Video on Agriculture in Perspective

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

23 August, 1999

The Portfolio Committee watched the video Agriculture in Perspective, provided by the Department of Agriculture. The Chairperson asked the political party study groups to consider the role of the Portfolio Committee, and items for the Portfolio Committee's programme.

Chairperson Holomisa welcomed the Portfolio Committee to the meeting, and thanked them for the confidence shown in his leadership. A video titled "Agriculture in Perspective", provided by Department of Agriculture, was shown.

The Chair, Adv. Holomisa (African National Congress) noted that the video did not seem to present the full story. He asked if any members of the Portfolio Committee had any comments.

Mr Botha (Democratic Party) asked whether it was possible to determine the programme of the Portfolio Committee for the next few months.

The Chair replied that he would be meeting with the Ministers and Director General of the two departments shortly to discuss the legislation they were hoping to bring to Parliament. The bills would be the Portfolio Committee first priority. At present he only knew of one Bill from the Department of Land affairs.

Ms Nduli (African National Congress) stated that the video seemed to focus on the commercial side of agriculture, and there was nothing on emerging and rural farmers. She asked whether more information could not be provided for this side of agriculture.

The chair agreed, indicating that there would be more extensive briefings from the departments in the future. Other institutions such as the Agriculture Research Council would be requested to come and brief the Portfolio Committee. He invited all parties to suggest additional items for the programme.

Mr Hanekom (African National Congress) suggested that as the video was short, the PC could use some time to suggest what they wanted. He stated that there were three major agriculture institutions, those being the Agricultural Research Council, the National Agricultural Marketing Council and the Land Bank. He suggested a briefing from each would be helpful. The Portfolio Committee had the difficult task of reconciling the fields of agriculture and land affairs, and the more information on the environment within which the Portfolio Committee worked the better. Mr Hanekom added that it would be useful to build into the programme some time to workshop what the Portfolio Committee wanted to be and how they wanted to operate. The Portfolio Committee could be a technical committee that only dealt with legislation, or could make a more positive interaction with the issues.

An unidentified member stated that he believed the priority in land issues was ensuring land returns to the citizens of South Africa. Therefore information on where land redistribution stands would be needed. Other institutions, such as the South African Agricultural Union, black farmers and traditional custodians of land, such as African Royalty, should be consulted.

Mr Botha (Democratic Party) agreed that Land reform was important, and a vital part of the Portfolio Committee's work. If land reform did not succeed, the future of South Africa would be in jeopardy. The Portfolio Committee and Parliament have an important role to play and contact must be made with all interested parties. The Portfolio Committee must become very involved.

The Chair stated that the Portfolio Committee was recently constituted, and that party study groups had probably not met. He suggested that the study groups should look at these issues and the role of the Portfolio Committee, and then contribute further when the Portfolio Committee set its agenda. The Chair welcomed the Deputy Minister, who had just joined the meeting.

An unidentified member stated that she was not a part of the Portfolio Committee, but was attending meetings of various Portfolio Committees to find out what was happening in Parliament. She suggested that the Portfolio Committee should find out how much land was available for the various land uses. Informal settlements were everywhere, and land needed to be found for proper housing. There was a need to talk to municipalities and the provinces, and find out how much land was available.

Ms Ntuli (African National Congress) requested that more information on the programme of emerging farmers, particularly in the rural areas, be provided. Some of the questions she posed were how much land was available and what was the relationship between emerging farmers and the various institutions?

The Deputy Minister stated that he attended the meeting as an observer. He wanted to congratulate the chair and members of Parliament that had been assigned to the Portfolio Committee. He had looked through the committee list, and thought the Portfolio Committee to have an excellent group of MP's. He added that he would do anything he could to help.

The meeting was closed.


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