The Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy received briefings from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on their annual performance plans (APPs) and budgets for the 2021/22 financial year.
The Committee was informed of measures by the Department of Minerals and Energy to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the country, its economy and ultimately the minerals and energy sectors. The Department had to address reduced global demand for commodities and the loss of markets in advanced economies that had been valuable trading partners as well as possible mine closures.
Members were told that the cost of electricity had been increasing at rates above inflation. Continued power failures had prompted energy-intensive users such as smelters to close their local operations and move to other countries to remain competitive. This had contributed to job losses and undermined steps to facilitate mineral beneficiation as a key driver of economic growth.
The Department said it aimed to increase mining exploration activities with a goal of attracting a minimum of three percent of the total global exploration expenditure. An exploration strategy for the country would be tabled in Cabinet during the current financial year. The implementation of this strategy would ultimately increase the contribution of mining to the country’s GDP.
The Department would furthermore ensure a 50 percent reduction in the current time frames for the issuing of mining licences and permits and support efforts to invest in green jobs. The Department would also implement confidence-boosting measures dealing with land rights, digital migration, mineral rights, market tools, local beneficiation and products with export potential, such as ash, gypsum, slag and biomass.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development informed the Committee of various programmes dealing with agricultural production, health and food safety, food security, land reform and restitution, Rural Development and economic development.
The Department would focus on improved agricultural production as well as the revitalisation of essential agricultural infrastructure through the implementation of an agriculture and agro-processing master plan. It aimed to increase land redistribution and to finalise outstanding land claims. It also aimed to strengthen the capacity to deal with devastating livestock diseases.
The budget allocation for the Department in the previous financial year had been R15 billion with a nominal increase of 11 percent to R16.9 billion for the 2021- 2022 financial year. Of this, R6.1 billion went to state entities as part of the transfer and subsidies item in the budget. The item comprised the largest single expenditure of the budget.
Members requested a detailed report on the entities that had received the R6.1 billion transfers and subsidies. Members also advised the Department to prioritise seed banks, especially African seeds.
On minerals and energy, Members called on the Department to refrain from slashing the national electrification budget as this benefited the poor.
Department of Minerals and Energy APP 2021/22
Opening remarks by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Gwede Mantashe, stated that the meeting provided the amalgamated Department with the first opportunity since amalgamation in May 2019 to present and account as one entity to the Select Committee.
He recommitted the Department to transformation, economic growth and sustainable development in the minerals and energy sectors.
He said that the economic reconstruction of the sectors remained a priority and that the first quarter of 2021 had been a very profitable quarter for the mining industry.
The mining industry had set an ambitious target to increase its contribution to gross domestic product from 8 percent to 12 percent for the period under review. The Minister noted that it was okay to dream.
He reminded the meeting that his Department essentially remained an economic department, however this fact had not necessarily permeated the public domain. This had in large part been as a result of the Department being regarded as a regulatory department.
He noted that there had been an overemphasis on the regulatory functions and competencies of the Department.
The Minister further added that the Department would continue to play a pivotal role in energy regeneration and redistribution in the country, and had resolved to acquire about four substations’ worth of urgently needed megawatts.
On beneficiation of minerals, the Minister said that before any benefits could occur exploration first had to be conducted in order to ascertain whether a particular prospect delivered or yielded the desired results. Only once this had been identified and the necessary funding had been sourced and approvals had been granted, could actual mining begin, followed by the beneficiation process. He thought it important to highlight this fact to Members.
The Minister then asked the Director-General (DG) of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), Adv Thabo Mokoena, to elaborate on the Department’s presentation to the Select Committee.
Annual Performance Plan
The Committee heard that the COVID-19 pandemic had had a serious impact on South African society and had had an immeasurable impact on domestic economic sectors and economic growth .The mining and energy industries, being industries that operated on a global scale and that relied heavily on people employed, had not been spared from this pandemic.
The government, through the National Command Council, resolved to re-open the economy in a risk-adjusted approach. It became imperative that the complex initiatives of the DMRE, which were aimed at stimulating the economy, fit into this framework. They dealt with the Department’s operational readiness, the South African mining industry’s health and safety readiness, as well as interventions and responses within the broader mining and energy sectors.
To mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the country, its economy and ultimately the minerals and energy sectors, government had to address reduced global demand for commodities, the loss of markets in advanced economies who had been valuable trading partners and possible mine closures.
The Committee heard that the cost of electricity had been increasing at rates above inflation, and that increased the cost of doing business in the country. This directly affected South Africa’s electricity generation capacity and continued to result in power failures. This prompted energy-intensive users such as smelters to close their local operations and move to other countries to remain competitive. This had contributed to job losses and undermined steps to facilitate mineral beneficiation as a key economic driver of growth.
The Department aimed to increase mining exploration activities with a goal of attracting a minimum of three percent of the total global exploration expenditure. To this end, an exploration strategy for the country would be tabled in Cabinet during the current financial year. The implementation of this strategy would ultimately increase the contribution of mining to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The Department would furthermore ensure a 50 percent reduction in the current time frames for the issuing of mining licences and permits. It would support efforts to invest in green jobs. The Department would also deal with confidence-boosting measures with regard to land rights, digital migration, mineral rights, market tools, local beneficiation and products with export potential, such as ash, gypsum, slag and biomass.
To support economic reconstruction and recovery, the DMRE had finalised the procurement of 2 000 megawatts under the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer programme. The Department would also launch the procurement of an additional 11,800 megawatts of power from renewable energy, natural gas, battery storage and coal in line with the Integrated Resource Plan 2019.
Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) welcomed the presentation and took note of the unqualified audit that the Department had received. She said that she hoped the Department would implement the remedial action as directed by the Auditor-General.
She recalled that the department had mentioned that they intended to introduce a National Gas Master Plan. She requested the department to elaborate on this.
She noted the lack of investment in communities and wanted to know what plans the Department had implemented that addressed non-compliance by mining companies that had not taken mining communities seriously.
On the budget allocation, she noted the R6.1 billion that had been allocated to public entities over the MTEF. Allocations to these entities comprised the bulk of the Department’s budget. In view of this, she enquired about the performance of these entities and requested a detailed report on each of these entities, accompanied by their respective audit reports.
Ms L Bebee (ANC, Gauteng) thanked the Department for the detailed presentation and referred to Programme 2 as referenced in the APP. Her question pertained to the number of mining exploration permits that had been issued by the Department to historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs). She wanted to establish how many applications had been received and what the percentage of approvals had been for the HDIs.
She also took note of the Department’s commitment to invest, and facilitate inward investment, in communities to enable them to enter the mining value chain. She wanted to ascertain what processes the department had instituted that had facilitated this goal.
She added that much had been said about the over-reliance on the national electricity grid and the country’s transition towards renewable energy sources, yet the national government continued to invest in coal infrastructure and other “dirty” energy sources. She wanted to ascertain whether these projects would be economically viable, given the emphasis on renewable energy resources.
Ms Ngwenya added that mining communities continued to be plagued by poor air quality that had serious repercussions. She recalled that South Africa had signed and ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement, with expressed commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and the country’s carbon footprint.
Given these commitments, what measures had been put in place to generate and procure cleaner energy? She also wanted to know what other pollution mitigation measures the Department had instituted.
Mr C Smit (DA, Limpopo) posed his first questions to the Minister. He said that according to media reports, the Minister was embroiled in litigation with a service provider who had lost out on an independent power producer (IPP) tender. He asked whether the reports were true.
He also wanted to know whether the Department had been involved with coal mining developments in the Musina area in Limpopo.
On nuclear energy and the possible extension of the Koeberg power station’s lifespan, he commented that to the best of his knowledge, Koeberg had almost reached the end of its lifespan. He wanted to ascertain the budget allocation for this proposed extension as well as the duration.
Mr T Matibe (ANC, Limpopo) said that at some stage the Committee had to interrogate whether the planned targets were in line with what had been achieved. He noted a depreciation in expenditure on goods and services and requested that the Department should include a detailed breakdown of expenditure. This would provide the Committee with the opportunity to dissect the scale of expenditure vs the actual budget. He also wanted to be briefed on why expenditure had declined.
Mr Tseliso Maqubela, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Minerals and Petroleum Regulation, DMRE, spoke to Programme 2 of the presentation that dealt with the social labour plans (SLPs) of mining houses. He conceded that the implementation of SLPs remained a challenge, as non-compliance persisted. These companies then encountered challenges when they had to renew their licences and were found wanting in terms of SLPs. In instances where companies had not complied with SLP guidelines, the Department would issue fines for non-compliance.
Ms Ntokozo Ngcwabe, DDG: Mining, Minerals and Energy, DMRE, noted that the Gas Master Plan had been developed and underpinned by a framework that contained broad policy statements that the government envisaged to implement. This framework would be incorporated into the National Resource Plan and would also be supplementary to the Gas Amendment Bill. Once all internal Departmental processes had been concluded, the Bill would be introduced in Parliament by the Minister.
She added that the carbon offset projects that the Department had engaged with had been geared towards the reduction of greenhouse gases and that these varied. One of the carbon offset projects related to the conversion of municipal waste into biogas by municipalities to generate their own energy resources.
The Department also intended to liaise and partner with private companies that possessed the critical technical skills needed to reduce the country's carbon footprint. The Department had also focused on self-generating power such as renewable energy that would significantly reduce the strain and over-reliance on Eskom.
Where projects had been implemented by other entities and private business, the Department had conducted regular oversight and monitoring of all of the projects.
Mr Jacob Mbele, DDG: Programmes and Projects, DMRE, said that the Department had a plan that addressed climate change and environmental issues. He noted that new energy sources had to be based on sound business principles. Referring to the Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP) he indicated that the Department had had to cut this budget as well as per National Treasury directives. The Department had been requested to review all of the projects currently under implementation. Where municipalities had been unable to spend their allocations, the Department would redirect those funds to those municipalities that had the capacity to spend them.
Historical backlogs that existed within communities also counted as one of the factors the Department considered before it cut the budget.
Ms Yvonne Chetty, Chief Financial Officer, DMRE, said that there would be a marginal increase in the budget over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. The National Treasury had implemented a ceiling on the salary bill. The salary bill remained the Department’s highest cost driver.
She expressed her confidence that the merger of the minerals and energy departments would bring about cost savings. Where vacancies arose through natural attrition, the Department would evaluate and prioritise line-function and technical vacancies.
On the reduction in the goods and services budget, she explained that the amounts detailed in the outer years of the MTEF should be seen as indicative and that the Department would meet with National Treasury to determine how best to streamline and strengthen this particular item.
She reiterated her previous comment that the merger would bring about cost containment.
On the question about the budget allocation for Koeberg , she informed the Select Committee that the budget allocation resided with Eskom.
Mr Zizamele Mbambo, DDG: Nuclear Energy, DMRE, echoed Ms Chetty's comments about Koeberg and stressed once again that the budget resided with Eskom. The Department had the regulatory and monitoring competency over the facility. The facility remained an integral part of electricity generation in the country and had been slated to reach the end of its lifespan within five years. The Department then made a decision to extend the lifespan of the facility, subject to regulatory approval, by an additional 20 years. Work on this had already commenced and the Department remained in regular consultations with Eskom as well as the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).
Adv Mokoena said the Department had been involved with coal infrastructure development in the Musina/Tzaneen region. He labelled these projects as a positive development for the provincial economy. They were focused on coal washing, iron ore and chrome to name but a few. Projects of these magnitudes had to comply with a regulatory framework that included environmental reviews and assessments. Work was ongoing and progress had been made.
The Minister noted that mining companies and investors had shown a total lack of interest and commitment in relation to SLPs, community investments and developments.
He informed the Select Committee that during oversight visits by the Department to mining communities, complaints ranged from pollution to requests for economic inclusion. In the latter case, the Department normally brought role-players together to explore collaboration.
He assured the Select Committee that the Department would strengthen its capabilities and policies to deal with non-compliant companies.
He referred to a clinic that he had recently handed over to a mining community that had been constructed through an SLP agreement.
The Minister also touched on nepotism and conflicts of interest among certain community members in mining areas. He related an anecdote of another clinic that had been earmarked for an official launch. The Department decided to procure goods and services from local vendors. The three community leaders who had served on the supervisory board for the construction of this clinic, had all submitted bids for the launch event. This type of behaviour was indicative of the challenges that communities faced with certain people who wanted to benefit at the expense of other community members. The minister abhorred this practice.
On coal and gas substitution, the Minister noted that South Africa was a strange country in that people thought that the transition to renewable energies would be a seamless exercise, when it clearly would not be.
He recounted that Germany had taken a decision to move away from coal and nuclear energy to greener sources of energy, yet the country had to rescind the plan as the economic potential and viability of coal proved to be lucrative.
The transition to renewable energies would be a long and arduous process. “If Eskom decided to close all coal-fired power stations, what would happen to the value chain?”
The Minister also addressed the media reports of a court case against him by a disgruntled renewable energy producer, who had lost out on a IPP bid. He denied that he had entered into any squabbles and said that the producer felt that he had been the most preferred bidder. The Minister emphasised that all of the necessary assessment had been done according to prescribed guidelines and all bids had independently been assessed. He expressed his confidence that nothing had gone wrong and labelled the court case a professional hazard. “Some people think they have a right to make money”, he quipped.
The Minister referred to alignment of SLPs and integrated development programmes (IDPs). He told the Committee that municipalities had been asked to engage with mining houses on joint projects and budgeting. Municipalities had proved to be difficult, with demands that SLP funding should be earmarked for IDPs. Minister Mantashe said that he did not share these views.
He added that municipalities had been asked to provide projects that could be included in the District Development Model (DDM). The Department received 156 project proposals, which later were watered-down to 56 projects.
The Department, he said, had encountered resistance from municipalities, which refused to cooperate with one another. Municipalities had bought into an idea that the DDM had been designed to usurp their authority, yet they wanted the SLPs to fix town roads and potholes.
In his closing remarks, the Minister noted that the Department had felt no pain when called to account, as the Select Committee was a “necessary irritant”. He pointed to the large delegation of senior officials that accompanied him to the meeting, as a testament to the Department’s commitment to account on its mandate.
He added that as he had been without a deputy minister for quite some time , he might not always be available for meetings. In these instances, he would always tap DG Mokoena as delegation leader.
He reiterated that his Department remained committed to accountability and transparency, as it wanted to always provide excellent services and performances.
He emphasised that the Department would strengthen community outreach.
The Chairperson said that the Department played a very important role in job creation and economic development and she thanked the Minister and his team.
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development APP 2021/22
Remarks by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
The Minister, Ms Thoko Didiza, stated that farm safety remained a priority for the Department. Cooperation with the South African Police Service (SAPS) under the auspices of the inter-ministerial committee led by the Deputy President would play a significant role. She reiterated that the safety of farmers and farm workers remained the priority, and that the government had realised the impact that violence and crime had on the sector.
She further added that the Department would continue its work to address market concentration and would continue to champion just multilateral trade regimes.
She also informed the Select Committee that the Department had a plan in place that looked at factors such as the required advisory support services, a functional regulatory environment, and market access and trade facilities. This commitment was in line with the African Union's common position on agro processing within the agriculture sector.
The Department had also devised poultry and sugar master plans that were geared towards improvement of these Industries. The Department had realised the importance of roping in the provinces and received overwhelming cooperation from provinces.
The Department had taken note of the fact that increased production would lead to job creation. However that also came with other compounding worries such as avian flu and other diseases.
In relation to the sugar growing region in the eastern belt of South Africa, the Minister noted that some understanding had been reached with sugarcane producers on the need to diversify their operations. Biofuels was one of the particular sectors that had been identified. The Department was working with sector partners to see how best to assist, especially on what technical assistance would be required for this endeavour.
The Minister said the Department had been included in the inter-ministerial panel that had been tasked with drafting a cannabis master plan. Broad consultations had already commenced with various stakeholders and the government had emphasised that those indigenous communities who had grown cannabis for generations should not be excluded from the economic benefits of legal cannabis production. These communities would be prioritised in the master plan.
The Department had also commissioned research into the impact of covid-19 on small-scale farmers. The research had shown that small-scale farmers faced serious barriers during the hard lockdown. They complained of lack of access to their lands and fields that had fallen into disrepair. In some cases, they had also lost their entire yields.
The research had also highlighted the dire food insecurity in the country, especially in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal. The Department had engaged with all provinces on the need to prioritise food security and to introduce clear plans in support of food security in the country.
On the government's commitment to distribute 700 000 hectares of government owned land to designated groups, the Minister noted that 436 000 hectares had been allocated to recipients.
Annual Performance Plan
The Committee was told that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development had earmarked various programmes that would drive its 2021 -2022 annual performance plan (APP). The programmes addressed the areas of administration; agricultural production; health and food safety; food security; land reform and restitution; rural development; and economic development.
Over the medium-term, the Department was expected to prioritise the implementation of key outcomes of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
For the period under review, the Department would also focus on improved agricultural production as well as the revitalisation of essential agricultural infrastructure through the implementation of an agriculture and agro-processing master plan. It aimed to increase land redistribution and finalise outstanding land claims. It would strengthen the capacity to deal with devastating livestock diseases.
The budget allocation for the Department in the previous financial year had been R15 billion with a nominal increase of 11 percent to R16.9 billion for the 2021/22 financial year. Of this, R6.1 billion went to state entities as part of the transfer and subsidies item in the budget. The item comprised the largest single expenditure of the budget. The food security, land reform and restitution programme received R8.8 billion, the bulk of the department's budget.
Mr C Smit (DA, Limpopo) said that the Department had previously touted investments in agro-processing plants. He conceded that agro parks in all likelihood remained a dream for the foreseeable future and wanted to ascertain from the Department how it intended to fund these agro parks amid constrained government financial resources.
On agricultural cooperatives, he commented that internal strife and conflict seemed to be rife within them. He wanted to have a grasp of how many of these cooperatives had proved to be success stories. If the department did not have that information he recommended that an audit be conducted.
The presentation had spoken about investing and standardisation in the small-scale farming sector. It seemed that the sector had never been standardised. He failed to grasp what the department had meant by the standardisation of the small-scale farming sector.
He also requested information on the progress of the Security of Tenure Bill, as well as any other pieces of legislation that might be in the pipeline.
Rural development was one of the competencies that had been spread among several cluster departments. This scenario created a considerable risk for project management.
On the public transportation system in South Africa, he said that all roads led to cities. Rural communities had to be linked with urban areas as the latter effectively served as the sources of the South African economy. Massive investment in road and rail infrastructure would have to take place. He proposed that the Select Committee should consider calling a separate meeting to discuss some ideas he had around this.
Fresh produce markets had dissipated over time. He wanted to ascertain what measures the department had implemented to revitalise cold storage facilities and fresh produce markets.
0n fresh produce exports, Mr Smit informed the meeting that he had met with citrus farmers who had begun to use Mozambican ports. News had since reached him that Mozambique had held back the fresh produce, and these farmers had no idea whether this had been done with or without malicious intent. It had had a severe financial impact on the farmers who on average lost about 10 000 dollars a day. They had since stopped going to Mozambique and had started to utilise the Durban and Cape Town ports. He said that it seemed to him that corrupt practices had been at play.
He also touched on expenditure and noted the sizable allocation to provinces. He wondered whether provinces had the capacity to adequately spend these funds.
Another Committee Member noted that seed banks continued to occupy a very central role in food security and to this end, she inquired about any steps that the Department had taken to secure African crops and seeds.
On the budget allocation for Communal Property Associations (CAPs), she asked whether all of the provinces had the required resources and whether the 2021-2022 allocation was enough. Wasteful expenditure and underspending had to be avoided.
On the Poultry Improvement Scheme, she recalled that the Department had informed members that this scheme would provide market access to South African poultry farmers as well as making the industry more competitive. She wanted to know how many farmers would benefit from the scheme.
Ms Bebee stated that she had seen recent press statements of government-funded agri parks and hubs falling into disrepair. She found the situation lamentable.
She also recalled that in the department's presentation reference had been made about the work South Africa would undertake to mitigate climate change and that this function rested with the presidential coordinator on climate change. She wanted to ascertain whether the Department formed part of this coordinating group. In the event that the department did, which constituency did the Department represent?
Other issues raised by members were the serious challenge that foot and mouth disease posed to the South African agricultural sector; land acquisition and the role of communal property associations. They asked whether the current budget would be able to cover all of the Department’s plans.
Mr Mooketsa Ramasodi, DDG: Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety, said funds had been earmarked to rehabilitate agri-park infrastructure that had fallen into disrepair. He added that inclement weather had also caused severe damage to structures. He cited the town of Bekkersdal, as one such example.
The Department had also drafted a plan to revisit all the sites that received public funds to ascertain which ones were functional and non-functional.
The Department had supported various provincial production support units in 2020. The Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo, Western Cape and Northern Cape had all benefited from this augmented support.
Challenges had been identified by various cooperative participants as well as stakeholders. This had however not meant the demise of this objective. The Springfontein Trade hub and Kroonstad cooperatives functioned quite well.
Mr Terries Ndove, DDG: Land Redistribution and Development, spoke to the legislative issues. He said legislation that addressed land tenure was in the pipeline. The Communal Land Tenure Bill had undergone consultations. It would be introduced in Parliament for consideration and adoption soon. An earlier piece of legislation which the Members had been familiar with, had already been passed. The experiences of Kenya in land tenure and reform had proved very helpful.
On land reform programmes and whether the state had received value for money, he replied that land reform had yielded mixed results. The Department had identified constraints. It had added to the programme and had instituted mitigating measures.
In the last 10 to 15 years the government had acquired and disbursed several hundred thousand hectares of arable land through various land reform initiatives. It had proven to be a pipe dream to convert this arable land into produce.
He added that successful stories had emanated from government land reform initiatives and that new guidelines would be developed that ensured that beneficiaries tended the lands. The Department had resolved to be stricter on land being left vacant. He stressed that all land had to be productive and thereby contribute to job creation, food security and economic development.
The Select Committee further heard that communal property associations (CPAs) had been used to hold land on behalf of communities that had benefited from land redistribution. In many cases this land had been prime agricultural land with huge economic potential. However, conflict and poor governance had resulted in failure. The Department had explored ways to address this problem through rapid policy interventions. In the medium to long-term, the Department intended to conduct a thorough assessment of how CPAs could be utilised as holding entities on behalf of communities.
The state had also acquired land through various methods like restitution, redistribution and tenure agreements. The Department would have to find a way to establish a balance in the application process.
The Department had managed to significantly address application backlogs, since applications for land as part of land reform initiatives had basically quieted down.
The new landowners had to be taught farming techniques and additional skills that prepared them for the task at hand. The primary objective was that the land should be developed for economic good.
The state had realised that a balanced approach to land redistribution had to be found, as state coffers could not continuously acquire land if the recipient had no intentions of tending the land. Further to this, the land reform department viewed the partnership with its sister department, agriculture, as an important step in strengthening the technical capacity and industry know-how of future beneficiaries of the Land reform initiative.
The Select Committee further heard that the Department had also convened a panel of experts appointed by the DG. They had diverse areas of expertise such as livestock rearing, crop production, marketing, agro-processing as well as business development. The Department had realised that it had not been adequate to simply just construct infrastructure without a detailed business plan that encouraged and spoke of profitability. The department also had to consider affordability when it embarked on infrastructure projects, as it might end up with white elephants due to the non-productivity of these facilities. Job creation and economic growth should be the natural end result for the Department. The Department had also roped in the Monitoring and Evaluation Department which had conducted random sampling of the projects that the Department had funded through conditional grants.
The DG conceded that farmers who lived along South Africa’s borders ran a gauntlet of crime and referred Members to Minister Didiza’s earlier remarks about the inter-ministerial panel led by the deputy president. The panel had drafted a rural safety strategy and integrated service delivery approach that comprised different departments and social partners. There had been a strong focus on community safety awareness and rural development as well. This work was currently underway with various workshops held by responsible departments with farming communities.
On the proposal to register all subsistence and small-scale farmers, the Select Committee was informed that a national policy on comprehensive small-scale development had been implemented.
On Mr Smit’s comments about agro-parks being a pipe dream, the policies that would underpin the agro parks industry had already been devised. However, no decision had been taken on implementation. “There's a big role for fresh produce markets, but there are other areas of concern such as procurement and how to gain access to the value chain.” The Department had partnered with municipalities on the implementation of a fresh produce program. This program was aimed at restoring the rightful place of the fresh fruit and vegetable markets.
He took note of the comments on the challenges in Mozambique and lamented that the nature of exports had changed.
The Poultry Master Plan had been concluded and would be driven by national and provincial authorities. National regulations assured growth of an industry and addressed national concerns such as biosecurity and market access. Various working groups had been formed as part of the master plan. A working group for residue monitoring had also been created.
The Select Committee also heard that the Agricultural Research Council, the National Seed Bank and the International Red Cross had worked together on establishing community seed banks. This collaboration had proved successful and was still ongoing.
Closing remarks by the Minister
The Minister said that the Department had done justice to its mandate. A rural safety strategy had been developed in partnership with the police. The Department had handed over a report to the inter-ministerial panel. There was collective agreement on the need to protect farmers and farm workers against criminality and violence and the loss of their livestock. “We remain seized... this is important not only for those rural communities but also for the country as a whole in terms of food security,” the Minister stated.
The agri-park matter was being addressed. The Department had worked with the African Development Bank In the construction of these parks. There was a need to attract private partners to the parks. The concept remained relevant and important; there was a need to correct the mistakes that were made in implementation.
The Department would definitely take up the matter that Mr Smit had raised about the citrus farmers exports. She asked Mr Smit to provide information.
She noted that as a member of the executive, she and her colleagues took their responsibility seriously and that parliament provided a platform for parliamentary committees to engage and hold not only the departments but other stakeholders to account as well.
She concurred with Mr Nyambi on the need for alignment of budgetary processes between national and provincial governments. The Minister noted that her Department had prioritised partnerships with provinces irrespective of who had concurrent powers.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister and her team for the briefing.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Media Statement: Committee Calls on Departments to Translate their Plans into Creation of Economic Opportunities
- DALRRD 2021/22 APP: Provincial Breakdown
- DALRRD 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan (APP)
- DMRE Annual Performance Plan And Budget Vote for 2021/22
- Research Unit: DMRE Budget Analysis
- Research Unit: DALRRD Budget Analysis
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