Hansard: Debate on Budget Vote Nos 23 - Agriculture and 27 - Land Affairs
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 21 May 2008
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
WEDNESDAY, 21 MAY 2008
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in Committee Room
E249 at 14:31.
House Chairperson Mr M B Skosana, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Debate on Budget Vote Nos 23 - Agriculture and 27 - Land Affairs:
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Chairperson, hon Members of Parliament, hon chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs, members of the diplomatic corps, government officials ...
awo mama, newatch, molweni ...
... our young people present here with us and some students who are here, invited guests from the provinces, learners, ladies and gentlemen, today I stand here before you at a time when staple food prices the world over continue to rise. However, as President Thabo Mbeki said in his state of the nation address: "It is Business Unusual with all hands on deck!"
Prophetically, the Freedom Charter declared that, "Rent and prices shall be lowered; food plentiful and no-one shall go hungry." The Polokwane resolutions reiterated this and called upon us to embark on an integrated programme of rural development, land reform and agrarian change. This Budget Vote will focus on all these issues.
We are living in times of globally escalating food prices. According to the World Bank report, food crop prices are expected to remain high throughout 2008 and 2009, and then begin to decline as supply and demand respond to high prices. However, they are likely to remain well above the 2004 levels throughout the years up to 2015 for most food crops. Forecasts of other major organisations – the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report, and the United States Department of Agriculture - that regularly monitor and project commodity prices are broadly consistent with these projections. The FAO report of 2008 indicates that food prices have increased by 45% over the last nine to ten months. International stock levels of major staples are at long-run lows, which resulted in a serious shortage of major staples such as rice, wheat and maize.
Last week, we participated in the United Nations' Commission on Sustainable Development, known as CSD 16, where the focus was to review progress made on the implementation of the Johannesburg Plan of Action. The themes for CSD 16 and CSD 17 next year are agriculture, rural development, land, desertification and drought as well as focusing on Africa. They also looked at the decisions taken at CSD 13 on water and sanitation.
The problem of food security and rapidly rising food prices was the main issue raised by most of the countries and groups such as the Africa Group, the G77 and China, the European Union and organs of civil society. The other areas of focus included climate change, the need for increased investment in agriculture and rural development, security of land tenure and the urgency of the implementation of the African development agenda.
We, as the nations of the world, agreed to the implementation of programmes that would address all these important focal areas. In the words of the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the first green revolution may have skipped most of the African countries as it benefited the developed countries; we must ensure that the second green revolution is specifically for Africa. We join the UN in launching the African Green Revolution in 2008.
The UN further called for dramatically increased overseas development assistance, to contribute to the realisation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development agenda, which includes the development of infrastructure such as rural roads, rail, ports and electricity, all of which would facilitate regional trade and development.
South Africa has also been affected by the rising prices, although our food prices have not increased at the same pace as in many countries worldwide. According to the National Agricultural Marketing Council's report released in February 2008, during the period from January 2007 to January 2008 prices for maize increased by 33,2%. Wheat, during the same period, increased by 81% and sunflower oil by 81,02%.
Some of you will recall that, at a meeting held on 16 April 2008, Cabinet instructed me and a number of Ministers responsible for the economics and social clusters to develop a strategy to address this challenge. We are working hard together to produce a strategy that will assist us in addressing the food price hikes.
Madam Chairperson ... Sorry, Chairperson, not Madam Chairperson ... [Laughter.] ... an interdepartmental task team has been established by Cabinet and it has conducted an analysis and identified various factors that contribute towards high food prices in order to finalise an intervention strategy. This interdepartmental task team is a high-level one, and is headed by directors-general and works with the interministerial committee.
I now come to the factors that have led to these food price crises internationally: availability of grains worldwide; unfavourable climatic conditions for the production of grain in major grain-producing and -exporting countries as a result of droughts in many parts of the world, including Europe and Australia; trade restrictions that were imposed by major grain-exporting countries, such as Argentina; the increased demand for animal proteins that in turn require grains as input for the production of more meat; increasing energy and fuel costs, making transportation of grains more expensive; increasing input costs, especially fertilizers; and potential misuse of market power on the input and output sides of the agro-food chains. There is also a strong belief worldwide that the use of grains such as maize in the biofuel industry, particularly in the initiative that has been taken by the United States where the bulk of their grain stocks have gone towards biofuel production, has actually influenced the escalation in food prices in recent months.
The collusive behaviour in some sectors of the economy, particularly in the food industry, is a matter of concern to our government and many South Africans. Government is confident that the competition authorities will continue to be vigilant and take strong action to curb these negative practices that have also contributed to higher food prices.
Higher food prices impact negatively on the purchasing power of the poorest of the poor in our country. Thus, it is important that our budget should also speak to providing cushions to the poor. Our short-term intervention measures should ensure that they provide safety nets for the poor. Given the risks currently facing the vulnerable groups due to high food prices, Cabinet has instructed the social and economics cluster departments to expand programmes that support the most vulnerable groups in our society. These include social welfare grants, starter packs for household vegetable production, family gardens for food security and school-feeding schemes that must also be expanded as we will have more children who will not be able to access a plate of nutritious food every day, as well as the "Working for Food" Project through our Expanded Public Works Programme. In addition, Cabinet is considering proposals on the zero-rating of basic staples such as sorghum meal, chicken to broaden our protein base – as we know, chicken is the meat of the poorest sectors of our communities - ... [Interjections] ... and selected baby foods. [Interjections.]
We have also embarked on a private sector mobilisation project to ensure that we look into mechanisms of donating food and addressing costs of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, which impact heavily on our farmers. Furthermore, we will ensure that programmes for the production of wheat, maize, soya and milk are intensified. The long-term strategy for agriculture is to invigorate agricultural production and improve investment in agriculture.
Lehumo le tswa tshimong.
Ke ngoko sithi masibuyele emasimini. Inqaba yokulwa le ndlala ikhoyo isemasimini. Masihambe siyolima.
The total contribution of agriculture to the economy since 2001 has gone up from R27 billion to R36 billion in 2007, but agriculture still lags behind when compared with other economic sectors. Recent analyses by the National Agricultural Marketing Council indicate that investments in agriculture have been low; this has also been corroborated at CSG 16, which has found that international donor aid in agriculture has been low. This has impacted negatively on production and research in the agricultural sector.
In 2003 there was a commitment from the African Union heads of state and governments in Maputo that we should further commit ourselves in allocating at least 10% of national budgetary resources to agriculture. The budget for agriculture has increased over the past three years but it still remains far below the commitment made by our heads of state in Maputo.
In 2007-08 we commenced with the Extension Recovery Plan through profiling the state of extension and advisory services in all nine provinces. The results illustrated understaffing by up to 5 490 extension officers and a need to intensify training and visibility of our extension services. To this end an Extension Recovery Plan with a funding of R500 million over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period 2008-2011 will be rolled out in all nine provinces to address capacity deficiencies and create a more visible and accountable extension service.
We will introduce a "green book" which will monitor visits of extension officers to our farmers.
Ndiyanicela ke ukuba niyibambe le Green Book. Xa efikile ngentsimbi yeshumi umlimi nibhale ukuba ufikile waze wenza ntoni. Sizakuba nabo ke nabahloli abazakuza kubelimi babuze ukuba ufikile na owezolimo ukuzakwenza umsebenzi wakhe. Sidiniwe ngamagosa ethu – iiextension officers – ahlala eofisini, enza umsebenzi wawo ngocingo. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
In this current financial year, our recruitment plan will target at least 1 000 extension personnel from among young people and young women. Through a partnership agreement with the government of Kenya, extension specialists will be seconded to support and train our own officials in the Department of Agriculture, and also ensure the development of structures and systems for the delivery of support of the Land and Agrarian Reform Project and other initiatives.
The Department of Agriculture further commissioned a study to investigate the best possible mechanisms to transform colleges of agriculture into National Agricultural Training Institutes and to position these institutions as Centres of Excellence in terms of various agro-ecological zones and Centres for Rural Wealth Creation.
We have come to a conclusion that these institutions should also provide mandatory and targeted training programmes for extension and advisory services to our farmers.
Last year, I outlined our Land and Agrarian Reform Project, aimed at accelerating and aligning Land and agrarian reform in South Africa. LARP, as it is known, was announced by the President as Project 7 of the 24 government Apex Priorities.
LARP will assist government in realising the vision of establishing the one-stop-shop service centres closer to land reform beneficiaries and will focus primarily on the following objectives: redistribution of five million hectares of white-owned agricultural land to 10 000 new agricultural producers; increase black entrepreneurs by 10% in the agribusiness industry; provide universal access to agricultural support services to the targeted groups; increase agricultural production by 10% to 15% for the target groups under the Iliima-Letsema Campaign; and increase agricultural trade by 10% to 15% for the target groups.
LARP is a joint project of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs, the provincial departments of agriculture, and agricultural state-owned enterprises and sector partners.
We are happy to announce that work is being done between government and the private sector to translate these commitments into formal public-private partnership agreements. Through these partnerships, we hope to bring to bear the expertise, infrastructure, information and resources of the private sector, on a risk-sharing basis, to the implementation of a sustainable land and agrarian reform dispensation in our country.
The Department of Agriculture Land Affairs has also developed the Settlement Implementation Support strategy, which addresses, amongst other things, livelihood, enterprise and technical support; integrated natural resource management and sustainable settlements; capacity and institutional developments; functional and spatial integration; and, finally, area-based planning and Provincial Growth and Development strategies. The Settlement and Implementation Support strategy is an integral part of LARP.
In addition to the above, we have also focused on investing in highly capital-intensive projects which will address the rehabilitation of our irrigation schemes and dipping tanks. In line with the UN Secretary-General's statement and LARP, we shall launch our own green revolution through the green corridors which will be our contribution to the African green revolution.
Through our Iliima-Letsema we shall be massifying and increasing production through projects such as the Taung/Vaalharts irrigation scheme, where we want to focus on wheat production; the Lusisiki grain production, where we will be focusing on maize and livestock production; and the Makathini grain and livestock production. Those will be the leading projects to launch our green corridors but we will also be looking at the eastern Free State for wheat production, and at Limpopo, where we have a joint venture with the Italians to set up food pubs in the Tzaneen area.
The Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs has completed a viability review of 1 200 projects funded by our Land Redistribution and Agrarian Development grants. The results of this review will assist us in developing interventions to revive these projects struggling to ensure that all productive agricultural land remains in productive and sustainable use. We are also pleased to announce that we will soon be approving a substantial increase in the LRAD grants to make more money available to qualifying land-reform beneficiaries. The minimum grant for qualifying applicants will increase from R20 000 per individual to R111 125 per individual, and the current maximum grant of R100 000 per qualifying individual will be increased to R430 085. [Applause.]
The Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs has responded to the calls for a national state land audit. In March this year, we completed the audit of some 228 000 parcels of state land on our national database amounting to some 23 million hectares of state land. More work still needs to be done, again this year, to ensure that we have a comprehensive asset register of all state-owned land in South Africa. We will do this in consultation with affected departments, relevant departments such as Land Affairs, Defence, Public Enterprises, and so on.
The question of tenure for farm dwellers remains high on our priority list. In this regard, we are working with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Legal Aid Board, the farmer unions, civil society organisations and the legal fraternity to increase our collective capacity to provide legal representation, and to monitor evictions and other human rights violations on farms.
We commend the decision of the Land Claims Court which restored the dignity of Mr Mokoena and his family in Limpopo by granting them an order to bury their family member on the farm where he was born and lived throughout his life. We also condemn the murder of our farmers and farmworkers wherever this crime occurs.
With the settlement of land claims, the Commission for Restitution of Land Claims has settled more than 95% of the total number of land claims lodged and is left with 4 990 very complex, rural claims. I am happy to report that we have been commended internationally as a country that has done very well on restitution. We have done far better than Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and so I hope the members are going to applaud. [Applause.]
A number of challenges are still confronting us in the finalisation of the outstanding land claims. These challenges include: cases that are still in the Land Claims Court, and are therefore out of our control - we cannot push the courts; disputes with landowners around land prices and the validity of the claims - we are working on this one; disputes around traditional leadership and boundaries - we are working with the Nhlapo Commission which has been working with the king's issue so far, and I hope they are going to go and look at the chieftainships so that we can address these problems; and, lastly, community and family disputes. As a result of these challenges, we believe that between 2% to 3% of these claims may not be finalised by the end of this year.
The commission remains committed to ensuring that all land claims are eventually settled, and to that end a memorandum to Cabinet on the action plan for the finalisation of the outstanding claims has been submitted for endorsement by Cabinet.
The economic models for settling difficult forestry claims and claims with mineral rights such as claims under Anglo American mines, Sappi and Mondi are in the final stages and should also assist in addressing some of the challenging claims. We are working with the relevant departments to solve these problems; the Departments of Public Enterprises, of Minerals and Energy and of Forestry are supporting us in this regard. We are working closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, SA National Parks and other agencies towards the finalisation of co-management agreements for the claims on protected areas.
We have also worked on the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme, which has been prioritised to ensure that we respond timeously to the demands of the Land and Agrarian Reform Project. Hence flexibility has been built into the administration of this facility which is aimed at growing ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Minister, you have two minutes.
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: ... which is aimed at growing new farmers and assisting developing farmers to increase production and strategic agricultural products, and contribute towards the national food security programme.
We can report that we have launched the AgriBEE Charter, which was gazetted on 20 March, and we are about to launch our AgriBEE Charter Council, which will work with the broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council under the Minister of Trade and Industry.
Finally, before I sit down, I also want to say that a lot of work has been done by the Agricultural Research Council in ensuring that we have relevant seeds, particularly wheat, that are resistant to drought and diseases. Also, Onderstepoort Biological Products is working hard to fast-track animal care programmes and has also established up strong relationships with SADC, the EU, and Middle Eastern countries in terms of setting up vaccine banks, and so on.
On food safety standards for national and international produce we have strengthened, through the Perishable Products Export Control Board, most of the work that has to be done to increase our exports. Only last month, our entity certified 19 emerging farmers to export their produce in the lucrative European market, advancing our government's objective for broader participation in the growth industry. I want to say a big thank you to the chairperson, to the Deputy Minister for ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Wrap up, Minister, your time has expired.
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: ... and I also want to thank the portfolio ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, please! Order! I am informed that the Deputy Minister is giving you two minutes from his time. [Laughter.]
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: I want to thank the Deputy Minister, Adv Dirk du Toit, for his support, knowledge and wisdom on agriculture and land matters, and also for his two minutes. I also want to thank our MECs for Agriculture and Land for their support and co-operation. I want to thank the chairperson of the portfolio committee, Mr Rubben Mohlaloga, for his leadership, and also members of the portfolio committee who usually beat us up almost every day.
Let me extend my appreciation for the support and commitment of the presidents of the farmers' unions who have walked this road with us.
I want to thank also the president of the Women in Agriculture and Rural Development for her support for agriculture, and for empowerment of our rural women.
I also want to thank the young people who have worked towards the launch of the Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development, who have worked hard mobilising the youth in our provinces into the agricultural sector. We will be launching Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development in June 2008.
Furthermore, I would like to thank the heads of the agriculture industry who have supported us and given us ideas how we can tackle some of these difficult challenges. A big thank you to the dedicated team led by my directors-general of the Departments of Agriculture and Land Affairs and all the officials. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Before I call upon the next speaker, I see the House is full. Can people be seated because there is still space available? I think there is room up there for those who are standing. Could they be given room to sit there?
Mr M R MOHLALOGA
END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS
Mr M R MOHLALOGA: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, hon MEC Magadzi from my home province, leaders of organised agriculture, representatives of various community organisations, land reform activists, heads of departments and various heads of government entities that fall within the two departments, our distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen: Greetings to everyone! Chairperson, perhaps on your behalf and that of the Speaker we need to extend apologies to our guests that we could not provide sufficient space required for this Budget Vote debate.
I am honoured to open this debate as the chairperson of the portfolio committee, it being my first Budget Vote debate since I joined the portfolio committee last year. [Applause.] I would like to thank my predecessors who have led the committee ably before I was asked to do so – hon Nhlengethwa who has been reassigned to one of the committees in Parliament and her predecessor, hon Masilela who is MEC for Agriculture in Free State. They have laid a firm foundation from which we can build on.
Ka segagešo re re mokgori wa moriti ga se modudi wa wona.
As Wendell Berry, the Kentucky farmer, philosopher and writer, put it:
If the land is to be used well, we must have people on the land who know it well, who know how to use it well, have time to use it well, and are able to afford to use it well.
This speaks to the multifaceted nature of land and agrarian reform as we pursue it in South Africa.
The seminal document of the ANC, the Freedom Charter, provides us with a basis for a vision of land reform in the post-apartheid environment. The Freedom Charter declares that land shall be shared amongst those who work it, and that a restriction of land ownership on racial grounds shall be ended and all the land re-divided among those who work it to banish famine and land hunger.
Colonialism and apartheid were rooted in the dispossession of the African people of their land, the destruction of African farming and super exploitation of wage labourers, including farmworkers and their families.
As a result of decades of dispossession and racist laws, land redistribution in South Africa is amongst the most skewed in the world. The result is that 28% of South Africa's population, a large proportion of whom are farmworkers and their dependants, live on 88% of the agricultural land, which is occupied by whites. Thus the remaining 12% of the agricultural land supports 72% of the rural population in the overcrowded former homelands.
The Department of Land Affairs has adopted various approaches and mechanisms in order to fast-track the process of land delivery as well as the review of the willing buyer, willing seller principle. In addition, a comprehensive strategy to address the inadequacy of post-settlement support was launched in February this year.
The 2008 state of the nation address drew our attention to key Apex Priorities in the fight against poverty, which includes speeding up land and agrarian reform.
To this end, it is important for the department to finalise the land restitution cases, to provide support for land reform beneficiaries, and to speed up land and agrarian reform with detailed plans for land acquisition, better implementation of agricultural support services and household food support.
The greatest area of concern is the extent to which the land that has been restituted is put to productive use. My colleagues will later reflect on this matter.
Farmworkers are among the poorest communities in South Africa. Despite the legislation to protect the tenure rights of those who live on the farms and to secure the labour rights of those who work on them, farmworkers continue to be victims of illegal or inhuman evictions and treatment.
The legalistic nature of the eviction procedures requires that legal expertise be brought to bear on behalf of occupiers threatened with eviction. The Legal Aid Board was established to help the indigent to receive legal assistance.
We are concerned that victims of evictions do not receive this legal assistance and the department has as a result appointed a private legal company, without the national infrastructure, especially in those areas that experience this practice. We believe that this matter should be resolved as a matter of urgency between the Departments of Justice and Land Affairs.
South Africa has a dual agricultural sector, comprising of a well-developed commercial sector and the predominantly subsistence-orientated sector in the rural areas. White commercial agriculture was protected from foreign competition and also got generous assistance.
The Budget policy statement and the SA Reserve Bank Annual Economic Report all draw our attention to the growing inflation, which has been above the target range since April this year.
The biggest contributor has been the higher food and fuel prices. Food price inflation, represented by the annual growth in the CPI food, has increased steadily since the end of 2005. Food inflation almost reached a year-on-year increase of above 10% this year. The CPI of all items excluding food items followed a slower increase – reaching 5% by the end of 2006. The result is that some 40 million people in the country remain vulnerable to food security and 43% of households suffer from food poverty. Much of this poverty is associated with rural areas, particularly in the former homelands.
The Nigerian Yoruba folk poem says "There is no God like one's stomach; we must sacrifice to it every day." These households that we have spoken about need to be salvaged from the poverty trap which will entangle them sooner rather than later.
Compounding this problem is that there is a decline in the number of farmers across all commodities. The result is that we have fewer farmers that have to feed a growing population.
Lack of well-articulated support for small-scale emerging farmers is an issue of concern. I do welcome the intervention to provide better extension services and post-settlement support to new farmers.
The spectre of food prices will soon present for us a serious political risk, thus impacting on the stability of our democracy. Hon Minister, we should consider convening a food security summit that will come up with concrete plans in the short- to long-term so that as a country we are able to confront this challenge in unison.
Where land is redistributed through land reform, agriculture is the dominant but not the only land use. However, land reform policy has not up to now envisaged what kind of land uses are to be promoted through the process of reform and therefore what kind of structural change in production, markets and settlement patterns is being pursued alongside the deracialisation of ownership.
This is a product of not sufficiently locating land reform within a wider framework of agrarian reform. The result is that in Limpopo 46% of potential arable land and 52% in Northern Cape is reported to be unused.
Furthermore, the past decade has seen the contraction of farming as more land is taken out of agricultural production altogether to make way for non-agricultural land uses, through conversion to game farms, our beloved golf courses and holiday estates.
The 1995 White Paper on Agriculture noted that the present structure of agriculture and rural communities is characterised by a very uneven income distribution. This problem can be addressed by broadening access to agriculture through land reform and bringing small-scale farmers into the mainstream of government technical and financial assistance.
The Land Bank is one of our key development finance institutions, whose mandate is to promote, facilitate and support emerging and subsistence farmers.
We have been concerned about the issues around the Land Bank which impaired the image and the repute of the bank. We hope with the appointment of the new board, led by Mr Themba Langa, the bank will be stabilised. We hope that a new CEO will be appointed soon.
It is the view of the portfolio committee that all entities over which we exercise oversight should not be led by people who act in perpetuity lest they degenerate into movie stars of Hollywood.
We are concerned though that the bank has not yet fully appreciated the thinking of policy and lawmakers. If you look at the loan book of the bank, more than 80% of it goes to commercial agriculture.
The interest rate regime for both Mafisa and the development loan book is a matter of concern. It is our view that we need a dual interest rate regime for both loan books.
It is important for a new funding model for the bank to be developed if the bank is to maintain its status as an agricultural development agency. It is my view that there has to be new and discontinuous thinking from the current in terms of the role of the bank.
The Agricultural Research Council is expected to contribute, through research aimed at the development of new crop cultivars, vaccines and other products that will improve the productivity of new entrants.
Climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the most acute environmental problems of the 21st century which is likely to put more pressure on the continent's scarce resources with serious implications for agriculture. The Agricultural Research Council should also play an important role in this regard.
Madam Speaker, the National Agricultural and Marketing Council is to undertake, amongst its responsibilities, investigations on issues pertinent to agricultural marketing and marketing policy. [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, I faulted you by giving you two minutes but now you call me Madam Speaker. [Laughter.]
Mr M R MOHLALOGA: I know Madam Speaker is very generous.
The ambiguity and duality of marketing functions between the Department of Agriculture and the NAMC causes unnecessary confusion. It is our view that if the state has a dedicated marketing Act and a special agency for marketing it is imperative that this agency be given an expanded mandate and resources to operate more effectively.
It is also important that we create the capacity for the Onderstepoort Biological Products to operate in a competitive environment and therefore such skills must be sourced in.
The area of concern with the Perishable Products Export Control Board is that there is a policy gap in relation to food safety and product quality. It is important to review this area for purposes of integrating food safety, product quality, and the cold chain of perishable products for exports, imports and the local market. Business must be seen to be unusual.
There is a Chitumbuka Malawian grain pounding song about the lazy bones that says, and I quote:
Lazy bones, let's go to the farm. The lazy bones say, sorry, I've got a headache.
Lazy bones, let's go pounding grain. The lazy bones say, sorry, my leg is not right.
Lazy bones, let's go fetch the firewood. The lazy bones say, sorry, my hands are hurting.
Lazy bones, come and have some food. The lazy bones say, hold on, let me wash my hands.
Let us not be the lazy bones. The ANC supports the Budget Votes. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Dr A I VAN NIEKERK
END OF TAKE
Mr M R MOHLALOGA
Dr A I VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, hon Minister, this is, after 27 years in Parliament, probably my last debate on agriculture, which I have participated in for many years. Now, even though it is not easy, I would like to make a positive input. I shall see all the problems as "challenges", and I shall speak on the challenges facing us.
Ek gaan ook in Afrikaans praat, want ek kan nie in Engels dink nie. [Gelag.]
Die eerste punt wat ek wil noem, is aangaande voedselsekuriteit. Suid-Afrika het 'n netto invoerder van voedsel geword waar hy in die verlede 'n netto uitvoerder was. Dit het gebeur as gevolg van ekonomiese redes en ook die onbeholpe bestuur daarvan deur die regering van die dag. Ons sal ons dinge in plek moet kry. Tariewe is nodig en dit moet gebruik word, anders het ons die gevolg dat landbou ekonomies sal reageer.
Voedselsekuriteit, met kos wat geproduseer word, let ons op dat Amerika R3 500 miljard bestee aan hulle boere om kos in plek te hou. Ons doen dit nie. Ons het ander redes, maar u moet kennis neem – ek pleit nie vir subsidies nie, ek pleit net dat, ten opsigte van voedselsekuriteit, daar bystand van die staat moet kom om die indirekte hulp wat nodig is met navorsing, voorligting en finansiering in plek te kry. Ek pleit vir 'n kampvegter vir die landbou in die Kabinet; ek pleit vir 'n Minister van Finansies wat uit sy ignoreringslaap oor die landbou moet wakker word voordat voedseltekorte hierdie land tot onrus stu en al die infrastruktuur in die platteland tot niet gaan.
Food security; to try to get only the present farmers to expand their production will not bring us food security.
Op die ou end sal sinvolle voedselsekuriteit in plek kom wanneer ons die ongeveer 1 miljoen hektaar hoëpotensiaal-landbougrond in die oostekant van ons land in produksie bring, sodat ons die voedselproduksie in Suid-Afrika kan verdubbel. Voordat dit nie gebeur nie, sal ons blootgestel wees aan klimaat- en ekonomiese redes en ons gaan op die ou end voedsel invoer.
Daar is 'n mite dat goedkoop kos maklik geproduseer word op klein plasies en in agterplase – dis 'n mite. Dit werk nie. Dit word deur geld gedryf. As daar nie wins is nie, produseer mense nie. Minister, landbounavorsing stort in duie. U is besig om van lanbounavorsers voorligters te maak, en die gevolg is dat navorsers die land verlaat en in ander bedrywe ingaan.
Aangaande entstowwe, Onderstepoort Biologiese Produkte is besig om in duie te stort. Hul eie evaluasie, op 'n punteskaal van 10, sê hulle staan by 4 uit 10. Europa koop nie meer ons entstowwe nie, want ons het agter geraak. Dit stel ons hele landbou in gevaar. Die hoof van die Landbounavorsingsraad vertel hoe hy in Irene 'n toespraak hou in die ouditorium en dan val die reën deur die dak omdat daar nie geld is om dit te laat regmaak nie, en hulle gevolglik moes ophou. Dit is absoluut noodsaaklik dat dinge gebeur.
Internasionale handel: Ek herinner u aan die debakel van verlede jaar toe Europa gesê het, "kom kry die goed wat ons gesê het julle in plek moet kry in plek" – wat nie gedoen is nie. En ons amptenare halsoorkop moes skarrel om die goed in plek te kry en amper ons hele landbou in gevaar gestel het. Dit moet in plek kom. Dit is 'n geweldige uitdaging en die goed is nie in plek nie.
Landboufinansiering is nog 'n geweldige uitdaging. Die behoefte vir die regte finansiering, wat geld vir alle boere, is absoluut belangrik. Ons het duisende skemas: Mafisa, Casp, Clara, Lrad, die Vader weet hoeveel van hierdie akronieme, maar hulle word swak bestuur, te laat in plek gestel en op die ou end is dit nuwe boere wat met groot verwagting van hierdie skemas gebruik maak en op die ou end val dit plat.
Ten opsigte van die Landbank: Swak bestuur – ek wil net vir u sê, Minister, as ons nie die skelms uit die Landbank en ook in die departement wat daarmee saamwerk identifiseer en uitskop nie, dan gaan die Landbank nie regkom nie.
'n Geweldige uitdaging wat ons het, is aardverwarming. Ek weet nie of u besef wat vir ons wag, as ons sien wat in ander lande gebeur nie. Het u gesien wat in Australië gebeur het die laaste twee, drie jaar en hoeveel geld en skemas in plek is om boere net op die platteland te hou? Dit wag vir ons. Een ding wat seker is in landbou, is dat hier 'n droogte kom. Kan hierdie Department van Landbou 'n driejaar-droogte hanteer wanneer dit nie reën nie en alles tot niet gaan? Daardie planne moet vroegtydig in plek wees. Daar is 'n klomp uitdagings.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): One minute!
Dr A I VAN NIEKERK: Dan, Minister, 'n persoonlike uitdaging aan u. Hierdie laaste uitdaging rig ek direk aan u as persoon. Die Departemente van Lanbou en Grondsake is uiteenlopend en kompeterend van aard. Die Minister kan nie altwee dien nie, want hulle kompeteer met mekaar. Wil u nie die Departement van Landbou en Grondsake, wat tans onder een Ministerie is, sorteer en van mekaar skei, want hulle hoort nie saam nie? Dan, wanneer u dit gedoen het, bedank u as Minister van Landbou, aangesien dit baie duidelik is dat u persoonlike voorkeur by grondsake lê en dat ons dan 'n Minister van Landbou kry. Ek dank u. [Applous.]
Mr N SINGH
END OF TAKE
Dr A I VAN NIEKERK
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, hon Minister and the Deputy Minister, it's a pleasure to follow on the hon Van Niekerk and I would like to wish him well on what we can assume is going to be his retirement from Parliament at the end of the session.
But more importantly, Chairperson, I would like to follow on his last point, and say that it is rather unfortunate that these two very important Budget Votes are debated together, as this does not allow sufficient time to thoroughly explore the many issues within the respective departments. We in the IFP would like to see the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land Affairs separated into two independent ministries. We understand that this is the prerogative of the President and not the Minister. Considering the important work that they are mandated to carry out and their immense work load, we believe that a dedicated Minister is needed for each department to fulfil its true potential and achieve the respective objectives. The department's effectiveness and success in achieving the aims thus far have been questionable. And in asking for two ministries, I want to say agriculture is a science; land restitution and land reform is a political imperative.
Having said that, the disparities that still exist within our country, especially between the urban and rural areas - our hon chairperson of the committee referred to this - after almost 15 years of democracy are startling. The development of our rural areas has not taken place at a fast enough pace, and people who live in these areas are still plagued by extreme poverty and a lack of food security. This is an unacceptable situation and the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs must do more to correct the situation and afford the rural areas the required attention, funding and expertise that they need to escape the cycle of poverty in which they are trapped. The department's initiatives and programmes aimed at achieving rural development must be re-examined, and if need be, modified or changed in order to speed up the pace of development in the rural areas.
Chairperson, the hon Minister alluded to high food prices. We do realise that a combination of events has led to the current situation where exorbitant prices are being asked and paid for basic foodstuffs. This is a global phenomenon that is currently afflicting people and countries all over the world. Its effects are, however, felt more harshly by the poorest of the poor who spend a great portion of their income on the basic foodstuffs needed for their everyday sustenance. These higher food prices now mean that their battle for survival and food security has been made so much more difficult. This crisis has plunged the poor even further into the depths of poverty as well as increased their vulnerability.
Chairperson, we understand, and the hon Minister also indicated, that there is a committee of Cabinet looking at this, and we understand that there is a concerted and integrated effort being made by many departments and organisations. This department, however, must play a leading role in this regard. We in the IFP believe that the Department of Agriculture can, and must, increase its efforts to promote the development of the agricultural sector in order to boost production and development, and in turn ensure a stable food supply at reasonable prices. The promotion and development of small-scale and previously disadvantaged farmers must receive particular attention. It is important that this support is qualitative and not based solely on numbers and the need to fulfil and achieve certain numerical or statistical targets. Real support must be forthcoming.
Madam Minister, through you, Chairperson, one of the concerns that we have, and we'd like to pose to the Minister, is that the department has to be staffed with personnel with the required experience and expertise to perform their functions effectively and efficiently. The high personnel turnover and vacancy rate within the department, as shown in the annual report, must be remedied as this constraint, we believe, is a hindrance and will affect the department's performance.
Having said this, I would also like to think that the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights should be a separate entity. We did hear from them that they are experiencing staff problems; they are experiencing capacity problems. We all know that the deadline for the gazetting of claims was 31 December 1998, but yet even today, ten years later, Madam Minister, claims are still being gazetted. And, we were informed by the commissioner from KwaZulu-Natal that there are another 1 750 odd claims still to be gazetted in that province alone. This can only point to staff constraints, and the Minister and the department must look into this and provide the commissioner's office with more staff.
The hon chairperson referred to the Land Bank, as did the last speaker. Madam Minister, the shenanigans that have taken place in the Land Bank have to be investigated and the public have a right to know what went wrong, where millions of rands which was supposed to be for the development of farmers went. In Durban alone, I know of a consortium that received up to a R100 million to buy shopping complexes, to build houses and a golf course estate. Madam, these people need to be put in jail … [Applause.] … and Minister Balfour must help us so that not only the people who gave the loans but the people who received the loans must be behind bars. There must be no bail or parole for them.
We in the IFP believe that land reform constitutes one of the most contested of the post-1994 government transformation programmes, pitting against each other mainly black claimants and white farmers, landowners and tenants, successful claimants and government, traditional communities and government, homeless persons and municipalities, and so on. Indeed, dealing with the complex issues surrounding land reform has enormous consequences for the country in respect of agricultural production, economic opportunity, race relations, black socioeconomic advancement, human dignity, and so on. Whilst we recognise the positive strides made in this regard, the status quo, despite being the centrepiece of government policy for well over a decade, is unfortunately less than ideal.
The manner in which the historical legacy has been addressed has in some cases unnecessarily fuelled tensions and conflicts - not only white-on-black conflicts but black-on-black conflicts as well. Government has somewhat failed to successfully implement the wonderful policies that they have.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, your time!
Mr N SINGH: I think, Madam Minister and Chairperson, the committee has also reported on this: the targets that we have set have to be re-examined. We have been shifting dates, and I don't know for how long we are going to shift dates until all these land claims have been dealt with.
We believe that policy should, as far as is possible, be developed in a manner that builds trust and common purpose rather than provokes division. Provinces should also have greater scope to address the land issues. Centralising all powers in Pretoria, we believe, does not promote locally accepted solutions. But more importantly, Madam Minister, more attention needs to be placed on the pre- and post-distribution phase of land reform. If people are placed on land, they must be given the necessary support so they can produce on that land. We should not just allow people to go and stay on that land and collect rent. People want to be farmers and the department needs to support them in this regard. Chairperson, we will support this budget of the department. Thank you.
Mrs B M NTULI
END OF TAKE
Mr N SINGH
Mrs B M NTULI: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, colleagues, the agricultural sector is critical for the economic development of the rural areas and the country as a whole. It has the potential of raising rural income and building local economies, as well as ensuring efficient production of affordable food and other social needs. Therefore, our programmes of rural development - land reform and agrarian reform - must be integrated into a clear strategy that seeks to empower the poor. This is in line with the Freedom Charter. The developmental state has a central role to play in leading and sustaining rural development, as we all know that rural development is the pillar of our struggle against unemployment, poverty and inequality. To do all this, we need finance.
Let us look at the Land Bank. The aim of the Department of Agriculture is to lead and support sustainable agriculture and to promote rural development through ensuring, amongst other things, the sustainable management and efficient use of natural agricultural resources and production inputs. Without finance, there is no production. The core function of the Land Bank is to focus on development, ensuring that emerging farmers graduate into commercial farmers. Are we making the development impact?
Despite the adoption of numerous turnaround strategies over the years to improve the financial position of the Land Bank, it continues to fail our people. Its capital adequacy still remains below the 15% set by auditors. If the Treasury did not inject the R7 million and guaranteed the R1,5 billion for the bank, it would not have kept operating, hence it has developed another turnaround strategy to improve the situation.
Siyathemba ke kuzolunga ke manje.
But the problem is that the bank is operating along the lines of commercial banks, not as a development bank, and it is dependent on the private sector for funding to execute its developmental role. Minister, this calls for a different model of funding for agriculture if the Land Bank is to maintain its status as an agricultural development institution in a developmental state. The borrowing costs must be reduced. The bank is paying premium rates in accessing its finance. Thus, the interest rates charged by the bank to its clients are too high.
Sikhuluma ngabalimi lapha, hhayi izitolo ezinjengo Shoprite no Pick n Pay. Ayehle inzalomboleko kubalimi ngoba ngaphandle kwemali azikho ezolimo. [Ihlombe.]
For the bank to play a pivotal role in supporting agriculture and transforming and promoting land reform, full capitalisation is required in order to deliver its mandate. Let us consider the Land Bank in its inception after the creation of the Union of South Africa. It is said the prospective tenders of the white population group, irrespective of the applicant's age, were granted loans and mortgages at low and single-digit interest rates against the security of farms, repayable over 60 years. In addition, they qualified for livestock, seeds, fertilizers and implements as well as a monthly allowance to sustain the families until income from farming activities was generated.
This one-stop special purpose facility has proved to have an effect on agriculture and pastoral land remaining in white control for many generations. The challenge facing our people now is no different from, and is even worse than, that faced by the white emerging farmers 96 years ago when they were in a developmental situation. We need to re-look at this if we really want progress. It will be wise to start budgeting more money for research if we really want to develop the poor. Without research there is no development. Why reduce the allocation for research?
Asicabangeni kabusha ngalendaba phakathi.
The Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme plays a critical role in tracking government priorities raised by President Thabo Mbeki in his state of the nation address in 2006. It addresses the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation confronting those in the second economy. The main aim of the programme is to provide post-settlement support to the targeted land reform beneficiaries. There are challenges here as well. The implementation of CASP depends on provincial departments. It is stated that some provinces have a capacity problem that resulted in significant underspending and roll-overs.
Again, Chairperson, the objectives of the programmes are very good but the people do not eat meetings, programmes and papers. Training and the provision of infrastructure, management, marketing and many more, all these are targeted to support the hungry and vulnerable for household food security and subsistence farming, farm and business-level activities.
The delivery system of CASP at provincial level is not effective. The procurement and tender systems are not clear, and there is a lack of capacity and mobilisation of civil society to ensure sustainability of projects by beneficiaries and emerging farmers. This must be corrected. Not even one province has spent 50% of its allocation, but the fact of the matter is that people on the ground need this money. Let us be a winning nation, comrades. Winning is a choice backed by determination. There is no mountain too high to get to the top. Let the money allocated for CASP be used. People are hungry out there. The issue of capacity is always in our annual report. This is cause for concern, Minister. Let us not fool ourselves – there is no implementation without capacity. Let us tackle the Goliath like David. This Goliath is not too strong; he is not too big. We must not look at his armour and say he is a man of war.
Asibhekane nayo ngqo yona leyakwa CASP. Konke kuyenzeka ku Nkulunkulu.
The vision of Mafisa is to empower the rural working poor entrepreneurs to improve their livelihoods. The mission is to provide access to micro and retail agricultural financial services to households, individuals, entrepreneurs and small farmers in the rural areas on a nationwide, commercial, cost-effective and sustainable basis.
To improve access to finance and raise agricultural production in South Africa, the Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit Board were established during the apartheid period to service the white commercial farmers, while the parastatals were established to serve small-scale farmers in the homelands, paying high interest rates, putting our people in huge debt, poverty and shame - labelling them as failures.
President Thabo Mbeki announced the re-establishment of the Agricultural Credit Board in the Department of Agriculture in his state of the nation address on 25 May 2004. The intention was to provide capital and increase support to agricultural activities by small-scale farmers in the communal land areas.
It is expected that through Mafisa, the beneficiaries will get loans of up R100 000 at an affordable rate. The interest rate currently is 8%. There are also other financial intermediaries who will charge 8% plus. I don't want to focus on the interest rate, Chairperson. If you really want to be a farmer, what do you buy if you have a R100 000 in your pocket? Minister, let us help our people out of poverty. The R100 000 ceiling is too low. We are talking about the lives of people, people who want to make a living.
There are Land Bank branches that lack co-operation on their promises. How do we roll out Mafisa? Is this not frustrating our people?
The issue of lack of capacity and reliance on already over-loaded extension officers also creates delays in the establishment of accreditation committees and prolongs the process.
uMafisa Ngqongqoshe ngibone ungathi ezifundazweni sihamba kancane.
The most satisfying thing about being a parliamentarian is to help other people add value to their lives. Many small and emerging farmers do not benefit from available finance resources. We must address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation, and comfort those in the second economy by providing assistance needed by the land beneficiaries and emerging farmers. This contributes to the Millennium Development Goals, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. We cannot buy back lost time or opportunity. There is time for everything. Let's use the time profitably and make an impact.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, your time has expired.
Hhayi kodwa ngiyisixhasa isabelo mali futhi ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
Mr J BICI
END OF TAKE
Mrs M B NTULI
Mr J BICI: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, the budgets for Agriculture and Land Affairs have to achieve a varied but interlocking set of policies.
The growing prominence of commercial farming in general, and emerging farmers in particular, in the policies and expenditure of the departments is to be welcomed. We have long advocated greater support for South African agriculture and now, with the global food crisis making itself felt in our country, the importance of a successful agricultural sector has increased dramatically. In terms of the Maputo Declaration, the agriculture budget should take about 10% of the national budget. Is our budget doing that? If not, why not?
While the efforts of the departments are appreciated, the reports from the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and elsewhere that vast tracts of previously arable farming land are lying fallow are deplorable and should be condemned in the strongest terms. This points to failures. The question is: By whom?
Twenty-three million hectares in the hands of the state, as the Minister has indicated, also points to failures by the government.
The reality is that South Africa, with its extensive history of farming, has slipped into a situation where we are now importers of certain basic foodstuffs. The major stain on the Department of Agriculture's record has been the saga which every speaker in this House has alluded to, namely the Land Bank. Many unanswered questions remain about the extent of the possible corruption and mismanagement that occurred. We urge the Minister to use this opportunity to take this House into her confidence. We need to know exactly to what extent this pivotal institution has been affected.
It is disturbing that once more we are faced with the spectacle of greedy people who are willing to subvert the admirable objective to uplift the poor and disadvantaged in order to enrich themselves.
Be that as it may, the UDM supports the Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs M L NGWENYA
END OF TAKE
Mr J BICI
Mrs M L NGWENYA: Chairperson, hon members, distinguished guests, this debate takes place at a difficult time facing South Africa and the world as a whole. Rising food prices, which affect millions of people in developing countries, are becoming a growing concern for the world. Food price increases are devastating for the poor, who spend more than 50% of their income on food.
But, as part of the solution, the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, has suggested an increase in subsistence farming. One expects that with this kind of suggestion, our government will understand the need to increase the budget for agriculture to cater for assisting emerging farmers. With greater investment in agriculture and rural development, coupled with adequate support, emerging farmers will be able to utilise their underutilised potential for food security.
As we all know, South African agriculture has undergone fundamental policy changes since the dawn of the new government in 1994. However, these changes have not yet translated into the expected tangible benefits for the emerging farming sector. As a result, emerging farmers still face challenges that constrain their full participation in the mainstream agricultural sector. Emerging farmers still face inadequate access with regard to productive land, development finance, markets, research and technology, extension officers and irrigation schemes.
Lehono balemi ba rena, bao ba bego ba buna makgolokgolo a disaka tša mabele gomme ba tlatša dišego, ba bitšwa balemi-potlana ka gobane mmušo wa kgethollo o ba tšeetše mašemo, dikgomo le ditonki tša bona tšeo ba bego ba lema ka tšona. Molawana wa "betterment schemes" wa 1950 ke wona wa go tliša bolwetši bja tlala le bodiidi.
Africans were living a social life. You would never let your sister or your brother sleep hungry or homeless as we see happening today. This is not African culture. It is something else.
Seo se kwešago bohloko le go fetiša ke gore mašemo a balemi-potlana ga a na meetse – ke ra ditšharatšhara – "irrigation schemes", mola dipula di sa ne gabotse. Balemi ba feleletša ba sa bune selo ka baka la komelelo. Comrade Tona, rena ba Lefapha la tša Temo re swanetše go boledišana le ba Lefapha la tša Meetse le Dithokgwa gore ba thuše balemi-potlana ka meetse. Kantle ga meetse ga go na temo. Temo ke meetse. Re duma ge balemi-potlana ba rena le bona ba ka namela lleri ya balemi bosetlaboswana go fihlela ba namela lleri ya balemi bao ba kgonago go rekiša ditšweletšwa tša bona tša temo gomme ba tšwe bodiiding ba swane le boMorena Kraai van Niekerk. [Disego.]
This picture has to change. It has to change not only because it is inevitable and unfair, but also because we need to harness the developmental potential of all our people, not only a few. The harnessing of the developmental potential of all our people will lead to sustainable and fair economic growth, will lead us to a more stable society. It has to change because the ANC government believes that South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, united in our diversity. We cannot afford to fold our arms while our people are suffering. It is very painful to accept that people who have a history of being successful farmers in their own right are now referred to as emerging farmers.
When we get to training, emerging farmers need help from white farmers to develop managerial skills in order to grow their agribusiness. It is not a viable proposition simply to give black farmers a piece of land and expect them to become successful commercial farmers. When white farmers started, they also needed good managerial and administrative skills. Through the years, working on their farms, they were able to gain these skills. It is encouraging, though, that some white farmers like the hon Kraai are making their expertise available to black farmers. We welcome that, Mr Nel.
With regard to extension services, one of the challenges that face extension services is that the present skills base of technical staff does not match many technological and policy changes that have taken place locally and internationally. This places emerging farmers at a disadvantage of not getting effective and efficient service from extension officers. The fact that the Department of Agriculture is in the process of expanding and reskilling extension officers is welcomed, in order to ensure that proper support is given to land beneficiaries and other emerging farmers.
When we talk about marketing and markets, one of the challenges facing small-scale farmers is the lack of access to markets to sell their products. Improving market access for disadvantaged communities involves a range of aspects, ranging from ensuring that they produce a product of right quality that is acceptable to the market, to providing them with infrastructure such as roads, depots, grades, etc. Government has to intervene to ensure that small-scale farmers are afforded markets. This is the only way they can graduate to becoming commercial farmers. It is important that, at local level, efforts to settle emerging farmers on land should take cognisance of market opportunities as a point of departure in the planning exercise.
When we talk about research and technology, the Agricultural Research Council was established under the Agricultural Research Act, Act 86 of 1990, as the main institution to conduct agricultural research, develop and transfer technology and promote agriculture. The focus of the ARC, then, was to provide research and technologies for commercial farmers only. The ARC did not cater for the needs of small-scale farmers. It is only recently that the ARC began addressing the research needs of small-scale farmers. It has created a sustainable rural livelihood programme that focuses on the development of the second agricultural economy. Through this programme, the ARC has developed appropriate technologies for small-scale farmers. We welcome that, Minister.
Much still needs to be done, though, in terms of appropriate research in traditional crops produced by emerging farmers. Through appropriate research and technology, economic opportunities can be created to enable farmers to diversify into value-adding activities, thus improving their income levels.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that our government's focus should not only be to provide beneficiaries with land, but also to encourage them to use the land for production and livelihood purposes. This will go a long way in providing much-needed food security, job creation and socioeconomic development of their communities in support of our vision, which is to create a better life for all.
Chairperson, I would like to give my last minutes to Comrade Abram, please. I am left with three minutes. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J BICI: Chairperson, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary for the last hon speaker not to support the Bill when it has been tabled? [Laughter.]
Ms M L NGWENYA: Angeke ngiwuxhase lo Mthethosivivinyo. [I won't support the Bill.] [Interjections.]
Mrs C DUDLEY
END OF TAKE
Mrs M L NGWENYA
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, hon Minister, the ACDP is of the opinion that the 4,95% increase, in real terms, in the Land Affairs budget is hugely problematic. An estimated additional budget of R74 billion over a 6-year period is in fact needed if we are to deliver the envisioned 21 million hectares of land. This is a conservative estimate. An amount of R16 billion in the next two years will be needed in order to deliver just 5 million hectares of presently white-owned agricultural land to 10 000 new agricultural producers. An urgent review of the allocation to the department is needed if they are to implement an effective and sustainable land reform programme.
The ACDP believes failure by government to meet their own land redistribution targets has been a trigger for irrational blaming and extreme policy and legislation. The controversial Expropriation Bill, for example, paves the way for any private property, not only land used for agriculture, to be expropriated by government. This would be done under the broad objective of public interest. Creating uncertainty and insecurity only negatively impacts on the economy.
Key findings in a recent Centre for Development and Enterprise report on land reform show that erroneous perceptions about what is holding up land restitution have been misleading. The slow pace of settling rural claims, they say, is due to a chronic lack of staff, skills and experience in the department and the Land Claims Commission. The ACDP urges the Minister to seriously consider proposals by the CDE for increased public-private partnerships that will urgently seek to speed up land restitution. It is imperative that no holds are barred in accessing adequate budget and capacity to effectively spend on meaningful land reform.
South Africa is facing serious food shortages for the first time in its recorded agricultural history. The ACDP has expressed serious concern over escalating food and commodity prices, which effectively null and void efforts to eradicate poverty and improve the standard of living of all South Africans.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): You have one minute left.
Mrs C DUDLEY: With this in mind, we call for a debate in the National Assembly on the impact of land and agricultural policy and legislation on increasing food and commodity prices.
Global food stockpiles have also declined to their lowest point in decades. The Department of Agriculture, which plays a key role, faces serious problems, from unstable weather conditions and access to adequate water to a lack of capacity at every level. Of particular concern to the ACDP is the severe shortage of researchers and, of course, qualified veterinarians who are crucial when disasters hit or infectious diseases make an appearance. At the end of last year, 20 of the possible 38 posts for vets in the state veterinary services were apparently vacant. Now, the chief executive of the Red Meat Producers Association stated that, and I quote:
This shortage has had an immense impact on the red meat industry, especially where controlled diseases such as brucellosis are concerned ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order! Hon member, your time has expired.
Mrs C DUDLEY: May I just complete by saying that the ACDP cannot support this budget, which is grossly inadequate to meet the demands presently on the department. Thank you. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD
END OF TAKE
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Voorsitter, ek het besluit dat ek hierdie debat op 'n baie positiewe noot wil begin. Vir die eerste keer in 'n lang tyd is daar 'n ligpunt in hierdie debat. Daardie ligpunt is dat dit die laaste keer sal wees dat hierdie agb Minister hierdie begrotingspos sal hanteer. Ek is daarvan oortuig dat die agb Minister na volgende jaar se verkiesing beslis nie weer die Minister van Landbou en Grondsake sal wees nie. Dit is die beste vooruitsig vir die landbou in jare.
Die bonus hierop natuurlik is die feit dat die agb Adjunkminister polities in die niet sal verdwyn. Hoekom sê ek hierdie dinge?
Die rede is bloot, omdat Suid-Afrika nog nooit so 'n swak Minister en Adjunkminister vir die landbou gehad het nie. Die agb Minister het meer belangstel in haar ideologiese uitsprake as in die probleme van landbou. Daar is soveel mislukkings van die agb Minister dat ek ten minste 'n uur nodig sal hê om hulle te bespreek. Nou het ek net vyf minute.
Een van die grootste mislukkings van die Minister is haar onvermoë en onbevoegdheid in terme van grondhervorming. Sy het allerhande verskonings vir haar eie onbevoegdheid. Sy plaas al die blaam op die boere, terwyl sy self die oorsaak is van die probleme. Die Minister het verwys na die voedselkrisis en die hoë voedselpryse. Die regering is deel van die skep van hierdie probleem. Toe GraanSA die regering gewaarsku het om boere te beskerm teen lae invoerpryse van byvoorbeeld koring het die regering eenvoudig niks gedoen nie. Dit is met ander woorde die regering wat nagelaat het om op te tree; hulle is deel van die skep van die voedselkrisis.
Dit bring my by grondhervorming. Weens die onvermoë van die agb Minister wil die regering nou 'n nuwe onteieningswet instel, want dit sal dan nou kwansuis grondhervorming bespoedig: 'n onteieningswet wat ongrondwetlik is en selfs roerende goedere wil onteien. Hierdie wet gaan egter nie die probleem oplos nie. Hoekom sê ek dit?
Die Department van Grondsake erken in hulle strategiese plan vir 2008-11 dat hulle nie oor die nodige mannekrag en kapasiteit beskik vir grondhervorming nie. Volgens hierdie plan is daar slegs 800 amptenare wat die hele proses moet hanteer en hulle benodig nog 1590. Ek wil vir die Minister sê: dit help ook nie om net amptenare aan te stel en hulle is nie bevoeg om die werk te doen nie.
In die voorwoord erken die agb Minister in hierdie strategiese plan dat binnegevegte van bevoordeeldes, implementeringsvermoë en die gebrek aan beleidsinstrumente grondhervorming gestrem het. Hoekom fokus die agb Minister nie op hierdie probleme nie? Sy blameer eerder die boere en fokus op hulle en beskuldig hulle elke keer valslik. Die boere is nie die probleem nie. Die Minister is die probleem. Die nuwe onteieningswet is niks anders as die Mugabe-grondhervormingswet vir Suid-Afrika nie. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Daar is egter een groot verskil: Mugabe is ten minste eerlik met die mense en sê dat hy hulle grond gaan vat. Die regering van Suid-Afrika kom met 'n wet en dan sê hulle dit is grondwetlik om mense se grond te vat. Ons sê: Dit is totaal onaanvaarbaar. Dit gaan nie die probleme oplos nie. Die enigste manier hoe probleme in die landbou opgelos gaan word, is dat ons dankbaar is dat die agb Minister en die Adjunkminister nie weer die portefeulje van Landbou en Grondsake sal hanteer nie. Ek dank nie. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Ms B THOMSON
END OF TAKE
Mr P J GROENEWALD
Nk B THOMSON: Sihlalo, empeleni baba uSkhosana angazi ukuthi bakusuka ngaphi bekubiza ngoMama uSomlomo ngoba nekhanda liyabonakala nje ukuthi elikababa. [Uhleko.]
Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Minister, officials present, hon members …
… omama abakhona, obaba, nezivakashi zethu zonke, ngifuna ukusho ukuthi – yinto lena engifuna ihlale inkenteza ezindlebeni zawo onke amalungu ePhalamende – isisu esilambile asiwazi umthetho futhi senza umuntu abe nolaka ngoba kakade indlala ibanga ulaka. Izifo futhi ziyazenzela kumuntu olambile. Kufanele sihlale sikukhumbula. Konke esikubona kwenzeka emhlabeni kufanele sazi ukuthi umsuka wakho indlala. Abantu balambili.
The price of bread rose between 35 and 40 cents a loaf in January 2008 so that they could absorb raised wheat and fuel prices. The increases have put the average cost of a loaf of bread at between six rand and eight rand. The spokesperson for Tiger Brands Limited, Jimmy Manyi, said that the wheat price almost doubled the past twelve months from about R1700 per ton to R3100 per ton. The price increase followed soon after the companies that raised prices were fined for price collusion. This led to some analysts believing that the price increase could be a way of passing on the price-fixing fine to consumers …
… kusho ukuthi yilabo abasebenzisa ukudla okwasekufanele le nhlawulo ngokubona kwabahlaziyi kodwa nami ngingeyona ngikubuka kanjalo.
In addition there are several inconsistencies in the price of bread. Brown bread is VAT exempted whilst white bread is not. This should mean that the price of brown bread should not be more than the price of white bread when 14 percent is added to the price. However, the report by the National Agricultural Marketing Council indicates that there is little price difference between white and brown bread.
In February 2007, the Competition Commission initiated an investigation into price fixing and market division in the industry by Pioneer Foods, Premier Foods and Tiger Brands after it had received complaints from several independent distributors of bread in the Western Cape.
The four food giants account for more than 65 percent of the estimated seven million loaves of bread sold daily throughout the country. The investigation was extended nationally and the Competition Commission initiated a separate investigation into the milling industry. The producers were found guilty and were fined. This led to doubts whether the same price manipulation could have happened to wheat prices. There is a call for an investigation into the whole value chain.
According to the World Bank policy, interventions can be divided into three broad classes, namely, first, interventions to ensure household food security strengthening safety nets; second, interventions to lower domestic food prices throughout short-run trade policy measures or administrative action; and, third, interventions to enhance long-term food supply.
The first best option to address food insecurity includes targeted cash transfers to vulnerable groups. This supports the purchasing power of the poor without distorting domestic incentives to produce more food, and without reducing the income of poor food sellers. A number of countries such as India, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Cambodia are using targeted food-for-work programmes, while others including Afghanistan and Angola use emergency food aid distribution to ensure food security for vulnerable groups. Other countries such as Brazil, Kenya and Burkina Faso make use of school feeding programmes to improve the food intake of school-age children.
The first best option to lower domestic prices includes reducing tariffs and other taxes on key staples. Many countries impose tariffs on food imports, both to encourage domestic production and boost domestic revenue. In times of high increases in food prices, reduction in tariffs and taxes can provide some relief to consumers.
Several countries have a history of using bread or grain subsidies specifically targeted to the poor to cope with household food insecurity. Others have introduced consumer subsidies for staples following the recent rise in food prices. For example, the government of Yemen is supplying wheat in selected markets following a sharp rise in food prices.
However, the policy options mentioned above have significant fiscal implications. The macroeconomic consequences of higher spending depend largely on how they will be financed. Where additional budgetary costs are financed via higher domestic borrowing, this may lead to higher overall inflation. An alternative is to transfer costs to non-poor taxpayers, which may or may not be feasible depending on country-specific revenue-raising capacities and political economy considerations. Given the potentially important economic and political costs of not addressing food crises, a temporary increase in the budget deficit may be warranted.
Following the spread of protest about rising food prices around the country, government appointed a team of Cabinet Ministers responsible for economic and social issues to develop a strategy to deal with rising food prices and report back to the Cabinet as a matter of urgency.
In addition to some of the initiatives taken after the 2002 food crises, which included an increase in social grants and school feeding schemes, government should consider the following action to address the rapid increase in food prices and thus lower the impact on the poor. Effective policies to end the disproportionate rise in the food prices must address the underlying causes. Causes include speculative profiteering influenced by oligopoly. The government has to discourage ownership of agricultural production by few through encouraging agricultural co-operatives.
Sikhuluma ngalezi zikhondlakhondla ebese ngike ngazibala ekuqaleni ezifana no-Tiger Brand, njll.
Short-term interventions should involve low-cost supply of staple foods combined with target income transfers and food subsidies …
Okunye engifuna ukukusho ukuthi uma kunevoti lesabiwomali, Ngqongqoshe, kube nezinto ezikhonjiswayo laphaya emnyango. Isib. eMnyangweni Wezolimo Nezomhlaba sizobona kubekwe amawolintshi, amahhabhula, njll. Uma ubuza kulabo abawabekayo ukuthi ngabe lama hhabhula amahle kangaka aphumaphi? Uzothola ukuthi awatshaliwe lapha sifuna atshalwe khona. Thina sifuna kubekwe lapha izinto esizothi uma sizibuza ukuthi lezi zinto ezinhle kanjena ziphumaphi bese besikhombisa labo mama laba abahlezi lapha. [Ihlombe.] Bangasitsheli ukuthi kuphuma emapulazini abelungu amakhulu athengisayo.
We should also encourage gardening in both rural and urban areas so that households can start producing their own food for consumption. We should also improve investment in agricultural infrastructure and the government should ensure that the benefits of VAT zero-rating is transferred to consumers.
Mhlawumbe sengigcina nje, bengithanda ukusho kubaba u-Groenewald ukuthi kufanele akwazi ukuthi abantu bethu balambe kangaka nje namhlanje yingoba izindawo zethu zathathwa abafowenu nodadewenu. Ngiyabonga.
Mr A H NEL
END OF TAKE
Ms B THOMSON
Mnr A H NEL: Voorsitter, die belangrikheid van grondhervorming kan nie genoeg beklemtoon word nie. Dit moet egter geskied op 'n produktiewe en volhoubare basis. Daar is ook geen twyfel dat grondhervorming, volgens ons Grondwet, 'n verpligting van die staat is nie. Hierdie verpligting mag nie op 'n klein klompie grondeienaars afgeskuif word nie. Dit sou onbillik en onregverdig wees in 'n oop demokratiese samelewing wat gebaseer is op menswaardigheid, gelykheid, vryheid, en die oppergesag van die reg. Miskien herken die Minister die woorde van ons Grondwet.
Die vraag is egter of ons slaag met grondhervorming soos bestuur deur die Minister en haar voorgangers. As 'n mens dan kyk wat kundiges en navorsers hieroor sê, is die uitspraak feitlik eenparig. Nee, dit slaag nie en nie een van die mense of instansies wat so sê, is negatief oor grondhervorming nie.
Die Centre for Development and Enterprise se navorsingstuk oor grondhervorming is 'n uitstekende poging om knelpunte uit te wys en baie sinvolle voorstelle te maak. Tog word dit baie negatief deur die Minister en die waarnemende Kommissaris van Restitusie behandel. Nou wonder 'n mens hoekom? Is dit omdat dit 'n sogenaamde wit liberale navorsingsorganisasie is en nog boonop 'n vinger op al die seerplekke lê? Oor een ding is die departement se kommentaar reg: die kritiek is nie nuut nie. Selfs die ANC-lede van die portefeuljekomitee het presies dieselfde kritiek geopper; vandag en gister.
Kom ons kyk wat sê die Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies se Ben Cousins. Dit is darem seker 'n organisasie wie se bona fides die Minister aanvaar. Hy sê, en ek haal aan:
The CDE report's assessment of the high failure rate in land reform projects to date and their negative impact on agricultural production are largely correct.
Die Direkteur-Generaal van Grondsake, Thozi Gwanya, sê self 50% van alle grondhervormings en restitusieprojekte het misluk. Die rede is dat daar nie genoeg nasorg aan die boere gegee is nie. Wie se skuld is dit en hoeveel belastingbetalers se geld is gemors? Hoeveel arm en onskuldige mense is daardeur benadeel? Die Minister sê dis die boere se skuld; ANC-komiteelede sê dis die amptenare se skuld. In die sakewêreld, as 'n besigheid bankrot speel, lê die verantwoordelikheid by die hoofbestuur. Minister, dit is u.
Die Centre for Development and Enterprise stel 'n vennootskap tussen senior leiers in die regering en die privaatsektor voor om probleme uit te stryk en grondhervorming volhoubaar te bestuur. Die direkteur-generaal sê, en ek haal aan:
Strategic partners will also contribute skills and expertise that is currently lacking in the department.
Vir presies dieselfde voorstel is die Centre for Development and Enterprise verkeerd en die direkteur-generaal reg, volgens die Minister. Dan is prof Johann Kirsten mos reg as hy sê dat die boere sat is vir die onsinnige, roekelose, en soms direk teenoorgestelde uitsprake van die Minister en haar adjunk.
But, it is typical of the Mbeki era: if you don't like the facts you go into denial. It is never your fault; scapegoats must and can be found. This year's problems and nondelivery become next year's challenges. I cannot put it better than Ruth Hall of the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies. She said the biggest problem in the Department of Land Affairs is, and I quote:
This year's land budget shows a continuation of the chronic mismatch between the ambitious goals of land reform and the funds and institutional capacity devoted to it.
It is almost a crime against rural poor people to raise expectations knowing very well that you don't have the funds or the capacity to fulfil those promises, and the Minister does it year after year.
It was the food crisis that compelled Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel to acknowledge that the government has spent too little on agriculture in the past 14 years, while it was the Minister and her predecessors who should have warned against this underspending long ago. But, perhaps your comrade, Minister, Mr Tito Mboweni, Governor of the Reserve Bank, was right when he said that it seemed to him that the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs thought that food came from the shelves of supermarkets.
It is not a crime to know nothing about a subject. If, however, you are the Minister or the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and through your utterances and your conduct you show to the world that you don't understand the basics of agriculture you must expect opinions like that of Mr Mboweni. There are a lot of us, also amongst your colleagues, who agree with him.
If the failure rate of land reform projects is not lowered significantly, and if failed projects are not vigorously rehabilitated, food security will come under a lot of strain. Let me warn the Minister that if food security is compromised, the result will dwarf the Eskom debacle. In the end … [Interjections.]
I know a little more than you do, Bloem!
In the end, Minister, the buck stops with you, and you and your Deputy have a choice: deliver or take the honourable way out and leave. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon Bloem! [Interjections.] Hon members, when you are finished speaking then we will continue with the debate.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS
END OF TAKE
Mr A H NEL
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Chairperson, at this stage, let me just say that I have listened to what was said. As I have previously done, as soon as the Hansard is available on this debate, I will have it sent through to the departments for their management to study. I would also like to thank those speakers who have shown insight, while others didn't. I think we are bound in duty to wish hon Dr Kraai van Niekerk all of the best. Do take this last message with you. There was an incident in history known as "Custer's last stand". This was Dr Kraai's last stand. [Interjections.]
What is the message that we must take from her great speech and the direction which the Minister has shown us? The best way in which I could put it is: "Where will I measure the positive side of this debate?" I think the most positive way in which we should interpret this is that what the Minister has been trying to do has been to "galvanise" the two departments. Actually, this word "galvanise" means "to send an electric current through an object", and that is what the Minister has been doing. [Interjections.] I am trying to take a positive stand on this. "Galvanising" was actually used by Churchill because he warned against fascism and that armament must be abolished. That is where that word comes from.
When certain parts of a department are very slow, or perhaps not acting in a constructive way, then the Minister must intervene. I can tell you that this Minister did that, and we have a new
director-general in Land Affairs who is extremely active and is producing as well. We have an acting director-general in the Department of Agriculture.
I am seriously committed to the fact that we are addressing all of these problems and we will continue to address them. The Minister asked me to mention the legislation that will be put to the portfolio committee. I think it is well listed. The Agricultural Debt Management Bill will be dealt with by Parliament; it has been passed by the policy unit and the state drafters. The Liquor Products Act is available to Parliament. We started on the Land Use Management Bill last Friday and I am informed that it has been certified.
Let me just take this away. These machines at Parliament ... we need tractors.
A very important Act has been passed by the Cabinet Committee this morning and it will be before the Cabinet by next Wednesday. This Act is called the Provision of Land and Assistance Act. It is actually an Act which originated in 1993. It is a product which originally comes from Kempton Park. It was amended in, I think, 1998 and it is suitable for many purposes for land reform and agricultural support.
A new amendment to make this operative in all aspects will be submitted to Parliament as soon as the Cabinet has passed it. I think that is an important law but we will still need the best advice of Parliament.
My second point is: We should send a message as the broad South African government, the executive, the legislature, the Parliament of South Africa - the independent courts, of course, are doing their own thing - but we should send a message that all these combined constitutional powers of South Africa are deeply concerned with the people in their need with regard to food prices, which is a worldwide problem.
We should address this problem, and I have listened carefully to some of the very good contributions we have had up to this stage. On this issue we should stand united and work together to assist each other as one South Africa to get the people through this crisis.
I would appreciate it if even Mr Groenewald, who doesn't know much about Constitution, supported us, as one nation. [Interjections.] I believe in this reality that we should, as one nation, send out the message: let's produce. Let's bring the price of food down. Let's get the wheat down.
The Minister has often addressed the problem in the eastern parts that bigger production must be done there. I think it can be done but we need everyone's co-operation. This has been addressed by the members here, but the most important thing is to bring this to practical implementation.
For this purpose, I have listened beyond the superficial type of grandstanding that we have to what is really there. I think that the unity of South Africa, even with these food prices, is there. We must just work on it together, stand together and bring it to practical implementation. For that we need the support of everyone.
We have here some senior officials, who know this. They are committed. If anyone is not committed, we must say "no" - like this Minister did - and get the wheels running, get the tractors on the lands and get the wheat and maize growing. We are expecting a good maize crop.
I think South Africa can be proud thus far. The support for agriculture in general must increase – this has indeed been argued for many years. Everyone agrees with it. It has indeed been increased in this present Budget, in order to get more agricultural extension out in practice, as the Minister has said in terms of the green book. I don't believe that you really mean what you say when you say you are against this. This is our country, and we will grow food together. We will get land and distribute it evenly. [Interjections.] I can assure you that we will not be bothered by small grandstanding. We will continue on this road. We will do it and we have done it. Great advancements have been made. We believe in this as a course and we will continue to believe in it. I know that you and everyone here, even the little opposition that we have, also believe in this in their hearts. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N W NGCOBO
END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS
Mr N W NGCOBO: Chairperson, thank you for affording me this opportunity. On 26 June 1955, when our people adopted the Freedom Charter at the historical Congress of the People, they said among other things, and I quote:
The land shall be shared amongst those who work it!
Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger.
The state shall help the peasants with implements, seeds, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers.
Freedom of movement shall be guaranteed to all who work on the land.
All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose.
People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished.
Yingakho-ke ngenxa yalokho njengezisebenzi zomphakathi sihlaba ikhwela ngokwanele ukuthi azibuye emasisweni. Azibuye emasisweni ngempela ngenxa yokuba enethunga ingesengele phansi - okukaKhesari kuKhesari. Udaba lokubuyiselwa komhlaba kubanikazi bawo udaba oluletha olukhulu usizi nobuhlungu uma kubhekakala ukuthi sesize safika ehlandleni lesithathu likahulumeni wentando yeningi, kodwa kusenabantu abahleli emihlabeni yokwebiwa. Yingakho-ke thina njengezisebenzi zomphakathi ngapha singephumule ukufaka umkhono nesiphanga ukwenza kwenzeke ukuthi imithetho eshayiwe lapha uhulumeni yokubuyiselwa komhlaba kubanikazi bayo kwenzeke.
Ukwenza kwenzeke kuchaza ukuthi yonke imithetho eshaywe uhulumeni kufanele ilandelwe yilabo abafanele basuke bayokwenza kwenzeke emphakathini ukuthi ngempela imihlaba iyabuyela kubanikazi bayo. Okunye okwengezelela ubuhlungu kulobu buhlungu esibuzwayo ukuthi nalabo abanye abangakabuyiselwa imihlaba baqonelwa yilabo ababeyithathile. Kuze kube manje abantu abanazo izindawo zokungcwaba abathandiweyo babo emhlabeni wawoyisemkhulu nasemhlabeni wokhokho babo.
Abanayo indawo yokulima njengoba intengo yokudla ikhuphuke kangaka. Banomhlaba abawubuka ngaphesheya abangenakuwusebenzisa ngoba wathathwa ngobuqili. Nalowo mhlaba omncane osubuyiselwe ezandleni zabantu bakithi abahluphekayo kunenkinga yokuthi amabhange, njengoba abanye sebeshilo, awabaniki izimali ezanele zokuthi bakwazi ukuxosha ikati eziko. Babulawa umphangazana nawo lo mhlaba noma usubuyiselwe kubona. Siyabanxusa abamabhange ukuthi babasize abantu bakithi uma sebewutholile umhlaba wabo ukuthi babasize ngezimali ukuze bakwazi ukuxosha ikati eziko.
Kunezinkinga-ke eziningi ezinjengalezi ezinye ezilandelayo: Uma sebewutholile umhlaba, uma bethi baya emabhange kuthiwa kufanele baphinde baveze lokhu okuthiwa izibambiso lezi abantu bakithi abangenazo; kuthiwe futhi abalethe amabhuku okulondoloza izimali bese kutholakala ukuthi abanye abanawo; kuphinde kuthiwe abalethe uhlelo lomsebenzi okuyinto enzima ukuthi abantu bakithi bayiveze ngenxa ye-Bantu Education. Nokunye okwenza kube nzima kakhulu, mhlonishwa Ngqongqoshe, kuye kube ukuthi noma sesiphumile saya ngaphandle kubantu sithi siyobatakula engxakini ababhekene nayo, uthola ukuthi sifike sisebenzise ulimi okuyelo kubantu okungeyibo.
Nakuba ulimi olujwayelekile kuyilolo-ke olusetshenziswayo, kodwa makubhekeleke ukuthi abantu abasuke bekuleyo ndawo ngabe limi luni okungathi uma kukhiqizwa izincwadi ezithile ezizobasiza ziqhanyukiswe ngolimi lolo abangakwazi ukuthi baluqonde ukuze bakwazi ukusizakala, bese bekwazi ukwenza lezo zinto ezisuke zidingwa amabhange neminye iMinyango esuke ikudinga. Okunye okuyinkinga ukuthi umhlaba utholwa abantu bakithi ngamaqoqo nokwenza ukuthi uma sebethanda ukulima noma bawusebenze ngendlela ezobasiza, kutholakale ukuthi behlukene ngemibono, abanye bakujahile ukusebenzisa umhlaba kanti abanye banezinye izinto abazijahile bese kutholakala ukuthi uMnyango awusakwazi ukusondela uzobasiza.
Laphayana nje KwaZulu-Natali kunemihlaba endaweni yaseMzumbe lapho kunezicelo zokubuyiselwa umhlaba ezihleli abantu bakhona abangaqondi ukuthi kwenzakalani kuzona. Amanye kwamaningi alaphaya endaweni yase-Flanklan. Uma ugudla usuka ngaseMzinto uya lena ngaseMthavuna, uthola ukuthi nakhona kunamapulaza anjengoMpenjati akade afakelwa izicelo kodwa akusaqhumuki muntu ukuze kuzwakale ukuthi kwenzakalani. Leyo nto-ke efana naleyo kufanele ukuthi ilandelwe uMnyango. Kunemithetho-ke eminingi enjengo-Extension of Security of Tenure Act neminye okufanele ukuthi isetshenziswe ukuze kubuyiswe umhlaba kuthi nalabo abangafuni nayo bawubuyisele kubanikazi bawo ngoba akuwona owabo. OkukaKhesari kuKhesari. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
Mr M V NGEMA
END OF TAKE
Mr N W NGCOBO
Mr M V NGEMA: Chairperson, since I came to this Parliament in 2002, in all the Budget Vote debates for this department, I have been advocating for adequate budgets to be provided. For all these years, I have voted for the budget. Today, Madam Minister, I am going to do what the ANC in its position is not able to do for itself – voting against this budget, for the following reasons. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon members, order, please!
Mr M V NGEMA: In the Department of Agriculture, members have spoken about the Maputo Declaration, although I would wish to correct my colleague the hon Mr Bici: the declaration does not say that governments must allocate "about 10%"; it says that they will allocate "at least 10%". To date, our Department of Agriculture has allocated 0,41%, which is a shame.
Our government should have committed itself to this declaration - at least our people need an explanation as to why the government has reneged on this commitment.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, you have one minute left.
Mr M V NGEMA: The main reason we will not vote for this budget is the fact that it a mismatch between the ambitious goals of land reform and the funds and institutional capacity devoted to it. Therefore, the budget will not be able to meet the targets for land delivery and agrarian reform. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P H K DITSHETELO
END OF TAKE
Mr M V NGEMA
Mr P H K DITSHETELO: Chairperson, we debate the Agriculture and Land Affairs Budget Votes under very difficult circumstances. Knowing that agriculture is the backbone of the economy, very little is being done to encourage our farmers to remain on the land and produce enough food security for our own needs and also to take advantage of exports to foreign markets.
It is difficult to accept the fact that only 6,3% of the R2,367 billion allocation to the department in the 2006-07 financial year was spent, ostensible reasons being the outstanding claims in respect of the campaign to combat classical swine fever. It is further argued that this underspending is attributed to vacancies and transfer payment to the Independent Development Trust not being made timely.
How do we explain the expenditure of 72,4% at the end of the third quarter of 2007-08 of the adjusted appropriation of R3,47 billion? Can we honestly boast that it is an improvement? "Legoka." [Not at all.] The budget allocation to the department over the period is not in line with government's priority to speed up land and agrarian reform. Budget allocations to the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme are increasing gradually and are not in line with the sharp increase in the budget. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, you have one minute remaining.
Mr P H K DITSHETELO: How is it expected of the Department of Land Affairs to meet the target date of redistribution of 30% of white-owned agricultural land by the year 2014 when it is clearly stated that the budget is inadequate? Furthermore, the Department of Land Affairs has made it quite clear that the amount needed to achieve 3,2 million hectares per annum will be in the order of R15 billion per financial year.
It is most regrettable to note that in dealing with farm evictions and other violations ... [Time expired.]
Mr S ABRAM
END OF TAKE
Mr P H K DITSHETELO
Mr S ABRAM: Chairperson, I am grateful to hon Mama Lydia for having passed on a few minutes of her time, and I am equally grateful to the former chairperson of this committee who has informed me that I may have that time, because it is one thing to grant and another to receive. Thank you very much.
The ANC, at our Polokwane conference, passed numerous resolutions with regard to land issues. Amongst them, I quote:
… ensure that land remains predominately in the hands of South Africans residents. To this end, the management and control of state land must be consolidated under one roof.
We had an inquiry into foreign land ownership. This inquiry brought out numerous recommendations. But whilst the inquiry was still taking place, a parastatal decided that it was going to sell the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - to my mind, one of the most valuable pieces of real property on the entire African coastline, not only the Southern African but the entire African coastline.
What happened is that we sold it for, to my mind, a paltry for R7 billion. In today's terms, a small development, a golf estate costs about R2 billion. So, giving that away for R7 billion, you will never get it back again. It belongs to English, Arab and a couple of South African guys - not too many, they have a minority interest.
The other problem with this type of thing is that you can go there today and you will find that they have developed that place, which we could have done. We could have formed a company and distributed 14 million shares to our people. Even our pensioners could have got a thousand shares each at a rand per pop. [Interjections.]
Furthermore, what is happening today is that the rent of many of those shopkeepers' businesses is being doubled. I understand that Manenberg's Jazz Café, a landmark, is about to shut shop or has already done so because the new owners now want more rental.
I want to quote what my good old friend Dr Pheko normally says: Ilizwe lelethu, uhulumende ngowenu, ilizwe lelethu! That is the situation into which we are driving ourselves, because we are not controlling the family silver; that which belongs to the nation we allow to go to the hands of foreigners.
The hon Minister has enlarged on the Land and Agrarian Reform Project document and therefore I will not go into what she has already said.
Dit is 'n konsepplan, en ek herinner die opstellers daarvan dat 'n plan soos donderweer moet wees. Dit moet dig wees, anders reën dit nie.
The annexure to the plan lists numerous possible interventions. It also lists 78 forms of activities and interventions designed to achieve them.
Die probleem is nie soseer die prioriteite en die tientalle voorgenome aktiwiteite nie, maar die vrees dat dit verwagtinge skep en in sekere gevalle nie haalbaar is nie, en derhalwe wantroue en skeptisisme onder die breë burgery skep.
Byvoorbeeld, is dit haalbaar om 10 000 plaasbewoners en nuwe boere te vestig in die huidige en volgende boekjare? Ons sal 'n gemiddeld van 13,69 nuwe boere per dag moet vestig oor 730 dae, waarvan 51 dae in die huidige boekjaar alreeds verby is, om dié mikpunt te haal. Die begroting van die Departement van Landbou vir die huidige boekjaar is maar 'n skamele R2,5 biljoen. Dit is R938 miljoen minder as die vorige boekjaar.
Afrika se staatshoofde het tydens die Maputo Deklarasie hul regerings verbind om 10% van hul nasionale begrotings te wy aan lanbou. Ons landbou begroting is slegs 0,41% van ons nasionale begroting en dit is 'n groot bron van kommer, aangesien lanbou 'n krities belangrike rol speel in die oorlog teen armoede, veral in landelike gebiede, en die begroting behoort dit te weerspieël. Die begroting maak geensins voorsiening vir die uitvoering van LARP- doelwitte nie; dit is dus slegs 'n wenslys. Die begroting vir die volgende twee jaar staan op R2,6 biljoen en R2,75 biljoen.
Alhoewel die begroting verminder het, het die vergoedingspakket in die huidige begroting geskuif van R480 miljoen tot R585 miljoen - in reële terme is dit 'n verhoging van 13,9%. Op bladsy 32 van die konsepdokument erken die Department van Grondsake as volg:
Given budgetary allocations for 2007-08 and 2008-09 and current land prices, these targets are not achievable.
I am glad that they are being honest and telling us what they believe can happen or cannot. The budget, therefore, is not aligned to LarP objectives. The objectives are noble, but we need money, capacity and dedicated officials who will drive this process.
There is a bigger challenge confronting us, and that is that many projects have failed. The Department of Land Affairs commissioned the Community Agency for Social Enquiry in 2005 to assess their status quo. They addressed 179 settled land restitution projects spread across nine provinces. They found that 83%, 128 of those projects with an agricultural development thrust, did not achieve their developmental goals. Various causes were cited as reasons for failure.
In Limpopo alone, over 70 settlement land acquisition grant projects have collapsed. I am informed that the hon MEC for Agriculture in Limpopo is currently seriously addressing this, and I want to congratulate her. [Applause.]
The department must audit all the collapsed projects, profiling each one of them, providing estimates for the amounts that would be required to resuscitate them. And I fear that that will be running into billions.
We believe that this is an urgent priority. We cannot allow such land to remain unproductive in the face of the human crisis it has unleashed on that land. Those beneficiaries are in a sorry state of affairs. If you are human, you will not help but cry if you would go out and meet these people. And, of course, the growing food crisis!
At Limburg in Limpopo, there is a restitution project for 724 beneficiaries on 25 000 hectares. In this area 500 hectares of citrus produces half a million boxes for export. They are running 2 000 breeding cows, and a feed lot is to be developed. I understand the EU has granted R6 million for the construction of a factory to manufacture 36 000 tons of animal feed per annum from citrus by-products. The success of this project is attributed to sound management by an agricultural management company.
The national Department of Agriculture, under the leadership of the deputy-director-general, Mrs Vangi Titi, has been working closely with stakeholders, including the Milk Producers' Organisation of South Africa. Seven task teams have been formed to look at various aspects of the dairy industry – wholesome proteinrich products! [Interjections.] They will report back to a joint meeting in July. We wish them well, trusting that their deliberations will lead to deliverables.
The difficulties and problems confronting some small producers in the former Qwaqwa have been partially overcome as a result of the involvement of the Milk Producers' Organisation and Nestlé, who provided them with a mentor, a former dairy farmer. One of them started supplying milk to Nestlé in 2004. Nestlé installed a generator and a cooler milk tank, and in 2005 Nestlé installed infrastructure to convey water from a borehole drilled by the Free State Department of Agriculture.
While Eskom lines run past the farm, the farmer was unable to fork out R223 000 demanded by Eskom to provide a connection; hence the assistance by Nestlé came in very handy. If he had access to electricity, his successes would have multiplied. This problem confronts all the other emergent and developmental dairy farmers. The department must facilitate assistance if we are to make a success of them. The Milk Producers' Organisation is currently mentoring 21 projects funded in terms of the master mentor project which is funded by the state.
These dairy farmers must be assisted with resources such as more dairy cows to make a meaningful contribution to food security. A minimum of 120 milk cows will make a project viable.
Ek doen 'n beroep op die 3 600 melkboere dat elk van hulle dit oorweeg om 'n dragtige suiwelrasvers beskikbaar te stel aan die MPO as skenking aan 'n beginner-, ontwikkelende melkboer, met die voorbehoud dat 'n dragtige vroulike nageslag weer aan die MPO terugbesorg sal word om weer aan 'n ander opkomende boer geskenk te word.
Die HUISVOORSITTER (mnr G Q M Doidge): Mnr Abram, u het twee minute oor.
Mnr S ABRAM: Baie dankie. Sodoende maak u nie net 'n bydra ter bevordering van nuwe melkboere en voedselsekerheid nie, maar punte moet ook aan u toegeken word op u swart ekonomiese bemagtiging telkaart.
Nestlé het 'n span jongmense onder die leiding van Theo Mxakwe wat hulle agri- swart ekonomiese bemagtigingsmandaat dryf om uitstekende diens te verleen, nie net aan ontwikkelende melkboere nie, maar selfs op ander terreine. Grondhervorming en landbouontwikkeling is almal se verantwoordelikheid en dit sal beskore wees vir die ganse landbousektor om betrokke te raak, nes Nestlé en talle ander lanboubedrywe, sodat ook hulle hul kant kan bring.
As netto invoerders van suiwelprodukte bied dit nuwe toetreders groot geleenthede om die gety te draai: toegang tot kapitaal, baie belangrik; mentorskap; staatshulp, nog belangriker; en groter betrokkenheid kan meebring dat ons binnelandse verbruik kan bevorder en selfs na buurlande kan uitvoer. Entrepreneurskap en werkskepping sal ook daarby baat.
Baie dankie, Voorsitter. Het ek nog tyd?
Die HUISVOORSITTER (mnr G Q M Doidge): Een minuut oor.
Mnr S ABRAM: Voorsitter, ons het byvoorbeeld dienste wat die provinsies verskaf. Daar was byvoorbeeld die uitbreek van miltsiekte aan die Lesotho-grens van die Oos-Kaap en ook die Vrystaat. Die Vrystaatse Departement van Veaartsenydienste, onder leiding van dr Mojapelo en sy span, het hul uiterste gedoen om die diere langs daardie grens in te ent en sodoende te verhoed dat die siekte verder versprei.
Ek sê dankie aan elke amptenaar, elke landbouer, elke persoon wat help om hierdie tipe voedselsekuriteit op ons tafels te plaas. Ek sê dankie aan almal van julle. Mag die Here julle hande seën vir die harde werk wat julle doen. Baie dankie. [Applous.]
Dr S E M PHEKO
END OF TAKE
Mr S ABRAM
Dr S E M PHEKO: Chairperson, because of time I will talk only about the mother - the land issue - and not the daughter – agriculture. [Laughter.]
The Budget Vote on Land and Agriculture is the most important to the majority poor and landless of our country. The PAC supports this budget, but we repeat that there will never be enough money to buy back our own land, even after all present land claims have been met. The land question will not go away. Recently, a daily newspaper editorial said, and I quote:
If South Africans get only one more thing right in the task of undoing apartheid, it has to be land reform.
The present land policy, however, has failed because its architects have ignored the history of colonial land dispossession. The trophy over which wars of national resistance against colonialism were fought was land and control of its riches.
Land is economy. All over the world land is a critically sensitive issue because there is a connection between land and economic power. Land is life. Food, water, homes, farms, mineral wealth and all raw materials from which to make all kinds of goods and develop our nuclear technology for peaceful technological advancement, come from the land.
We must work for a politically stable country. But if we do not come up with a more realistic and just land policy, this country will not escape a bomb explosion caused by the continued land dispossession. To think that land can be equitably distributed from the crumbs of the Native Land Act of 1913 and the Native Trust Land Act of 1936, now consolidated in section 25(7) of the Constitution, is a dangerous political miscalculation and illusion.
The cut-off date of 31 December 1998 of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994, has further robbed the landless majority of our country of the right to claim even the crumbs of 1913. Meanwhile land is being sold to foreigners while its rightful owners do not even have a decent place for a home. [Applause.] In fact, Housing has run out of land to build homes. So, no land, no houses, because houses are not built in the sky or in the air but are based on the land.
We must go back to the drawing board on the land question before it is too late.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, you have one minute left.
Dr S E M PHEKO: We cannot realistically speak of pushing back the frontiers of poverty without pushing back the frontiers of landlessness and unequal ownership of land. [Applause.]
Our country now has the widest gap between the rich and the poor. The founders of the liberation movements in our country identified land as the primary contradiction of the liberation struggle.
On 20 July 1914 the African people of this country sent a petition to King George V, the coloniser of their country. Their petition in part said that the natives – the Africans - must be put in possession of land in proportion to their numbers and on the same conditions as the other people. There is no way that we can have the majority with less land and the minority with more land and resources, and expect that this country will be forever stable.
Sifuna ukulima kodwa asinamhlaba. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M T LIKOTSI
END OF TAKE
Dr S E M PHEKO
Mr M T LIKOTSI: Chairperson, we are now faced with a complex situation where two unique departments are fused under one Ministry but with two distinct Budget Votes, that is Budget Vote 23 for Agriculture and Budget Vote 27 for Land Affairs.
The APC makes a firm submission that these two departments should be separated and each have its own competent Minister. These departments are the heartbeat of any government globally and their importance cannot be overemphasized.
We acknowledge all programmes launched by the department since 2004, influding Mafisa, the Micro Agricultural Finance Initiative of South Africa, but we are a little scared that the Free State, as the agricultural hub of the country, was not included in the pilot project - maybe because I come from there. We are thrilled that the programme will be rolled out to all other provinces soon, although there are no clear-cut timeframes in this regard.
Hon Minister, the Department of Agriculture is letting us down. We have a shortage of food in our country and are dependent on importing food from other countries. We import rice, wheat and poultry from abroad. We even import toothpicks into our country. How is this matter going to end when there is no or little support for our farmers? When is this department going to audit productive farms that are unused by their owners, that are capable of producing many tons of food and livestock for us as an antidote to the ever-increasing need for food supplies?
The agriculture sector is faced with scary problems as far as some of its resource institutions are concerned. Firstly, there is the SA Wine Industries Trust issue of non-accountability. When will the enquiry into this matter be concluded and released publicly?
Land Bank loans are given to board members and friends whilst the small-scale farmers and commercial farmers are struggling. When will the forensic audit on the Land Bank be made public?
Last but not least is the issue of the high vacancy rate in this division.
Hon Minister, our land is not for sale. Godfrey Dunkley, in his paper presented at the 19th International Conference of the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade held on 21-27 March 1991 and titled "Land Tenure: A Time Bomb in South Africa", stated:
Many parts of South Africa are on the razor's edge between peace and spontaneous violence. The struggle for access to land, land tenure and landownership have formed the fulcrum of the power game ever since the first settlers arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 when the Dutch East India Company asserted its rights to the land.
Take the whole of the coastal land, from the North Coast to the South Coast, even further including the Waterfront here in Cape Town: our land is in the hands of the few whites in the country. The gold estates, holiday resorts and game reserves all over are owned by these few whites, even foreigners. Africans who make their livelihoods through fishery are further deprived of doing so through strict fishing rights.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, you have one minute left.
Mr M T LIKOTSI: A nation without land access is not a nation at all.
The Restitution of Land Rights Act of 1995 and all other land reform Acts, to Act 48 of 2003, have done nothing or little to return arable land to us rightful and indigenous Africans. The government must agree to have miscalculated the cut-off date of 19 June 1913 for the restitution of land rights. Many Africans were, and are still, deprived of a chance to claim their land.
As long as the issue of land restitution is not settled fairly in our country, there shall be no lasting harmony. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN
END OF TAKE
Mr M T LIKOTSI
Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, hon Minister and members, the legislation on agricultural co-operatives is very good. It is the application thereof which is a problem.
Many rural small farmers want to form co-operatives, but they lack the expertise. Our government must develop turnkey solutions for emerging co-operatives, from the process of registration to the application for state funding from the Land Bank, until the first two or three harvests have been successfully completed. Emerging co-operatives often fall apart because of lack of managerial skills, and the inability to resolve conflict. Co-operatives can succeed if the department gives much more attention to mentorship of new farmers.
The FD wishes the new Land Bank board every success in its turnaround strategy, having found a bank, as its chairman said, "in a state of dereliction with poor and worrying morale, and submerged in bad publicity". The Land Bank, with all its noble objectives, has never really managed to make a meaningful contribution to our country's land and agricultural reforms. It has a history of controversy, political baggage and maladministration. What we need is an institution with capacity to lead our reforms that generate competencies to supply our national needs, and maintain a competitive edge on world markets.
We need innovative policies to stabilise and sustain our food supply ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, you have one minute left.
Mr L M GREEN: ... as well as to utilise land that is justly and legally redistributed, which is aimed at the purpose of farming to produce food for all our people. We do not have the luxury to succumb to the dictates of world markets to determine our economic policies. The richer countries have excess sustainable resources that allow them to divert crops to experiment in the biofuel industry, which impacts negatively on food production and, consequently, leads to scarcity and the rise in food prices.
Inasmuch as there is a need for new forms of energy resources, biofuel processing is not a viable solution, neither when it comes to increased energy output nor when it proves to be a risk to food security. It is the role of government, especially in the developing world, to stand up against these policies, since they impact adversely on our social security.
This government must do exceedingly more to help the emergent farmers. We must deal with our current food crisis. It is not in the best interests of our country to barely help the poor, when even those in the more affordable brackets struggle to make ends meet because of escalating food prices. I thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr A J BOTHA
END OF TAKE
Mr L M GREEN
Mr A J BOTHA: Voorsitter, agb Minister, en al die vriende wat ek oor 40 jaar se boerdery en nege jaar in die Parlement gemaak het, Grondsake se belangrikste plig - om die eienaarskap in Suid-Afrika aan te spreek - staan op twee bene, naamlik restitusie en swart ekonomiese bemagtiging.
Die departement verdien 'n mate van lof, omdat die alombelangrike restitusie van eiendomsregte, wat in die verlede onregmatig onteien is, grootliks afgehandel is - alhoewel die afhandelingsteiken van 2008 nou na 2011 of 2012 verskuif is. Met 'n beter ingesteldheid van die departement kon die teiken selfs behaal word, as die bystand van hulpvaardige kundiges benut is, maar 'n beterweterige burokrasie het weer eens geseëvier.
Vrystaat Landbou bied byvoorbeeld aan om Grondsake in Bloemfontein te help met die afhandeling van uitstaande grondeise, maar verstommend word hul aanbod afgewys asof hierdie inligting staatsveiligheid sou bedreig. Op net so 'n wyse vertroebel geheimhouding die waters dwarsdeur die land terwyl openheid die lug sou suiwer om sake vinniger af te handel, maar dan sou die ANC nie kon voorhou dat kommersiële grondeienaars op grootskaal dwarstrek nie.
Die begroting se tweede been is swart ekonomiese bemagtiging. Om 'n verwronge grondbesit aan te spreek, stel ook ten doel om armoede te verlig. Hoewel dit edel bedoel is, is dit belangrik om sekere fantasieë wat voorgehou word met die werklikheid te temper. Al sou die huidige begroting verdriedubbel word na R15 biljoen per jaar, soos deur die departement versoek, sal daar uiteindelik slegs 40 000 nuwe boere bykom in die plek van sommige kommersiële boere wat in die proses vervang word. Nodig soos hierdie program is, is dit allermins 'n beduidende bydrae om armoede te verlig.
Afgesien van die massiewe geldelike tekort in die begroting, wat die vraag laat ontstaan waar die vergrote toelaes vandaan gaan kom, ontbreek die allerbelangrikste sleutel tot sukses van Agri-SEB, naamlik die aanbod van bestaande kommersiële boere om kundigheid oor te dra. Dit word bykans geheel en al vermy.
Dit is dus te verstane dat SEB sover klaaglik misluk het. Selfs met die beste bedoelings plus sinvolle optrede sou dit steeds 'n reusetaak wees. In plaas daarvan om skouer aan die wiel te sit, werp die Minister en haar kaderbinnekring rookskerm na rookskerm op met name soos "Asgisa", "Mafisa", "LARP", "BARP" en "SISS" - al wat ons nog kortkom, is "GRAP" - om daarmee 'n rat voor die oë te draai en hul eie onvermoë te verdoesel.
In die laaste instansie word die kommersiële boer knaend kasty as sou hy deurgaans SEB dwarsboom, onder andere met kunsmatige hoë pryse, omdat hy kwansuis nie langs 'n swartmens wil bly nie, ongeag die ware werklikheid dat wit- en swartmense nog altyd saambly op elke plaas in Suid-Afrika. Tot hierdie absurdhede word, lynreg teen die daaglikse ondervinding, bygevoeg dat 'n plaasgrondmark nie bestaan nie en dat gewillige koop en verkoop nie werk nie. Wat inderwaarheid nie werk nie, is die owerheid se kollektiewe kop en daarom kry ons opnuut onteienings en ander dreigemente.
Indien enigeen glo dat ek te kras is, luister dan na 'n paar voorbeelde ter stawing van hoe vorige benadeeldes al weer benadeel word. Ekself het vyf jaar lank probeer om twintig families te bemagtig met 'n volledige beesboerdery net om op die laaste nippertjie afgekeur te word ten gunste van 'n R7 miljoen Hydroponics-projek wat vir die ANC Jeugliga bedoel was en wat uiteindelik nie 'n teelepel kos produseer het nie, en die Europese Unie finaal oorreed het om 'n R150 miljoen bystandsfonds in die Vrystaat in 2005 te kanselleer, en die geld terug te vat na Europa. Die Adjunkminister weet baie goed waarvan ek praat.
Net so het my kollega, die agb Marius Swart, vir twee jaar vergeefs probeer om 'n plaas in Heilbron aan die departement te verkoop. Die prys was nooit eens ter sprake nie, want hulle het nooit een keer op sy herhaalde aanbod reageer nie. Drie weke nadat hy dit op die ope mark, wat volgens Grondsake kastig nie bestaan nie, geplaas het, is dit opgeraap teen 'n beter prys as wat hy van Grondsake gevra het.
Steeds in die Vrystaat, wou een van die bekendste boere sy top swart bestuurders bemagtig met 'n spogplaas van 1200 hektaar, waarby hy boonop aangebied het om vir vyf jaar gratis betrokke te bly by die finansiële administrasie om sodoende sukses te help verseker. Onder 'n wolk van beskuldigings dat hy wil inmeng om baas te kan bly speel – dis werklik vir hom so gesê - gooi hy toe na drie jaar se gesukkel die handdoek in en verkoop verlede seisoen die eiendom onder die nuwe program, die Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy, aan die departement. Sedertdien lê hierdie hoogs produktiewe plaas onbenut, oorgroei met vuilgoed en verlate - voorwaar 'n spieëlbeeld van die skandalige werkwyse van die Departement van Grondsake, nogal in die jaar van stygende voedselpryse.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): One minute left, hon member.
Mr A J BOTHA: Ek het vandag 'n pak dokumente van ontstoke eiendomsagente en hul kliënte aan die agb Minister se kantoor gestuur wat verder blootlê hoe die landboumark frustreer word deur burokratiese belemmering.
Ek sou graag vandag wou pleit by die agb Minister om gebruik te maak van die oorvloed welwillendheid wat smag om 'n bydrae te maak om hierdie edele doel wat ons onsself gestel het te bewerkstellig, want dit sou grootliks kon bydra om sukses te behaal. Die ywer wat hierdie agb Minister en haar span egter aan die dag lê om die rassekaart te speel, ter uitvoering van President Mbeki se verfoeilike rassehisterie, sê egter vir my dat dit futiel sou wees. Ons sal eerder moet staatmaak op enkele sinvolle geluide wat opklink uit die nuwe ANC leierskorps, ook hier vandag, om die nuwe daeraad wat in 1994 aangebreek het, maar in 1999 verdof het, terug te vind.
Intussen sal alle welwillendes soveel skadebeheer as moontlik moet toepas om Grondsake se wa uiteindelik deur die drif te trek. Ek dank u.
Mr D M DLALI
END OF TAKE
Mr A J BOTHA
Mr D M DLALI: Chairperson, before I deal with other issues that I am going to deal with in this debate, I must say thanks to Comrade Van Niekerk who, I believe, will be retiring very soon. I hope we will miss you in our meetings. [Interjections.]
Of course, as much as he is going to retire he must understand one thing and one thing only, that perhaps we are in this mess today because of their creation. [Laughter.] If you did not create this mess that we are in today, we would not be debating in the manner in which we are doing. [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: Is there a mess?
Mr D M DLALI: Of course, that thing must be understood in that fashion. [Interjections.]
The other issue, hon Van Niekerk, in our portfolio committee meetings you always congratulated the departments for the excellent work done - sometimes I got worried. Today you have changed completely. I don't know whether it's because of the presence of your colleagues that are sitting here. I have always raised my concern that once the DA agrees I get worried. Once they agree there must be something wrong, because they never agree with something when it is right. They always agree with something when it is wrong.
It's a pity that the hon Bici and the ACDP member, Mrs Dudley, have left. She has never attended a meeting. I cannot understand why she comes here and talk about expropriation. In fact, she was in the wrong meeting, because the Expropriation Bill that she was talking about is a Public Works issue. That debate is in the Old Assembly, not here. We should have told her that she came to the wrong meeting - unfortunately she has left.
I want to challenge you publicly, Mr Groenewald, that we should debate again the question of expropriation. There is one thing that you fail to understand, and I always tell you this, because you sit next to me. One day you should talk to the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa and tell them to co-operate with the land restitution. Then I am sure you would be doing the best for this country. I can tell you now that the reason we decided to go that route is because of the intransigence; we could not have done anything else.
I think that you must co-operate and assist the process. Talk to your members to offer farms – no problem! Because those farms were taken free of charge; you did not spend a cent. [Applause.] Now, you want us to pay billions of rands! That is rubbish! You must understand those things. I can tell you on the question of unconstitutionality that you are wrong. That Bill is constitutional and that concept of unconstitutionality is wrong. We will meet with you; don't worry.
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Chairperson, on a point of order: I just want to put on record that I accept the challenge of the hon member. [Laughter.]
Mr D M DLALI: Comrade Ngema has disappointed me today. I have always respected him as a comrade. I don't know whether he is doing this because we are approaching the elections – I have no idea. He has said he will vote against this particular budget.
Mr M V NGEMA: That is because we need more money!
Mr D M DLALI: No, no, no! There is a distinction between needing more money and voting against. [Interjections.] You vote for what is before you and then say that you need more money. Don't reject what you are given because you need that and more. It does not work like that. Unfortunately in government it does not work like that. Maybe next time, if you govern, you will understand that. [Interjections.]
I don't know what to say to the hon Green because I don't know if he even knows what the committee looks like. Do you know the chairperson of the committee? I don't think you know him. [Laughter.] You have never attended a meeting. I don't know what you are debating here. [Interjections.] It's sometimes ridiculous, because in order for you to participate in a debate of this nature, you ought to have understood and listened to the presentation of the strategic plan and various documentations, so that when you participate you understand where you come from. You don't just come and howl here – it doesn't work like that.
Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, is the hon member prepared to answer a question with regard to what he is saying? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order! Hon members, let him speak for himself. Will you take a question, hon member?
Mr D M DLALI: I will take a question after I have finished. If you give me more time, then I will take that question, no problem.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): It means you won't take the question. [Interjections.]
Mr D M DLALI: Hon Botha, you are saying to us today that the Free State farmers have offered to assist. [Interjections.] I doubt that very much. You raised a very surprising issue when you said that whites and blacks were always together.
Mrs D VAN DER WALT: Where? [Interjections.]
Mr D M DLALI: No, no, no! Wait a minute. Yes, they were always together because they were staying as a "master and servant", that is why they were together. They were not together because they were on a par - not at all. They were together because they were being exploited on those farms. [Interjections.]
Secondly, you are saying that we are chasing away the existing farmers. You know, there is a wrong notion here. In most cases I would say it is from the DA and other cronies that say, blacks cannot do farming. So, in order for a person to be able to do commercial farming the person must be white. That is nonsense! [Interjections.] Because even those white farmers do not do the actual farming; it is the workers that do the actual farming.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order! Order! Hon member, can you just take your seat. Please calm down, hon members. I know that this is an emotional issue, the land issue, but can we just calm down? [Interjections.] If he speaks louder, it is his voice; let him speak. Let us calm down. Can you continue, hon member?
Mr D M DLALI: Thank you, Chairperson.
When it comes to the question of land, I think Comrade Pheko has made that point very clear … [Interjections.] No, no, no! I think the best way for you to learn is if we go another route – I won't say which one. We might just take all those farms; perhaps that would be a better way for you to understand.
Restitution and BEE are going to proceed in terms of government policy. There is nothing that we are going to change about that. [Interjections.]
If I have a few minutes left …
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): You have two minutes left.
Mr D M DLALI: If I have two minutes, let me quickly go to the issue that I thought is critical in terms of addressing some of these issues. Unfortunately, Comrade Minister, I did not deal with the question of biofuel, as I had planned to do. However, let me quote a portion from the Business Report dated 13 April 2008. The Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, said, and I quote:
Speaking to Business Times from the annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, Manuel branded the behaviour of some richer countries that subsidise farmers to produce cereals for biofuel rather than for food as criminal.
He urged Opec, the oil producers' cartel, to slash the incentive to divert food to fuel by pumping more oil. The food crisis was triggered by the shift of food into biofuels, especially in the US, where about a third of the maize is being converted into bio-ethanol …
First-world farm subsidies, based on the current record cost of oil, price staple grains out of the reach of the world's poorest people. Rich motorists outbid the world's poor so that maize goes to fill empty fuel tanks rather than empty tummies.
This is a reality. Accordingly, any successful land reform programme must include the identification and release of urban and peri-urban land for settlement, housing and job creation, as well as reform of ownership and use of land suitable for farming. In terms of the numbers of likely beneficiaries, this will be more important than providing rural plots for small farmers, and in quality terms it will offer better access to the fruits of economic growth - not only for the white commercial farmers - and to mixed sources of income for the poorest households.
There is also no place for one-size-fits-all financial formulas for land reform. Approved financing models will differ significantly by sector and by region ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS
END OF TAKE
Mr D M DLALI
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Chair, I am sorry that some of the members are no longer in the House. However, I want to bid Mr Van Niekerk farewell, wish him well, and hope that he will enjoy his retirement. [Interjections.] Yes, I guess there will be less noise in the House. I hope you will go back to farming, and teach a few emerging black farmers to farm, and make a contribution with your expertise and experience to the people of South Africa.
I want to say to Mrs Dudley it is a pity she never went to the portfolio committee where some of the issues that she is raising are addressed, and that is why she is misinformed by newspaper reports on what is happening in land reform and agriculture.
First of all, I think we need to ask: who wrote that Centre for Development and Enterprise report? Who funded that report? What was the objective of the report? Whose interests does that report serve, and what is the alternative that this report gives to South Africa? All I read in the report was that land reform had failed and the Land Reform Policy was wrong, and also that the restitution programme was wrong. Now, what is right? Is ensuring that 90% of rich agricultural land remains in white hands correct? Is it correct to say only 10% of the land will remain in black hands? Is that going to give us stability in South Africa? Is that going to give us overall sustainable development and economic growth?
I want to agree with Comrade Pheko that, i-Afrika mayibuye! [Africa should come back], and if Africa should come back we must all be honest. We must face the challenges and problems. We have a few white farmers who have made a very meaningful contribution. Unfortunately they are still very few. I want ask the hon members here, some of whom are privileged to have big farms in this country, what they have done to share their expertise and skills with previously disadvantaged blacks. It is not their fault that they have never been exposed to agriculture. It is not their fault that they have not been to school. It is the policy and the legacy of apartheid that has, as one of my comrades has said, put us in this mess.
Now, I want to disagree with members: the Department of Land Affairs and the Department of Agriculture are interrelated. I think, again, I agree with hon Pheko, maybe it is a mother and daughter relationship. They complement each other. Obviously you cannot produce food without land. You cannot do anything in terms of land reform and all these things that we are talking about unless land is there and is provided to most of the people of South Africa. It is only then that we can begin to talk about food security, and ensuring that we fight hunger and poverty in South Africa. [Interjections.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD: But the land must be looked after.
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: What have you done to make the land productive? For your privileges what have you done for fellow South Africans? I want to challenge the FF Plus, the DA, and the IFP to go to the elections next year and win, and become the ruling party of South Africa. That will happen on doomsday, not today or tomorrow. [Interjections.] When they rule South Africa, they will then restructure the Ministries of this country, the departments and deployed Ministers of this government. [Interjections.] I was deployed in this Ministry. I will be redeployed …
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Minister, may I just assist you here? Can we just calm down, please? Let the Minister respond, because we requested the response.
The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Yes, hon Chair, because I also kept quite and listened to the members.
On the Land Bank I want to say, yes, the Land Bank has had a number of serious challenges. However, it will continue to play a crucial role as a catalytic player in ensuring the implementation of our policies and programmes. It will continue to support commercial and emerging farmers. It will also ensure that it realises its mandate of ensuring food security in our country, but also of supporting developing new farmers from emerging to commercial farmers, and to the highest levels, up to export levels in agriculture.
I want to commend the new board for the work that they have done so far in trying to stabilise the bank, and also reinventing the bank to ensure it delivers on its mandate. I think this is a credible board that has enjoyed the support of business and investors, and they are now very busy focusing on ensuring that they put in place the top management of the bank. They are also working hard to produce a new funding model, which will help the bank to address its prime mandate, and also to ensure that we continue to produce food in the country and support developing farmers. I want to thank the portfolio committee, which has given support to the Land Bank when they came last time to present their report.
On legal aid, members have raised a concern, as has the chairperson of the committee. I think it is true that there are problems in this regard. We are discussing with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs how we can broaden this programme to ensure that it reaches the farmworkers and farm dwellers, all of them, as it is meant to do that.
On the National Agricultural Marketing Council, I agree that we need to look at its mandate and ensure that it is more effective and serves the majority of our communities. I agree with all the members that we need more investments in agriculture. We also need a bigger budget. I have raised the matter of the 10%. The challenge of the escalating food prices is obviously making this even more urgent. We have raised this in the Cabinet and I am sure that the government is reviewing our position in this regard.
I think also in terms of supporting farmers we can do better, as South Africa. In terms of ensuring that we support farmers with our programmes, such as the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Mafisa, we are looking, through the one-stop-shop, at how we can actually improve these facilities and financial schemes so that they can be more beneficial, and can assist our farmers, especially poor and developing farmers in our country.
I want to say that on Policy and Land Ownership by Foreigners, yes, we have received the report, which was tabled in both the Cabinet and Parliament. We have now set up an interdepartmental committee that is looking at drafting policy, which will then produce legislation that will assist us. Hon members would know that this is a process, but we are trying our best to fast-track it, because we are also painfully aware of what is happening in terms of land, and foreign land ownership in South Africa. We also would like to treat this matter as an area of priority.
On climate change, we are working closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs to look at the impact of climate change on agriculture. We are looking at strategies that will assist us to address changes that we need to put in place. For instance, we are receiving reports that the Western Cape may become dryer, and the Eastern Cape or the eastern part of the country may become colder and wetter. So in our planning for the next 10 to 15 years, we are working together with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Agricultural Research Council, which is focusing on research in this area. We hope that in the coming years we will be able to come out with strategies that will assist in this regard.
On the issue of farms that have been lying fallow we are - through the Land Agrarian Reform Project that we have just launched – setting up a structure. We will appoint very soon a project manager that will look also at post-settlement support for our new landowners and beneficiaries. We will also look at those projects that died after land restitution or handing over of land to new beneficiaries. We are saying that through that programme we will be able to address some of these problems. What I want to say again is that the challenge goes to the private sector and industry also to make a contribution. We have the example of South African Farm Management, a company of white commercial farmers that has gone into restitution farms and has worked with the communities and chiefs in those areas and has ensured that we realise a turnaround. Some of those farms today are prosperous, producing and exporting. I think it can be done. What is important is the political will for all of us to come together, and work together in this regard.
To hon Groenewald I want to say that I do not think he understands constitutional law. I think the Expropriation Act is constitutional, and I have also not seen him in any of the meetings of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs. He is lost here now. This Expropriation Act has not been piloted by me, but by the Minister of Public Works. So this is the wrong forum for you to raise this matter. [Interjections.] The Minister of Public Works is debating in the Old Assembly Chamber as we speak. [Interjections.] So I want to say, let us do our homework first. We know what we are doing. Our programmes are right on track and we are not going to reverse; we are going to fight on and continue with restitution and reform. Thank you very much, hon members, for all the support. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Minister, but before I conclude the debate, I just want to make a small appeal to members and also to our visitors who are sitting here. I know that we are going to have lots of these Extended Public Committee meetings throughout this month and June. I appreciate the long hours, but I think we should conclude properly, because yesterday before I could finish saying the word "conclude", the members and the visitors were already through that door. So I think we need simply to conclude properly. I do appreciate the long hours. Thank you.
The Council rose at 17:51.
END OF TAKE
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