Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

16 October 2019
Chairperson: Mr Z Mandela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Available here once adopted: BRRR 2019 

The Committee met to consider and adopt the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

Members were generally satisfied with the report. There was consensus that departments needed to stand on their own and not always seek bail outs whenever they have financial constraints.

The report was adopted with amendments.  

Meeting report

Consideration and adoption of draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and invited Committee staff to take Members through the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
 
Dr T Manenzhe. Committee Content Advisor, presented the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR). He highlighted the recommendations directed to the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development; the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights; the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Office of the Valuer-General and the Ingonyama Trust Board.

The Chairperson asked if Members had questions following Dr Manenzhe’s presentation.

Ms T Mbabama (DA) suggested the replacement of the word “reducing” with “converting” on 7.2.7 (b) of the report.

Dr Manenzhe replied that the report was not only about uniformity. Communities own land but when one goes to the Deeds Office, the trustee is the owner of the land. Hence the report recommendations seek to guide the Minister in exploring mechanisms to address this challenge.

The Chairperson said that the report was capturing what the commission does and its submissions to the Land Claims Court, but the information does not necessarily filter down to the Committee. The report was suggesting that there should be further accountability.

Ms Mbabama, commenting on the Ingonyama Trust Board, said the problem was not being addressed well if the suggestion was that revenue should go directly to the rightful owners if there is a Trust. In this case there is an entity which is the Trust.

The Chairperson said Members must recall what the judge had said about of land ownership before the Committee. The communities are represented by their communal leaders and that land resides in communities.

Ms A Steyn (DA) said she was concerned about the legality of the Trust.

Ms K Mahlatsi (ANC) said that Dr Manenzhe was to be given time to respond so that the Committee would get comprehensive answers. Exploring mechanisms means that there is room to try other means of solving the Ingonyama Trust Board issues. The Department must be given time to deal with the issue raised in terms of 7.2.5 (a) since they had not dealt with the matter.

Ms Steyn said that people will go bankrupt and there is a need to strengthen the wording of 7.2.3 by adding “urgently streamlining.”

Ms Mahlatsi said there has been no merging yet of the two departments yet.

Mr N Capa (ANC) said a joint sitting would be able to deal with the issue that related to the confusion about the two departments.

The Chairperson said Members were to remember that they should confine their discussion to the recommendations of the document.

Ms Mahlatsi said that she agreed with Ms Steyn on the use of “urgently streamlining” on 7.2.3.

Ms B Tshwete (ANC) said that Ms Mgxashe should explain the consequence management plan as highlighted in the report.

Ms Mgxashe, Committee Researcher, responded by saying that the consequence management plan was covered on 8.7 in terms of 8.5 it will be rephrased. In terms of 8.6, the Land Bank operates independently and also reports to National Treasury. When funds are returned to the revenue fund they disappear, and the Committee is aware that the Land Bank is under-funded.

Ms N Mahlo (ANC) said that the issue of under-spending should be tracked.

Mr N Masipa said that the International Trade Agreements can be included in the recommendations.

Ms Mahlatsi said that during the Annual Report presentation the Department did not pay an earlier fee of R50 million and that should appear in the report. The Department must be able to stand on its own so that they do not constantly get bail outs.

Ms Mahlo emphasised on the importance of the departments standing on their own.

Ms Steyn said that departments need to budget for disasters so that they are better prepared.

The Chairperson said that disasters by their nature are unpredictable and recently KwaZulu-Natal spent R202 million on drought relief. The recommendations should simply reflect that it must be ensured that disaster funding for the Department is within intergovernmental structures.

Mr M Montwedi (EFF) said that 8.5 of the report sounded like a reactive program because issues of land care should be taken seriously. For the past four years there has been drought relief funds so it cannot be an emergency for four years. There is a need to look into the issue of vaccines because there is a huge hike of prices for vaccines and if there is a bank it can assist in saving money. 

Ms Breedt (FF Plus) said that droughts should be budgeted for as this would assist departments.

Ms Mgxashe said that the problems with a drought relief fund was that an area has to be declared drought affected first and secondly, the issue is how to deal with the money which will be allocated for such programs. If it is not spent then it falls under expenditure or if the Department reprioritises the funding for an area that has not been affected by drought then the funds would be listed as irregular expenditure. The ARC had internal issues that needed to be investigated because there were employees leaving.

Mr Montwedi said that he appreciated the feedback from Ms Mgxashe because it shed more light on the issues that they were not aware of and that there are problems which needed to be tackled because the ARC had mentioned salary issues was because they were under-funded, but the content advisor highlighted there were management issues.

The Chairperson appreciated Members’ inputs and put the report up for adoption.

The report was adopted.

Adoption of minutes
The Chairperson put the minutes of previous meetings dated 13 and 17 September 2019, together with those of 08 and 09 October 2019 up for adoption.

The minutes were adopted.

The meeting adjourned.

 

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