follow up on the plan. He said there was recommendation that a clear plan was needed for disaster funding because due to climate change, risks were higher. He remarked that he did not see any information concerning the recommendation in the presentation
The Chairperson thanked Members for the questions and responded to Mr Capa saying that the recommendation was actually there in the presentation.
Ms Steyn spoke about the budget and remarked that it was a massive problem. She made an example of risks on plants due to worms; she specifically mentioned banana and tomatoes and stated that she received calls from KZN that farmers were going to lose a whole seasonal crop and they were being told that someone would be flown in from America. She said this was concerning that we did not have people with skills here. She said her concern was that if we looked at budgets, the actual tasks were not performed by the Department and then they would lose money because basic things like checking plant health and animal health was not being done. She expressed that she was frustrated like she was regarding the drought issue because there was funding for drought relief programmes but the farmers were sitting there waiting for funding. She remarked that “we are wasting money once again”. She said she wanted to know how they were going to produce 450 black farmers when they could collaborate with institutions which were already producing such farmers.
Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) said that time and again they heard of assisting in implementation of acquiring and maintaining hectares of land. He said we were all aware that there was vast land that lied underutilized and was rather used for human settlement instead of fighting hunger and planting crops. He said the two Departments, that was Rural Development and DAFF, should go and work with communities. He made an example with Umsinga in KZN where both these departments were but said that there were other areas which needed more assistance. He asked when they were going to see them assisting other communities. He asked what contribution the departments had to the cooperatives and committees in communities particularly in rural areas where people were said to be most needy and poor.
Ms M Tongwane (ANC) she said her first question about the Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA) was not been reflected in the APP. She said the Committee said it would be finalized and tabled, and her question was “when can we expect it to be finalized and tabled?” Her second question was regarding mass agriculture, she asked if the Department could ensure that producers and farmers were empowered for climate change adaptation and mitigation for each sector. She also commented with regards to the fact that Treasury did not find any issues on the current financial year. She said constant monitoring evaluation would assist the Department to sustain the improvement in financial and service delivery performance, as well as strengthening internal control measures and working closely with the DPME.
Mr P Van Dalen (DA) said he wanted to make a comment on the West Coast Rock Lobster. He said the comment that was made was a little bit disingenuous and said he could tell them a story. He said in the previous term’s Portfolio Committee and five years back there was downgrade on the Rock Lobster because it was endangered. Then there was a plan to ensure stock recovery and that plan was agreed in by everybody and that was why it was not downgraded. He said all of a sudden the DDG deviated from the plan and that was how the downgrade came about. He also said he noted that DAFF wanted aquaculture to be one of their drives. He said he had been to some of these aquaculture farms and he spoke to a lot of people. He said they were seen as commercial fishermen and so they were given rights for 15 years. He said to set up an aqua farm took 10 years or more and before they knew it, the rights they received expired before they produced significant results.
He said these aquaculture farmers had to be recognized as farmers so that the industry could grow. He said the Department should not be so petty about these farmers through putting stringent measures of regulation. He said the allocation caused poverty because people in this industry lost income. He said the people were very upset because they had employees and shareholders. He said the government was stealing from Peter to pay Paul because of these stringent policies which did not allow enough time for production. He said that fishing was an old vocation, it was not something that you could just get a degree for but it was in the blood. He said the government’s transformation policies did not allow families who depended on fishing for years to prosper in this field. He said abalone poaching came because of these stringent policies. He mentioned that because of this, about 800 tons of abalone was confiscated from the people who fished it illegally.
The Chairperson said there were a few things that one had to raise but because they were documented she would hand it over to the Department. She said she would start with the Fishery Department. She said she would like to make it clear that fishing rights belonged to the government and if one was given a right when one’s turn has lapsed, it was over. She said it should not be a crisis when that 15 year right was taken away after it has lapsed and given to someone else because it was not a right but they applied to get these fishing rights. She said what they could do was to make sure that the industry strived and created jobs by redistributing to those who already had adequate facilities. She mentioned that in Port Elizabeth fishermen were given one year of equity but after one year they sold the equity to a big company and now they were unemployed.
She mentioned Tsitsikama and that the same thing happened to them. She said government should tighten their policy and that transformation was needed by allowing new entrances. She said this must be regulated also so that the industry did not collapse. She said one of the problems was that when abalone was confiscated, the money was not used for fighting crime but for something else. She mentioned that the majority of those who were poaching were not even South Africans and they used big vessels to poach and they made money from poaching. They did not even have to come to the land and fisherman only caught a few fish. She said she requested that the money attained from the confiscated abalone must be used to fight crime in the sea and also used to empower small fisheries. Concerning food security and agrarian reform, she said when they met with a single department and when they met with two or more departments, the numbers did not tally. She said that she was not impressed. She also spoke about the long implementation time. For example, one project would be implemented in 2020. To this she asked the question “what will happen between now and 2020?” She asked “in the meantime what is happening?” She expressed that the Committee appreciated the Department’s work with communities but the policies reflected in the APP, when would they be finalized? She remarked that the things which they requested the departments to do were not done but the departments still could go to treasury to ask for funding. She said that the Committee had to put a proposal to Cabinet so that they could finalize policies. She said the APP did not mention any review it was going to do and asked the Minister what was the Department going to do, what was their programme of action? She reiterated that they would not be able to wait for 2020 because they would not be there thus whoever was working on these issues had to ensure that they at least start implementing next year.
The Minister of DAFF, Mr Senzeni Zokwana responded and thanked the Chairperson. He said he would respond particularly to the issue on fisheries. He said that there was nothing much he could say except that he heard the comments and concerns but disputed the views that were given that one of the reasons that the stock of Rock Lobsters decreased was allocation. He said that it was not right that after 23 years of democracy only 2 black companies were given rights. He says most of the rights were given to white fishermen. He said that companies had to agree on transformation and it had to not merely be accepted by board members for the sake of quota. He said that aquaculture was not transformed but the Departments was doing a lot of work in establishing new aquaculture farms.
He said most white-owned fishing companies thought that it was their right to fish in the ocean and did not accept the fact that after their rights have lapsed, they had to apply and be given to someone else. He said that if we want to make this industry competitive and grow, there had to be transformation and diversity. He mentioned that some of the workers of these big fishing companies died at sea because they did not have the proper equipment and tools to protect themselves. He said that last year 8 workers died at sea. He mentioned that when these rights were given to black fishing companies, they were taken to court and he said this was unacceptable. The reason people were poaching was not because they woke up and thought they were poaching but it was because of the influx of foreign underground cartels that brought drugs in exchange for fish. He said in Port Elizabeth the time black people got a 13 ton allocation was only recently, for the very first time in their lives.
He said these companies said to government they had to be given these rights because they were creating jobs as if black people could only be employed and not create jobs themselves. He said “Yes Chairperson, we have listened and have taken to account the report”. He said that the issue of how communities could benefit from this would require a change of heart from the big companies. He said they had to embrace change and participate with the government in doing that. He said there were processes in place to ensure the smooth running of this. He disputed the comment from Mr Van Dalen that people were poaching because government was stringent. He referred to an instance where it was said that a black person was given fishing rights by his friend. He said as for white people these things were not checked, he said “you do not check who his friend is when it is a white person”. He said “as we speak, only two black people have been given quota” and mentioned that the quota was on hold because of a court case against the Department for giving these black people fishing rights”.
He said he heeded and agreed with the Members that implementation could not wait for 2020 when people were waiting now and on top of that they would not even be there during 2020. He said that the President stated in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that there needed to be an increase between the cooperation between government and civil society. He said he also encouraged cooperation between government and the public because it helped government to not pay for some projects. He said the big companies did not want to work with other smaller companies particularly if they were black-owned. He said there was a tendency of wanting to keep black people out of the fishing business.
Mr Van Dalen said he thought they were making a big mistake if they thought that government owned the right. He said it was the people who owned the fishing rights; government was just a custodian of those rights. He said when it came to giving people rights for 15 years and giving it to others again after 15 years, what happened to those who did not get the rights because fishing was their life, must they wait for another 15 years in order to put food on the table? He referred to mining and said that if you gave a mine a right for 15 years what happened the other years? He said they had to have the expectation to get the right again. If not, then the government must tell the people that they would not get rights again because the people were expecting government to give them rights.
The Chairperson made an example as a Member of Parliament for 5 years and must not expect after five years if another party is voted in to occupy that same office in the name of “I must feed my children at home”. In the same way, she said fishing companies had no right to have the rights forever. She said they had not created an impression where one individual had the rights and dominated the fishing industry but they as government had to create the impression that people had to be willing to share whatever they got amongst themselves.
Mr Capa said we must remember that the government or the law was meant to manage all the rights because if they were not managed, one would think they had a right to keep things to themselves. He said this was done because if it was not done there would be anarchy in the country. He said those who were not happy about how the government was managing the redistribution should be talked to so that an understanding could be reached.
Mr Filtane said that Chapter 2 of the Constitution gave people rights but government had a constitutional obligation to manage the countries resources.
The Chairperson agreed and said the process needed to be clear. She said that people had to ask questions when they got rights and not when they were expired. She made an example with Ministers of the Cabinet and said that they had to ask questions when they were appointed and not when they were reshuffled. She said that government had to be transparent when dealing with these individuals and the sector. The government had to tell people from the beginning that if they had questions to ask now and not after 15 years.
The meeting was adjourned