ATC170906: Joint Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency and Multi-Party Women’s Caucus on the Oversight visit to Mpumalanga Province on 26 – 31 March 2017, dated 06 September 2017

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

JOINT REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES, PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN THE PRESIDENCY AND MULTI-PARTY WOMEN’S CAUCUS ON THE OVERSIGHT VISIT TO MPUMALANGA PROVINCE ON 26 – 31 MARCH 2017, DATED 06 SEPTEMBER 2017
 

Contents

 

1.  INTRODUCTION. 6

1.1 Delegation. 6

1.2   In attendance. 7

2.  TERMS OF REFERENCE. 9

2.1 Background. 9

2.2 Objectives of the Joint Oversight Visit 10

3.  COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS. 11

3.1 Briefing by the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural       Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), Office on the Status of Women and Commission for Gender Equality. 11

3.1.1 Overview of Agriculture in Mpumalanga Province. 11

3.1.2 Presentation by the Office on the Status of Women in the Province. 12

3.1.3 Presentation by the Commission for Gender Equality in the Province. 15

3.2       Site visits. 22

3.2.1 Agricultural Produce Packhouse at Huttington (Bushbuckridge Local Municipality) 22

3.2.2 Allandale Mango and Citrus Estate (Fortune 40 Youth Incubator Project) (Bushbuckridge Local Municipality) 24

3.2.3 Lebombo Border Post (Nkomazi Local Municipality) 25

3.2.4 Lebombo International Border fence and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) red line fence (Nkomazi Local Municipality) 28

3.2.5 Nkomazi West Maize Mill (Nkomazi Local Municipality) 29

3.2.6 Maquabi Primary Cooperative (Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality) 31

3.2.7 Pixley Family Cooperative – Fortune 40 Youth Incubator Project (Dr Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality) 32

3.2.8 Vukuzenzele NPO Project (Dr Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality) 35

3.2.9 Valschfontein Veterinary Clinic (Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality) 37

3.2.10 Marapyane College of Agriculture (Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality) 37

3.2.11 Meeting with the Provincial Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in Mpumalanga Province. 39

3.2.12 Legal Clinic: Commission for Gender Equality (Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality) 42

3.3       Reflection and way forward. 44

3.3.1    Response from the MEC for Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), officials from DARDLEA and DAFF. . 45

4.     CONCLUSION. 47

5.     COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS: AGRICULTURE. 47

6.     COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: AGRICULTURE. 50

7.     COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS: WOMEN’S ISSUES. 52

8.     COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: WOMEN’S ISSUES. 53

8.1       Department of Women in the Presidency. 53

8.2       Commission for Gender Equality. 54

 

 

Abbreviations and Acronyms

 

APAP               Agricultural Policy Action Plan

ARC                 Agricultural Research Council

BBBEE             Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment

BCOCC             Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee

BMA                 Border Management Agency

CASP               Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme

CDF                 Community Development Forum

CHE                 Council on Higher Education

CGE                 Commission for Gender Equality

COGTA             Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

CPA                 Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

DAFF               Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

DARDLEA        Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs

DHA                 Department of Home Affairs

DIRCO  Department of International Relations and Cooperation

DOH                 Department of Health

DRDLR Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

DPW                Department of Public Works

ERP                 Extension Recovery Programme

Eskom              Electricity Supply Commission

FET                  Further Education and Training

FMD                 foot-and-mouth disease

GDP                 Gross Domestic Product

HDSA               Historically Disadvantaged South Africans

HIV                   Human immunodeficiency virus

HOD                 Head of Department

HSRC               Human Sciences Research Council

IACF                 Inter-Agency Clearing Forum

IDC                   Industrial Development Corporation

IDP                   Integrated Development Plan

IGR                   intergovernmental relations

KyD                  Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo

LED                  Local Economic Development

LGBQTI             Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender and Intersex

MEC                 Member of the Executive Council

MEGA Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency

NDP                 National Development Plan

NGP                 New Growth Path

NIDS                National Inter-Departmental Structure

NQF                 National Qualifications Framework

OSW                Office on the Status of Women

PEI                   Public Education and Information

PEPUDA          Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act

PLAS                Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy

RAAVC             Revitalisation of Agriculture and Agro-processing Value Chain

Recap/RADP    Recapitalisation and Development Programme

SACNASP        South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions

SAHRC South African Human Rights Commission

SANDF             South African National Defence Force

SAPS               South African Police Service

SARS               South African Revenue Service

SED                 Socio-economic Development

SMS                 Senior management level

TVET                Technical and Vocational Education and Training

UMP                 University of Mpumalanga

 

 

Executive Summary

 

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency and Multiparty Women’s Caucus Steering Committee agreed to undertake a joint oversight visit to the Mpumalanga Province from 26 – 31 March 2017. The purpose of the joint oversight visit was to oversee the implementation of concurrent activities and/or cross-cutting policy issues by the two Government Departments, namely, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Women in the Presidency, as well as the Commission for Gender Equality in the Mpumalanga Province.

The delegation was briefed at the onset of the oversight by the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs as well as the Office on Status of Women from the Premier’s Office and the Commission for Gender Equality in the province. These briefings provided an overview of the agricultural profile of the province and the key issues affecting women. The delegation visited the Agricultural Produce Packhouse at Huttington; Allandale Mango and Citrus Estate; Lebombo Border Post; Lebombo International Border fence and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) red line fence; Nkomazi West Maize Mill; Maquabi Primary Cooperative; Pixley Family Cooperative; Vukuzenzele NPO Project; Valschfontein (Siyabuswa) Veterinary Clinic and the Marapyane College of Agriculture. In addition, a delegation from the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and the Portfolio Committee on Women also attended a meeting with the Mpumalanga Women’s Caucus at the Provincial Legislature and a legal clinic by the Commission for Gender Equality.

The delegation noted several issues and contradictory information on project reports and agreed that the Departments should submit in writing to Parliament, by 05 May 2017, all the outstanding issues that were raised by the delegation during the oversight visit including specific project information that could not be responded to during site visits. As the MEC and HOD for DARDLEA were not available at the conclusion of the visit, a follow-up meeting with the MEC and DARDLEA to respond to issues that have been raised during the oversight visit was held in Parliament on 01 August 2017.   

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency and Multi-Party Women’s Caucus Steering Committee having undertaken an oversight visit to Mpumalanga Province from 26 – 31 March 2017, report as follows:

 

1.         INTRODUCTION

 

As per Parliament’s constitutional mandate, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency and Multiparty Women’s Caucus undertook a joint oversight visit to Mpumalanga Province from 26 – 31 March 2017, to oversee the implementation of concurrent activities and/or cross-cutting policy issues  (women in agriculture) by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Women in the Presidency including matters related to gender equality as addressed by the Commission for Gender Equality in the province.   

 

1.1 Delegation

 

The delegation composed of Members from the following Committees:

 

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: ANC: Ms MR Semenya - Chairperson and leader of the delegation, Mr N Capa, Mr WB Maphanga, Mr PDN Maloyi. DA: Mrs A Steyn. EFF: Mr M Paulsen and AIC: Mr LM Ntshayisa.

 

Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency: ANC: Ms T Memela – Chairperson and leader of the delegation, Ms P Bhengu and EFF: Ms MS Khawula.

 

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus: ANC: Ms RMS Morutoa – Chairperson and leader of the delegation, Ms NP Khunou and Ms G Tseke.

 

1.1.1 Committee Support Officials:

 

The delegation was supported by Ms A Kakaza – Committee Secretary, Ms N Mgxashe – Content Advisor, Mr N Ginindza – Committee Researcher (Fisheries), Ms N Qwabe – Committee Researcher (Agriculture), Ms C Maledu - Committee Assistant, Mr B Mantyi – Committee Secretary, Mr Moagi Monyela, assistant to Ms RMS Morutoa (Member of Parliament), Ms N Nobatana – Committee Secretary, Ms K Abrahams – Content Advisor and two assistants to Ms P Bhengu (Member of Parliament), Mr Quinton Mthonti and Mr Boitshepo Kombe.

 

1.2   In attendance

 

The following were in attendance: National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Mr RM Ramasodi, Deputy Director General: Agricultural Production, Health & Food Safety; Ms E Mtshiza, Chief Director: Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP); Ms B Phaladi CASP Coordinator; Mr SM Kobese, Deputy Director: Forestry; Ms ASN Letswele, Agricultural Food and Quarantine Technology; Mr TA Mphego, Chief Director: Agricultural Food & Quarantine Technology; Dr D Serage, Chief Director; Mr MJ Mamabolo, Director: Animal Production; Ms RL Bosoga, Acting Chief Director: Natural Resources Management; Ms MC Marubini, Deputy Director: Land Use Administration; Ms MM Setati, Deputy Director: Animal Improvement; Ms N Mafani, Parliamentary Coordinator: Office of the Director-General (DG) and Mr F Goliath, Assistant, Office of the DG. Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs: Ms SP Xulu, Head of Department (HOD); Ms ZC Mathebula, Parliamentary Officer; Mr MC Ndhlala, Manager: Crop Production & Food Security; Ms S Maseko, Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO); Mr HB Mphephu, Manager Rural Development; Mr IL Silinda, Chief Director; Mr LB Cele, Director: Veterinary Specialised Services; Mr SM Ndala, Chief Director: Professional Services; Mr PNZ Mpangane, District Director; Mr ATG Nkgathi, Head: Office of the HOD; Ms N Mafu, Manager: CASP; Mrs PL Ngomane, Deputy Director; Mr KJ Mushwena, Manager Agriculture; Mr F Mathebula, Deputy Director; Mr P Nyathi, Communication Officer; Ms DC Ndlovu, Deputy Director; Ms NP Lubisi, Agricultural Advisor; Ms EN Mboweni, Deputy Director; Mr MC Mamabolo, Deputy Director: Rural Development; Ms MF Mahlangu, Deputy Director: CASP Coordinator, Mr JM Mahlangu, Deputy Director: Rural Development, Mr MA Mahlangu, Agricultural Manager; Mrs MQ Sindane, State Veterinary Service Office (SVSO), Ms JO Mthimunye, Veterinary Assistant; Ms MS Lepedi, Control Animal Health Technician; Dr LF Rampa Lentswe, Clinical State Vet; Dr ES Hamman, Compulsory Community Service (CCS) Veterinarian; Mr SM Ndala, Chief Director; Ms NS Maseko, Acting Director: Nkangala District Municipality, Mr GT Mahlangu, Assistant Director, Mr PH Munyai, Agricultural Advisor, Mr GO Xaba, District Director; Mr PS Wilkem, Agriculture Manager; Ms MO Matlala, Rural Development Manager; Ms GF Nkosi, Communication Officer, Ms B Shongwe, Agriculture Manager. Office of the Member of the Executive Council (MEC): Ms ZC Mathebula, PLO. National Department of Health: Ms GC Masina. Ehlanzeni District Municipality: Mr BK Mokoena, Municipal Mayoral Committee (MMC) – Local Economic Development (LED): Tourism and Rural Development; Mr ML Nkosi, Deputy Manager: LED Tourism & Rural Development; Bushbuckridge Local Municipality: Mr LM Malomane, MMC – LED; Ms PB Bongco, Committee Secretary: Economic Development, Planning and Environment (EDPE); Mr N Nkuna, LED Office; Mr SS Mathonsi, Ward Councillor; Mr SE Mahlangu, Chief LED Officer. Nkomazi Local Municipality: Ms JP Ngomane, LED Officer; Ms DG Mazibuko, Councillor. Nkangala District Municipality: Mr MS Nkosi, LED MMC (Acting Mayor); Mr H Ndlovu, Acting District Director. Gert Sibande District Municipality: Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality: Ms J Segalagala, MMC Finance & LED. Office of the Premier: Ms LB Mabaso, General Manager – Cluster Coordination; Mr HL Mgwenyama, Manager Research Services. South African Police Service (SAPS): Mr HE Nobela, Operational Commander. South African Revenue Service (SARS): Ms PJ Van der Westhuizen, Compliance Manager: SARS Customs. Commission for Gender Equality: Mr K Ahirudhra, HOD: Parliamentary & International Policy; Mr BA Mabuza, Public Education Officer; Mr MD Matotoka, Acting Senior Legal Researcher; Mr LHN Bata, Commissioner; Ms F Nzimande, Commissioner; Mr JS Baloyi, Spokesperson.

 

During site visits, the delegation was joined by the representatives from Ehlanzeni, Gert Sibande and Nkangala District Municipalities, Project Managers, Projects Chairpersons, Councilors from the Local Municipalities, Office of the Premier, the projects beneficiaries, Officials from Lebombo Border Post, and Officials from Legal Clinic: Commission for Gender Equality, Status of Women and local Traditional Leader representing Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders namely; Inkosi Ndlemane, Mkhatshwa Mhlaba Traditional Authority.

 

Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature: Hon BT Shongwe, ANC, (Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature and Chair of the Provincial Multi-Party Women’s Caucus); Hon VS Siwela, ANC, (Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature); Hon P Ngobeni, ANC; Hon GC Shabalala, ANC.

 

2.         TERMS OF REFERENCE

 

2.1 Background

 

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency and Multiparty Women’s Caucus Steering Committee agreed to undertake a joint oversight visit to Mpumalanga Province from 26 – 31 March 2017. The purpose of the joint oversight visit was to oversee the implementation of concurrent activities and/or cross-cutting policy issues by the two Government Departments, namely, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Women in the Presidency, as well as the Commission for Gender Equality in the Mpumalanga Province.

 

2.2 Objectives of the Joint Oversight Visit

 

The purpose of the joint oversight visit was to oversee:

  1. The implementation of concurrent activities and/or cross-cutting policy issues by the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Women in the Presidency and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE);
  2. Progress regarding the development of Agri-Parks and implementation of Agri-Park linked projects;
  3. The implementation of the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) through the development of commodity value chains;
  4. Implementation of the Fetsa Tlala food production initiative and support that is given to smallholder and subsistence producers to enhance food production at national and household level through programmes such as the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) and Ilima/letsema;
  5. Availability of veterinary clinics; and
  6. Support provided to smallholder producers and to women’s projects.

 

In addition, the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency’s aims were:

 

  1. To assess how matters related to complaints from civil society are dealt with at the Commission for Gender Equality’s (CGE) provincial office.
  2. To assess the programmes of the CGE in Mpumalanga Province. (The delegation also intended to attend the Commission for Gender Equality’s legal clinic in the province.)

 

Moreover, the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus decided to meet with the Joint Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in the Province in order to further its mandate of engaging on developmental and empowerment issues with women in political structures. The meeting aimed to achieve the following key strategic objectives:

 

  1. To enhance the relationship between the National Parliament’s Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and that of the Province’s.
  2. To discuss issues of women's representation in political decision making positions at provincial and local level.
  3. To discuss challenges and successes of the Provincial Multi-Party Women’s Caucus.
  4. To discuss pertinent issues within the Province which affect the lives of women and how the Caucus may intervene in alleviating the plight of women.
  5. To discuss issues related to the transformation of society, more importantly men, in order to have a more gender sensitive society.
  6. To discuss further cooperation with the National Caucus; other Provinces and Local Municipal Caucuses.

 

3.         COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

 

3.1 Briefing by the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural       

Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), Office on the Status of Women and Commission for Gender Equality

 

3.1.1 Overview of Agriculture in Mpumalanga Province

 

The Head of Department (HOD), Ms SP Xulu gave a brief overview of the agricultural profile of the province including the provincial department’s alignment plans with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the New Growth Plan (NGP); agricultural contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) driven by the Revitalisation of Agriculture and Agroprocessing Value Chain (RAAVC), including progress for APAP commodities. It was reported that the Mpumalanga province has a population of approximately 4 million people (7.8% of the national total) and agriculture and mining are the main economic activities. In addition, she reported that agricultural contribution to the provincial economy is approximately 3% and the main challenge is loss of high potential agricultural land to mining activities. The provincial strength in terms of agriculture is crop production, followed by livestock and to a lesser extent, forestry, which is mainly in private lands. The main crops are sugarcane, maize, citrus, subtropical crops (bananas, mangoes, avocadoes, etc.) and vegetables.

 

In terms of the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) including Flood Disaster Relief and Ilima/Letsema, the HOD reported that the province spent 100% of its allocation; and 45 planned projects with 7 commodities that were prioritised benefited from the allocation. The allocation included a budget for farmer support, disasters and Extension Recovery Programme (ERP). She reported that 65% of Extension Officers in the Province are professionally registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). Furthermore, Mpumalanga Province has 9 mobile clinics and trucks that are all equipped and veterinarians for the different districts.

The HOD also mentioned that despite the challenges, the Mpumalanga Province has potential to expand its commodity production through sustainable farming systems that contribute to sustainable food security and job creation not only for the province but for the country as well. Furthermore, it was also reported that the Nooitgedacht Research Centre has been revitalised and has an operational soil testing laboratory that is performing soil tests for the province. It was also noted that, the Province is going beyond focusing on primary production but is looking at the whole value chain. In addition, the HOD highlighted that provincial farmers will be supplying produce to the School Nutrition Programme and Social Development Nutrition Centres while supply to hospitals will be piloted due to the stringent Health requirements.  The HOD concluding by indicating that due to the dry nature of the Province, Aquaculture development has just been initiated.

 

3.1.2 Presentation by the Office on the Status of Women in the Province

 

The presentation by the Office on Status of Women in the Premier’s Office provided the purpose of the presentation and then focused on the provincial demographics, unemployment rates, unemployment status of women, child mortality, employment equity within Provincial Departments, Provincial Gender Focal Persons, the structure and function of the Office on the Status of Women, 2016/17 women’s activities, challenges identified and 2017/18 priorities.

 

The presenter indicated that the purpose of the presentation was to provide an overview of issues affecting women in Mpumalanga and the status of the Office on the Status of Women in terms of its functions and structure. To this end, the presenter noted that the Office on the Status of Women (OSW) is located in the Office of the Premier in the Special Programmes Directorate and have submitted from OSW to Office on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment to the Organisational Structure Unit. The mandate of the OSW is to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment and the functions were highlighted as follows:

a)         Provide strategic leadership on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

b)         Ensure the integration of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in departmental projects.

c)         Formulate policies and provide advice on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

d)         Monitor and evaluate provincial programmes and projects on gender mainstreaming.

 

The Office currently operates with 4 employees instead of 6 as per the approved structure i.e. the Manager, Chief Liaison Officer and Community Liaison Officer who works as an Administrator. The Assistant Manager has retired and the post has not been filled due to moratorium on the filling of vacancies in the Province.

 

The presenter indicated the following challenges identified by the OSW in the province:

a)         Lack of adequate shelter (most women still living in inappropriate shelters).

b)         High number of women-led households (unemployed women)

c)         Rising number of women dependent on Government grants

d)         Empowerment of smallscale business women

e)         Funding for women entrepreneurs in rural areas

f)          Private sector involvement in women empowerment

g)         Drug abuse that leads to women abuse

h)         Domestic violence

i)          Inequality - SMS positions in provincial departments

j)          Women abuse by employers

k)         HIV prevalence rate in women (15-49 years)

l)          Lack of availability to opportunities for knowledge and information.

 

The 2017/18 priorities were noted as follows:

a)         Situational analysis: Conduct a situational analysis which will assist in identifying the key issues that affect women in the Province and to develop the Provincial Intervention Plan.

b)         Economic empowerment: Projects for women to be identified and the OSW to assist in facilitating funding for women’s project e.g. MEGA (Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency), in partnership with the Department of Social Development to identify child headed and women headed households for self-supporting projects. MEGA will fund projects and other private companies to support the initiative.

c)         Capacity building for women: Rural women to be capacitated on business and financial management. Women will be trained to serve on Boards (encourage women to be in decision making positions).

d)         Expand the Sanitary Dignity Campaign in partnership with private sector, OSW will distribute sanitary towels and non-perishable items to indigent girl learners and out-of-school girls.

 

The delegation was informed that in terms of the First (1st) Quarter report for 2016/17 on employment equity, the Office of the Premier had 33.33% women in senior management level (SMS level) this decreased in the 4th quarter to 28.57%. In addition, the presenter indicated that all provincial departments have Gender Focal Point’s which are also responsible for other target groups such as older persons, persons with disabilities, youth, children as well as employee health and wellness. The Provincial Department of Social Development is the only department in the province that has a Director responsible for gender issues.

 

Furthermore, the presenter indicated that the provincial population increased from 4 039 million in 2011 to 4 335 million in 2016 which is a population growth rate of 1.6% per annum.  According to Statistics South Africa, the 2014 report revealed that the Mpumalanga provincial population distribution comprises of 50.9% females and youth at 69.9% of the total population. The Human Science Research Council (HSRC) indicates that households headed by females tend to be poorer than those headed by males and that the female headed households rank high at 40.1% in the Province. The unemployment rate of females in the Province is at 33.6% in 2014 which is higher than that of males at 25.7%, currently it is at 39.18%. The presenter further indicated that the HIV prevalence rate in females in 2012 was 35.6% between 15-49 year age group. Furthermore, the Committees were informed that the rate of unemployment of women in Ehlanzeni District Municipality was the highest at 40% compared to Gert Sibande at 38.4% and Nkangala at 37.7%. In addition, it was noted that the child mortality rate has decreased from April-December 2016 at 127.2/100 000 compared to 2013/14 when it was at 139.07/100 000.  The reasons cited for child mortality were attributed to inadequate skills in facilities to manage emergencies, shortage of equipment in health care facilities, community presenting themselves very late and that 70% of deaths were caused by HIV positive status of women who did not follow proper precautions during pregnancy. The OSW also conducted activities related to women in August 2016 and hosted International Women’s Day Celebration which was held on 10 March 2017.

 

3.1.3 Presentation by the Commission for Gender Equality in the Province

 

The Commissioner responsible for Mpumalanga Province presented on behalf of the CGE in the Province. The presentation focused on the provincial office’s staff component, list of programmes, partnership/collaborations, interventions, stakeholder relations, areas covered by CGE, radio slots, challenges and key issues. The Commissioner indicated that the Commission operates with 4 staff members as follows: Provincial Coordinator, Provincial Education Officer, Office Administrator and Office Assistant and two Commissioners responsible for the Province.

 

  1. Public Education and Information Programmes (PEI)

 

Commissioner indicated that the Commission undertook the following projects in 2016/17:

  1. Community dialogues, information sessions and workshops around gender based violence, human rights issues, customary marriages, early child and forced marriage, culture, succession and the Constitution
  2. Coordinated meetings with civil society organisations, religious sectors, private sector and women in traditional councils to strengthen working relations and identify gaps and challenges facing the province.
  3. Media appearances on electronic and print media concerning Human Rights and Gender Equality, International and National Days celebrated e.g. 16 Days of Activism Against Women and International Rural Women’s Day.
  4. Promoted gender transformation in traditional women’s councils which culminated in a successful provincial summit that led to the increase of complaints in the province.
  5. Facilitated gender equality programmes on request by various institution e.g. Men’s formation in various location around the province.
  6. Coordinated stakeholder engagements to present the highlights of CGE work to strengthen working relations.

 

(b) Partnership/Collaborations

 

The Commissioner indicated the following in terms of partnership/collaborations:

  1. Coordinated a conversational engagement on Women and Economic Independence with MMI Holdings in Mbombela.
  2. Collaborated with Women in Uniform i.e. SANDF, Correctional Services, SAPS, and Emergency Services.
  3. Collaborated with the Department of Justice and Office on the Status of Women to conduct a dialogue on LGBQTI (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender and Intersex).
  4. Conducted consultative workshop with women in traditional councils in 3 districts in partnership with the Office of the Premier (OSW).

 

(c) Stakeholder Relations

 

The Mpumalanga office of the CGE has stakeholder relations with the following:

  • Department of Justice
  • Provincial Departments and Municipalities
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Master of High Court
  • Family Advocate
  • National Prosecuting Authority (Sexual Offence Unit)
  • Civil Society organisation
  • South African Broadcasting Corporation
  • House of Traditional Leaders
  • Office of the Premier
  • Chapter 9 Institutions
  • Government Pension Fund Administration Agency
  • The Mpumalanga Law Society
  • Mpumalanga Access to Justice Cluster

 

(d) Challenges

 

The Commission noted the following challenges that it faces:

  1. The Province is too vast and the staff are unable to reach some areas due to budgetary constraints.
  2. Gender mainstreaming is still a challenge in departments and municipalities.
  3. Communities have limited knowledge on their rights and functions of different institutions e.g. Department of Home Affairs not doing enough to educate people about issues related to Customary Marriages which is crucial in the province.

 

(e) Key issues

 

Key issues were indicated as follows:

  1. Women’s challenges in Traditional Councils
  2. Estate (widowhood) and maintenance matters
  3. Customary marriages
  4. Gender based violence and domestic violence
  5. Discrimination practices

 

The Commission further reported that it was awarded with a certificate and a plaque for the positive role displayed in the sphere of human rights and gender equality in the province.

 

(f) Mpumalanga Legal Department: Successes and challenges

 

The Legal Officer of the Commission presented the successes and challenges of the legal department. The presentation focused on the CGE’s legal mandate and structure, 2016/17 achievements, complaints overview, trends and case studies as well as limitations.

 

(g) Legal mandate and structure

 

The Legal Officer indicated that the CGE’s legal mandate draws inspiration from the Constitution, CGE Act and PEPUDA. In addition, the Legal Officer noted that the structure of the Legal Department in the CGE comprises of the Head of Legal Department, Complaints Officer located in Head Office, a Senior Legal Researcher, a Legal Administrator and 9 Provincial Officers.

 

 

(h) Achievements for 2016/17

 

Annual targets - Mpumalanga Province

Achievements

Planned target (100) complaints

Achieved 114 complaints

Planned target (15) Legal Clinics

17 Legal Clinics held

1 public investigative hearing into private sector

Sasol and HL Hall & Sons appeared before CGE from 24 – 28 October 2016

6 Court monitoring and compilation of a provincial report

6 Magistrate Courts monitored on domestic violence, Sexual Offences, Maintenance and Equality Courts in the following areas:

  • Delmas Magistrate Court
  • Tonga Magigstrate Court
  • Lydenburg Magistrate Court
  • Eesterstehoek Magistrate Court
  • Middelburg Magistrate Court
  • KwaMhlanga Magistrate Court

Mining investigation

Participated in the mining investigations and the report has been finalised. The purpose of the investigation was to determine the extent of compliance with the Employment Equity (EE) Act and the mining charter. De Beers and Glencore Mines were selected for this purpose.

 

 

(i) Complaints overview for 2016/17

 

Nature of complaints

Files opened until Quarter 4 (Q4)

Gender based violence

22

Labour

2

Culture and tradition

0

Religion

 

Patriarchy

0

Economic

0

Education

0

Health care

0

Succession

42

Political representation and participation

0

General discriminatory  practice or general gender discrimination

16

Divorce, sexual offences, maintenance and defamation

Divorce:12, domestic violence:7 and mantainance:11

 

(j) Trends/issues in the complaints received in 2016/17

 

  1. Registration of customary marriages and successions: The Legal Officer indicated that according to the complaints received, women had difficulty claiming their deceased’s estate due to non-registration of their customary marriages with the deceased. This poses as a challenge for widows or female partners who then struggle to prove dependency when claiming death benefits from the Pension Fund.
  2. Maintenance: The Commission receives complaints that indicate maintenance payments are delayed by Maintenance Courts. Moreover, the turnaround time for issuing attachment emolument orders and service of these orders to the employer’s area also contributory factors that delays maintenance payments.
  3. Divorce matters: The Legal Officers indicate that there is lack of understanding between separation and divorce.
  4. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation: The presenter indicated that there is a number of incidents of discrimination based on sexual orientation especially in schools and in the work place.
  5. Gender based violence against elderly women and children: The Legal Officer indicated that there is an increase in the number cases of sexual abuse of elderly persons in the Province and cited an example where a man was sentenced to 15 years in the Nelspruit Regional Court for sexually abusing his mentally ill mother.

 

(k) Legal Clinics

 

Issues highlighted in the Legal Clinics held in the province were cited as follows:

  1. Maintenance and Law: The Commission indicated that there is a lack of understanding of the maintenance process and also a growing concern of fathers taking early retirement to avoid paying maintenance. Furthermore, the Commission indicated that clients were not comfortable with grandparent-grandchild maintenance. 
  2. Customary marriages: The Commission indicated that many customary marriages are not registered and this creates challenges for the surviving spouses to prove the existence of the marriage. Moreover, the Provincial Department of Home Affairs refused to register these customary marriages. As such, the Commission held a meeting with the Department of Home Affairs in this regard whereby the Commission was informed that it was not the policy of the Department to not register customary marriages.
  3. Domestic violence: The Commission indicated that majority of women are physically abused by their husbands. However, there is reluctance to report these cases due to financial dependency on their husbands/partners. It was also highlighted that reporting domestic violence is equivalent to starvation.
  4. Early child marriages (predominantly in Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi): A Legal Clinic conducted in Masoyi indicated that young Zimbabwean girls are forced to marry older man from Zimbabwe.

 

(l) Legal Department’s Limitations and Challenges

 

The Commissioner highlighted budget constraints as the main challenge that limits the work of the Commission in the Province. She highlighted that despite the vastness and rural nature of the Province, it only has one Legal Officer and one Education Officer. The Legal Officer indicated that there is only one Legal Officer to service a population of 4.4 million with no specific legal administrative personnel. Furthermore, the Legal Officer indicated that he cannot attend all court matters and lacked the necessary personnel support. As such, due to the lack of human capacity the visibility of the CGE in courts remains poor.

 

3.2        Site Visits

 

During the oversight visit, the delegation visited several projects, met with the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature and attended the CGE’s legal clinic: (27 – 30 March 2017).

           

Ehlanzeni District Municipality

 

3.2.1 Agricultural Produce Packhouse at Huttington (Bushbuckridge Local Municipality)

 

The Huttington Packhouse is a farmer support project that forms part of the Agri-parks Programme of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). It is aimed at providing socioeconomic infrastructure (for packing and selling of produce to local and outside markets) for farmers that are based within the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality. The project has been funded by the DRDLR with a total budget of R12 million through its Rural Infrastructure Programme. A consulting company was appointed by the DRDLR to design and monitor the construction of the Packhouse. It was initiated in March 2016 and was expected to take 9 months but due to delays, practical completion of the structure was expected on 30 March 2017 (also the handover ceremony).

 

It was reported that approximately 31 jobs have been created since the inception of the project (26 youth [20 males and 6 females], 3 adult males and 2 adult females). The project was reportedly at 99% completion and approximately R9 million was spent thus far.  The facility consists of the guard house, main Packhouse building, toilet block with changing rooms, fertiliser room, refuse area, borehole with elevated water tank, septic tank and boundary fencing. On completion of construction, it was reported that the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) will assist farmers with training and running costs and a strategic partner will be appointed to assist beneficiaries in running the project for a period of 3 years. However, in a contrasting response, the HOD for Mpumalanga DARDLEA reported that the Department has not identified a strategic partner and are not certain if they will need to appoint one as the Department has the capacity.

 

Furthermore, the HOD reported that the Department was not consulted by the DRDLR before constructing the structure, and have since had discussions with the DRDLR to ensure that whenever the DRDLR needs to build new agricultural infrastructure in the Province, the Provincial Department responsible for Agriculture is consulted. A member of the Community Development Forum (CDF) also highlighted a lack of consultation by departments before they establish projects in communities. In addition, the community member also emphasised that the departments, in particular DRDLR also do not consider municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).

 

During the delegation’s engagement with the farmers that there are two secondary cooperatives that have an interest, and/or are expected to make use of the facility. A secondary cooperative reported that they were never consulted about the project and were not satisfied about its location including the planned Agri-park, as the farmers are situated far from the Packhouse and the road infrastructure was poor. The other secondary cooperative, which is still under establishment also highlighted that they were only consulted after the structure was built and the focus of the Packhouse then was for the farmers to utilise it to supply the nearby lodges. However, due to the DARDLEA’s initiatives, which gives all farmers the opportunity to supply produce to the School Nutrition Programme, the location of the Packhouse is not ideal.  The farmers, which form both secondary cooperatives, have committed to meeting with Departments to discuss a way forward, noting that Bushbuckridge has approximately 60 primary cooperatives and also backyard gardens.   

 

3.2.2 Allandale Mango and Citrus Estate (Fortune 40 Youth Incubator Project) (Bushbuckridge Local Municipality)

 

The Allandale Estate is a state farm that was bought by the former Gazankulu Government from Hall and Sons (the Halls juice company). Historically, the Allandale area was occupied by indigenous communities who used the land to produce agricultural commodities for home consumption before they were removed from the area in 1957 in order to avail the land for agricultural commercial use by Mr. Coetzee who was representing Hall and Sons. The farm was very productive and managed to produce enough fruit for domestic and export markets. After 1994, the state farm as it was then, after the former Gazankulu government bought it from Hall and Sons, was placed under the management of the Limpopo Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, the Limpopo Department of Agriculture did not pay much attention to the farm and it became gradually unproductive as it has been lying fallow for more than 20 years. The people who were forcefully removed from the land later successfully lodged a claim for the land to be transferred back to them. The claim process was reportedly completed and the only outstanding matter is the official handover of the land to its rightful beneficiaries. Meanwhile, the land belongs to the DRDLR.   The project was funded by the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) with a total budget of R3. 92 million.

 

Because the farm was lying fallow for so long, some of the infrastructure was stolen and damaged as such the beneficiary communities approached the Mpumalanga DARDLEA for assistance. Due to the amount of capital that is required to restore the farm to its former glory, the DARDLEA decided to resuscitate the project through the Fortune 40 Youth Incubator Programme. The Department spent R2.8 million on infrastructure for fencing, drip irrigation, a canal and boreholes because the irrigation was removed when the farm was bought. Further renovations are also being done on some of the buildings and these are expected to be completed in May 2017. The farm capacity is 130 hectares (ha) with water use rights for 100 ha. Currently, 0.5 ha has been planted with tomatoes on a drip irrigation system, while another 10 ha that will be under irrigation is under development. From the 0.5 ha, it was reported that the project receives between 17 and 72 crates of tomatoes and by the end of the season (May 2017), the number is expected to increase to up to 400 crates. The project, which is part of the School Nutrition Programme and also supply the local market, also has 8 ha that is planted with mangoes.

 

The HOD reported that the Allandale Fortune 40 project is one of the pilot youth development programmes that the provincial department has launched. The Fortune 40 projects are for a period of 3 years, where youth are trained on agribusiness and are expected to be able to be agricultural entrepreneurs by the end of the programme. The participating youth (trainees) receive a R2 000 monthly stipend. The Allandale Fortune 40 project involved 19 incubates, 8 females and 8 males but 3 incubates were not active (2 females and 1 male). The youth were selected from the surrounding beneficiary communities through consultations. DARDLEA has appointed an incubator/mentor to assist the youth with running the project. None of the trainees had any prior agricultural skills and are continuously receiving accredited training that will subsequently be linked to Marapyane College of Agriculture, once it is re-opened.  The DARDLEA also reported that the trainees have a bank account and money that is generated from sales belongs to them. Financial management and bookkeeping learning skills forms a key part of their training.  As part of an exit strategy, the Mpumalanga DARDLEA reported that they are in discussion with DRDLR, Department of Public Works (DPW) and Traditional Leaders to source available and unused land to place the youth after the 3-year training.  

 

The main concern raised by the delegation was the handing over of the project or farm without capital and infrastructure, which led to the project not being productive as it should.

 

 

3.2.3 Lebombo Border Post (Nkomazi Local Municipality)

 

Ms Phatheka Vikwa from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) presented a brief overview on border management in South Africa and indicated progress on the establishment of the Border Management Agency (BMA). It was reported that since 1994 South Africa made strides in demilitarising and deracialising the management of the country’s borders by introducing various capabilities to give effect to border management. The consequence of establishing these various organs of state, e.g. immigration control, customs control, border policing etc., resulted in the emergence of a silo approach to border control, border law enforcement and border protection. Various structures were subsequently put in place to attempt to coordinate the mandates and actions of these distinct organs of state in the border management environment:

 

  1. Border Affairs Committee Coordinating Committee (1996)
  2. National Inter-Departmental Structure (NIDS) (1997)
  3. Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee (BCOCC) (2001)
  4. Inter-Agency Clearing Forum (IACF) (2010)

 

Ms Vikwa reported that approximately 8 891 state officials from at least 5 organs of state (DHA, South African Revenue Service, DAFF, South African Police Service, Department of Health) are working at the country’s 72 Ports of Entry:

  1. With different conditions of service and remuneration;
  2. Implementing distinct Departmental mandates in at least 58 pieces of legislation;
  3. With competing priorities and deliverables;
  4. Having dissimilar tools of trade and equipment;
  5. With some systems that are not automated, e.g. DOH and DAFF;
  6. Engaging in limited sharing of information; and
  7. Lacking a single management, command and control structure.

 

The consequences of the above fragmentation were reported as:

  1. Non-aligned and often poor border control-related service delivery;
  2. Ineffective facilitation of the movement of persons and goods (unnecessary delays and cost to clients)
  3. Compromised joint efforts and outcomes resulting from different risk management tools and approaches;
  4. The ineffective utilisation of public resources due to limited information sharing;
  5. Inability to enforce a standard approach in dealing with border law enforcement transgressions;
  6. A higher volume of illegal goods entering the country;
  7. Corruption and organised crime thriving in a fragmented management environment
  8. An increase of undocumented foreign nationals within the country; and
  9. Working in silos, with agencies focusing on their own mandates.

 

Ms Vikwa further reported that from the year, 2000, various studies and reports have pointed to the failure of these structures to address the systemic and structural problems of coordination associated with fragmented border management. It was against this background that Cabinet decided in June 2013, to establish a BMA in South Africa under an integrated approach that will include the ceding of functions from relevant organs of state and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) was designated as the lead department for the BMA. In December 2014, the Cabinet further endorsed the BMA Vision and its key priorities for the Transitional Period (2015-2016). In September 2015, the Cabinet endorsed the BMA Bill (2015) for introduction to Parliament. The Bill was subsequently tabled in Parliament in 2016 and was adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on 07 March 2017.

 

The delegation was also briefed by Mr Munaka Tshifhiwa from the Directorate: Inspection Services at DAFF, on the role of DAFF at ports of entry. Mr Tshifhawa mentioned that the mandate of DAFF at the ports of entry is to manage risks associated with animals, plants and their products through internationally accepted procedures which, inter alia, include evaluation of applicable documents, inspections, sampling, supervision of application of mitigation treatments, certification and written orders or instruction at various stations. In addition, Mr Tshifhiwa mentioned that animal diseases and plant pests spread through infected fruits, vegetables and infected animals and animal products in baggage; and through trade and tourism. These have negative impacts on food security (resulting from outbreaks of plant and animal diseases and pests), job losses (to people who are directly and indirectly employed in the agricultural industry), trade barriers (as a result of outbreaks of diseases and pest) and economic losses. Mr Tshifhawa reported challenges facing agriculture on the ports of entry such as:

  1. Shortage of manpower
  2. Limited technologies (Information Technology (IT) systems)
  3. Shortage of infrastructure
  4. Smuggling of prohibited agricultural products through informal crossings
  5. Vehicle that are no longer roadworthy
  6. Consignments conveyed through rail are not controlled

 

DAFF recommended that there is a need for:

  1. Addition of personnel from sixteen (16) to forty (40)
  2. Accommodation for all shift working officials
  3. New functional computers
  4. Scanners
  5. Information Technology (IT) system to facilitate trade control
  6. Border fence security

 

3.2.4 Lebombo International Border fence and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) red line fence (Nkomazi Local Municipality)

 

The delegation also visited the Lebombo International Border fence and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) red line fence that is separating the Kruger National Park from South Africa’s Lebombo International Border with Mozambique. As the delegation were driving along the international border with Mozambique towards the FMD red line fence, the delegation noted the poor condition of the international border fence. On site, the delegation was briefed by the Provincial Veterinary Services officials, who highlighted the condition of the Lebombo International Border fence as has been observed by the delegation. It was reported that the poor state of the border fence and the lack of maintenance thereof was the main challenge for veterinarians (vets) in the Province as it creates difficulties in managing disease outbreaks from neighbouring countries.

 

The FMD red line fence, which borders Lebombo and Kruger National Park and is the responsibility of DAFF, was in excellent condition and is electrified. However, DAFF and the DARDLEA’s efforts to control and manage FMD outbreaks in the Province were made difficult by the poor condition of the International Border fence as observed by the delegation. It was reported that the Lebombo International Border fence, which is the responsibility of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the Department of Public Works (DPW), was last maintained 10 years ago. 

 

It was further reported that while the same fence between South Africa and Mozambique is still present but in poor condition. However, between South Africa and Swaziland, there is no fence, and this is a major concern as Swaziland is permanently infected with FMD. Therefore, the state of the border fence, which constrains FMD control and management in the Bushbuckridge area, negatively affects livestock farmers in the area as it is difficult for these farmers to market live animals outside of the area and are subsequently losing on export revenue. The Bushbuckridge area is an FMD-protected zone with vaccination i.e. animals are vaccinated every 4 months and the Department also carries out 7-day inspections. It was reported that there were supposed to be regular post-vaccination inspections but these are not consistently done due to budget constraints.    

 

Concern raised by the delegation:

  • The delegation was seriously concerned about the poor condition and lack of maintenance of the border fence between South Africa and Mozambique and noted the constraints under which the DAFF work at that port of entry.

 

3.2.5 Nkomazi West Maize Mill (Nkomazi Local Municipality)

 

The Nkomazi West Maize Mill project is situated at Magogeni, 35km from Malelane. Through questions raised by the delegation, it was reported that the project, which is funded in phases through the CASP grant, was initiated in 2010 but could not be finalised as the then Provincial Department redirected the funds elsewhere. It was also reported that the Provincial Department of Agriculture was placed under curatorship between 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years. The project was then revitalised in 2016/17 with funding from the CASP grant and is near completion with a Mill building, guard room, palisade fencing, a weighbridge and a borehole. It was reported that the project is expected to be completed in October 2017; and what is outstanding is the building of 2 x 50-ton silos, a grinding machine and an access road that will allow for turning of trucks away from the Main Road. The engineer who is involved in the project reported that approximately R4.8 million is needed to complete the project. The Mpumalanga DARDLEA reported that it has budgeted R6 million for 2017/18 for the completion of the project.  

 

The maize mill will be used by 500 beneficiaries (164 males, 266 females, 48 youth and 22 disabled) who constitute both subsistence and smallholder farmers that are planting maize on 6 700 ha from 17 surrounding villages under the Mhlaba, Mawewe and Matsamo Traditional Authorities. Production in the area is approximately 2.5 tons per ha and the mill is expected to mill approximately 1.2 tons of maize per hour. The DARDLEA reported that it assists farmers through Masibuyele eMasimini Programme, which also include mechanisation through funding from the Ilima/letsema grant and also fencing through the LandCare grant. The farmers are expected to form a cooperative that will run the Mill and the DARDLEA reported that it is in discussions with a potential strategic partner, Lethabo Milling from the Free State Province, which will assist the farmers to operate the mill on a commercial scale.

 

Concerns raised by the delegation:

  • The delegation raised a major concern regarding the conflicting information between the project profile that was provided to the Members and what was being reported by the officials and/or project managers. For example, the profile mentioned that the road to the project has been completed while the project managers indicated that the access road is still outstanding.  
  • The delegation was also not satisfied with the slow progress in the finalisation and implementation of the project that was initiated in 2010.  

 

Gert Sibande District Municipality

  

3.2.6 Maquabi Primary Cooperative (Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality)

 

The Maquabi Agricultural Primary Co-operative Ltd (Kalkbank farm) is situated in Daggakraal area (Ward 10) approximately 15km from Amersfoort town. The farm was acquired in 2008 through the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), which paid R11.5 million for the farm. The farm is currently leased by a cooperative of 6 beneficiaries (3 males and 3 females) and the manager is Mr Jeremiah Nkosi.  The total extent of the farm is 1 700 ha, of which 1 100 is arable (80 ha with irrigation capacity) and 600 ha is for grazing with 14 camps. It is therefore, very good for cropping and grazing on natural veld (Sweetveld dominated by Themeda triandra).

 

After the acquisition of the farm for leasing, the DRDLR issued the cooperative R5.2 million of Recap funding with a requirement for a strategic partner, which the DRDLR provided. For all PLAS farms, beneficiaries could not obtain Recap funding from the DRDLR without a strategic partner. Unfortunately, in most of these cases, the strategic partners appear to be the only individuals that benefit from the partnership instead of the project beneficiaries. Mr Nkosi reported that in their case, the strategic partner did not really teach them any useful skills about the farming business but only assisted them in spending the Recap funds and making uninformed decisions. In the process, the strategic partner made the farmers purchase expensive machinery, which they subsequently established that they did not really need. Mr Nkosi also highlighted that the previous owner from whom the DRDLR bought the farm, removed the irrigation system before selling the farm and the cooperative had to buy water rights separately when they took occupation.

 

The challenge that was highlighted for the leased PLAS farms was that the Department of Agriculture is unable to assist farmers with infrastructure as the farmers do not own the farm, only the DRDLR, as the owner, can do that. The Department of Agriculture can only assist with production, training and extension services. In this regard, the cooperative received funding and other assistance through Masibuyele eMasimini and Masibuyele eSibayeni (R1.5 million for livestock including disaster relief to date) Programmes. Through the Masibuyele eSibayeni Programme, the cooperative received 25 pregnant Drakensberger heifers and 1 bull, as well as 25 Merino ewes and 1 ram. The project currently has 56 breeding cows, 2 breeding bulls and 50 calves; and 192 ewes and 8 rams. In terms of training, the beneficiaries are attending short courses at Ubuhle Farmers Academy in Delmas and have also done excursions to other commercial and research farms. The farmers receive assistance from the Agricultural Research Council (ARC)’s Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo (KyD) Programme for livestock recording and weighing.

 

The farm has 5 permanent workers and also hires 7 seasonal workers. Their market is the auction sales in Ermelo and Standerton and future plans are to enter into contracts with abattoirs in South Africa and beyond its borders. In terms of cropping, Mr Nkosi mentioned that they need silos to store maize so that they can be able to sell when the price is good and are also interested in agroprocessing, particularly livestock feed. The Department categorises the farm as an emerging commercial farm, which is according to produce and annual income (more than R3.5 million per year). The farm also accommodates students from Gert Sibande Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for their experiential learning.

 

3.2.7 Pixley Family Cooperative – Fortune 40 Youth Incubator Project (Dr Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality)

 

The farm is located between Volkrust and Amersfoort. The cooperative is made up of 10 members (5 females and 5 males) who are young farmers from the surrounding community. The project was initiated after a pronouncement by the Premier of the Province, Mr D.D. Mabuza, during the 2015 State of the Province Address. The farm was then acquired in August 2015.  The Project Manager, Mr Mndawu, briefed the delegation as the Extension Officer and the engineer were not available to lead the briefing. The project manager led the project from inception to the current stage. In addition, Mr Mndawu reported that the farm was currently leased to the former owner, whose lease contract expired in November 2016. The contract was extended to allow the leasing farmer, who has a farm in Free State, to remove his livestock by the end of March 2017. The outgoing leasing farmer had two tenant labour families on the farm that have since been incorporated into the cooperative as caretakers and general workers. Their children will be transported to school on a daily basis while the parents will work under the cooperative. Both families will receive adequate housing as the currently occupied houses are dilapidated. An agreement has been reached that the only female tenant will be employed as a cook for the cooperative members when farm operations begin in April 2017. Both tenant families were unaware of their employment and were worried of eviction at the end of March 2017.

 

The delegation was informed that the project received a R4 million budget that will be spent on training of the cooperative members, and R1.4 million that was allocated for infrastructure development. Infrastructure included the purchase of park homes, drilling of one borehole, fencing around the park homes and the animal handling facility. It was reported that water supply and fencing around the park homes were expected to be completed at the end of March 2017. The park homes are fitted with solar panels and supplied with adequate water from the borehole. The second borehole has also been drilled to meet the water needs of the cattle when the farm is operational. A final report on the second borehole is not available. One of the park homes will be converted into a computer lab with internet access. There is no allocated budget for the erection of the boundary fence where the livestock will be kept. The beneficiaries hoped that funding will be allocated during the 2017/18 financial year for the fencing, which will be outsourced to an external service provider. Once the funding is secured, feeding camps will be set up within the farm to manage livestock grazing.

 

Mr Mndawu reported that the cooperative members received training at Volkrust and staying at their homes. The courses offered are accredited and certificates of completion are issued when a certain level of competency is acquired. Transport and catering for the cooperative members is arranged and paid for by the Provincial Department of Agriculture (DARDLEA) during theoretical training and to visit the farm every week. Each member is paid a monthly stipend of R2 000.  It was reported that another separate budget of R4.8 million was allocated for the entire farm development including the upgrading of the residential area for the cooperative members. According to the plan, the trainees are to occupy their prepared dwellings in the farm in April 2017. The ablution facilities are not completed yet. There was a safety concern as some of the members are young females. It was reported that the safety of the dwellings will be upgraded in due time to ensure safety of occupants and the equipment.

 

The project purchased a 60kW tractor (R900 000) and other implements (R500 000) for R1.4 million; and also bought 500 calves (498 heifers and 2 bull calves) in January 2017 at a cost of R1 million. The Project Manager was not sure whether the calves were for dairy or beef production, but believed they were likely to be beef cattle. The 500 calves were kept at the Department’s Agricultural Research Station in Ermelo in a separate camp as the Research Station has more than 3 000 breeding cattle for various experiments. The Research Station is taking care of the livestock in the meantime as they have the required human (e.g. veterinarians and animal scientists) and financial resource capacity. The cooperative members intend planting lucerne on a 10 ha of land so that when the livestock is moved to the farm, there will be supplementary feeding for them. An amount of R800 000 has been set aside for this and other operational expenses when the calves are moved to the farm.

 

The project has two incubators. The current incubator focuses on theoretical training of the cooperative members while the other will focus on the practical training of the cooperative members when the cattle are delivered. The latter incubator will be based at the farm with the cooperative members for a duration that will depend on the confidence of the trainees to run the farming operations independently. The farm has no electricity due to an outstanding ESKOM electricity debt from the outgoing farmer. There is a tentative agreement that the DARDLEA will settle the outstanding electricity debt owed by the outgoing farmer so that electricity supply can be reinstated to the farm. The concern is that the solar panels may not supply enough electricity to all the farm operations that will require electricity.

 

Issues and concerns noted by the delegation:

  • The delegation resolved that DAFF and the DARDLEA should provide a proper project profile with all the details as the Project Manager seemed unsure about certain details in the project such as the type of breed and the age of the calves.
  • In addition, the Departments should identify farms where the cooperative can be relocated at the end of their training to enable them to run their own business.
  • The delegation also highlighted that there is no need to outsource the fencing of the farm, instead, the cooperative members should fence the farm under the supervision of the incubator. The delegation also questioned the rationale for buying calves from private breeders when the Research Station has the capacity to supply the calves.

 

3.2.8 Vukuzenzele NPO Project (Dr Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality)

 

The Vukuzenzele NPO project is a PLAS farm that was transferred to the beneficiaries in 2007 through a lease agreement by the DRDLR. The project consists of 7 beneficiaries (3 females, 3 males and 1 youth). The project chairperson works as the farm manager and is full-time at the farm. In addition, the chairperson mentioned that due to financial constraints and a lack of Government support, some of the beneficiaries pursued employment elsewhere in order to survive but are still involved in the project. The project has 3 workers that are casually employed (2 males and 1 female). The farm was bought by the DRDLR for R8 million from the previous owner without any removable assets including the irrigation system. The beneficiaries applied for Recap funding but never received any since the transfer of the farm to them, a fact that has aggravated their challenges since some of the infrastructure and mechanisation machinery was removed by the previous owner. The project receives assistance with training and extension services from the Provincial Department of Agriculture. It operates as mixed farming with cattle, sheep, pigs and grains. The farm boundary fence is in a good condition but the grazing camps are not properly demarcated.

 

Due to a lack of mechanisation, the beneficiaries are unable to plant all the arable land. The farmers are dependant on the provincial Masibuyele eMasimini tractors, which they obtain on loan but are unable to keep for long as they service several farmeres. They also bale grass but due to the limited access to the tractor and a mower, this curtails their ability to bale more grass.  In 2012, the project received 31 Nguni cattle through the Masibuyele eSibayeni Programme and they currently have 112 Nguni cattle, 82 mixed breed cattle, 25 goats (3 bucks and 22 does) and 9 sheep (1 ram and 8 ewes). The project also has a piggery, which the beneficiaries started in 2007 in another property before they moved to the farm. The current piggery structure on the farm was renovated and subdivided in 2016.  The farmers market their produce and livestock that is not needed for breeding at an auction in Standerton.

 

The project has been receiving visits from the ARC as part of the Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo Scheme to assist them with livestock improvement.  The project members were also encouraged to apply and participate on the Livestock Incubation Programme provided by Mobile Agri-Skills Development and Training (MASDT). The Chairperson also highlighted their concern regarding the future of the project as their lease with DRDLR has expired. He emphasised the need for assistance in this regard, as well as with Recap funding from DRDLR for infrastructure development and mechanisation support, as well as access to markets.

 

Issue noted by the delegation:

  • The delegation requested that DAFF and the DARDLEA should assist the beneficiaries with the expired lease as a matter of urgency.

 

 

Nkangala District Municipality

 

3.2.9 Valschfontein Veterinary Clinic (Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality)

 

The Vaslchfontein (Siyabuswa) Veterinary Clinic is an old Department building that was built in the 1980s at Siyabuswa. It also houses the State Veterinary offices and comprises a registered consulting room that renders veterinary clinical work. The clinic services are rendered to indigent communities in the area that cannot access veterinary services from private veterinary clinics. Most of the services are rendered using Mobile Veterinary Clinics to reach farmers that are far from Siyabuswa. Nkangals District has 3 Mobile Clinics. The main challenges at the Veterinary Clinic were reported as follows:

 

  1. There’s a need for a larger fully functioning clinic to cater for the needs of the community as currently, only one consulting room is used to render services. Therefore, there is a need for office space as well as examination and operating space.
  2. Lack of equipment and veterinary supplies, for example, the clinic depends on Nelspruit office for vaccinations and the large fridge is not operational, which impacts the ability of the Clinic to store enough vaccines.
  3. Inadequate transport to adequately service remote areas.
  4. High turnover of critical posts.  

 

3.2.10 Marapyane College of Agriculture (Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality)

 

The Marapyane College of Agriculture, which historically was a Teachers College, was opened in February 2012 as a satellite branch of Lowveld College of Agriculture, which is in Mbombela. Guided by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), Marapyane was established as a satellite of the Lowveld College of Agriculture. The accredited programmes of the Lowveld College of Agriculture were therefore, duplicated in Marapyane in line with the conditions of the CHE. During its re-opening as an Agricultural College, the Provincial Department of Agriculture further employed a total of 22 academic staff members, including the Principal, Heads of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs and other support staff. A total of 122 students were enrolled for a Diploma in Agriculture (NQF Level 6).

 

Later that same year (July 2012), the President of the Republic pronounced the development of Lowveld College of Agriculture as the seat of the new Mpumalanga University. During engagements with the new University of Mpumalanga (UMP), it was indicated that the University would not be interested in taking Marapyane College as its campus. Subsequently, as of January 2015, Marapyane ceased to exist as a College of Agriculture and the facility stood empty as College staff and accredited courses were transferred to Mpumalanga University.  This was in spite of the Provincial Department’s submission that such action would jeopardise the facility, especially if the University’s intention was to incorporate and take ownership of all accredited programmes of the College including staff and equipment. It was reported that the Provincial Department has spent approximately R54 million to revitalise the College between 2011 and 2013 and half of the expenditure came from DAFF. It was also highlighted that the Proclamation to incorporate the College into the University only referred to Lowveld (Mbombela) but does not mention Marapyane.

 

After the decision of the University not to use the College as a satellite and the transfer of staff and students, DAFF terminated the grant for the running of the College. However, the Provincial Department, with the support of the Premier, has motivated to the National Treasury to revive the College and use it as a Farmer Training Centre with AgriSETA-accredited training from NQF Level 1-4 (Level 4 is equivalent to matric). The motivation received a positive response and the Province has budgeted approximately R5 million in 2017/18 to revive the College. It was reported that DAFF has promised to assist with CASP funding to revitalise some of the infrastructure. The Municipality has also been advocating for the re-opening of the College as a training institute and also highlighted that the facility also has a well-equipped Veterinary Centre that is even bigger than the Veterinary Clinic that the delegation visited at Siyabuswa. The Provincial Department reported that its short-term plan is to appoint a Principal for the College at the Director level.

 

The delegation noted that the closing of the College is a policy matter that needs to be discussed at a senior level.

 

3.2.11 Meeting with the Provincial Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in Mpumalanga Province

 

  1. Summary of Proceedings

The Multi-Party Women’s Caucus met with the Provincial Multi-Party Caucus in the Mpumalanga Legislature. The meeting was chaired by the chairperson of the National Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, Hon. Morutoa who commenced with introductory remarks and then indicated the purpose of the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was for the Caucuses to share information on issues affecting women. This was very important to ensure that women in legislatures establish and nurture positive relations with each other. Furthermore, the chairperson noted that this should also include women in local government in order to jointly fight the gender injustices in legislatures; Municipal Councils and in society generally.

 

To this end, the chairperson emphasised that as public representatives, it was important to engage with women in their constituencies and that forging partnerships with civil society organisations and broader communities at large was key. In conclusion, the chairperson committed that as the National Multi-Party Women’s Caucus it would like to form long and lasting partnership with the Mpumalanga Women’s Caucus. She motivated that as members of the South African Legislative Sector the likelihood is that they face similar challenges, hence it’s best to tackle these collectively, united as women across racial and party lines, with the involvement of men.

 

Hereafter, the chairperson then handed over to the Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature to brief the meeting.

 

(b) Briefing by the Speaker of Mpumalanga Legislature on the establishment, function and structure of the Mpumalanga Multi-Party Women’s Caucus

 

The Speaker of the Provincial Legislature, Hon. Shongwe, who is also the Chairperson of the Provincial Legislature in the Province and the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Siwela, presented to the delegation. Hon. Shongwe indicated that the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature is comprised of 30 Members of the Provincial Legislature, 19 males and 11 females. The Legislature consists of twenty (20) Members of Parliament, six (6) of whom are women. Moreover, in the Provincial Executive there are ten (10) members, (5) of whom are women. The 6 women in the Provincial Legislature launched the Multi-Party Caucus in the Province.

 

Having noted the current structure of the Legislature and that of the Provincial Executive, Hon. Shongwe indicated that the Women’s Caucus was pleased with the current gender demographics. However, Hon. Shongwe acknowledged that the Women’s Caucus are aware of the gender disparity within the Mpumalanga Provincial Departments as top management continues to be male dominated. Hence, the Mpumalanga’s Women’s Caucus have alerted the Executive of the need to transform the status quo.

 

Herewith is a summary of other concerns and challenges identified by the Mpumalanga Women’s Caucus:

a)         Gender disparity: The Speaker and Deputy Speaker were also concerned by the gender disparity in senior management posts within Provincial Departments and the Office on Status of Women in the Province (OSW). The Women’s Caucus will engage the Provincial Departments in terms of their organograms and programmes for economic empowerment to assess whether women benefit from programmes of the Departments.

b)         Amakhosikati: The Women’s Caucus identified Amakhosikati (the wives of Chiefs) as women who are also being disadvantaged and require assistance. Whilst government caters for the Chiefs and allocates a budget for this, the Chief’s wives are not being taken care of by the State. It was reported that these women do not receive any recognition for their role as women in leadership. The Caucus is of the opinion that these women should be allocated some responsibility. For example, land should be allocated for these women to lead agricultural programmes for generating food and ensuring its security for their constituency and/or commercial purposes to benefit their community.

c)         Resolutions not monitored: The Women’s Caucus also indicated that it wants to track resolutions adopted by the Legislature to ensure that these resolutions are implemented and this should be monitored by the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus.

d)         Lack of a ring-fenced budget: The Women’s Caucus was concerned that it does not have its own budget and proposed that the Speaker’s Office and the Premier’s Office discuss the issue of allocating a budget to the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus.

e)         Albinism discrimination: Concerns were also raised about the rights violations experienced by people with Albinism in the Province. To this end, the Mpumalanga Legislature would hold a Parliament for people with disabilities in particular people with Albinism to deal with their challenges.

 

Initiatives by the Mpumalanga Women’s Caucus:

  1. The Speaker indicated that on 30 March 2017, the Multi–Party Women’s Caucus intends to rebuild the Women’s Caucus at Municipalities in the Province and this will be initiated in the Mbombela Municipality.
  2. The Women’s Caucus has initiated numerous programmes such as widowhood etc.
  3. The Women’s Caucus was working with the Commission for Gender Equality, Office on Status of Women in the Premier’s Office and Select Committee on Women, Children, Youth and People with Disabilities on raising awareness on issues related to women in the Province.
  4. The Women’s Caucus was also working with the Amakhosikati structure, which is the structure for women in, and/or wives of Traditional Leadership and noticed that there is inequality within Traditional Leadership. The Speaker indicated that the local Chiefs are given assistance by the Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, which is not provided to Amakhosikati; and would therefore, raise the matter with the Department.
  5. The Women’s Caucus will also engage with the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs on the issue of land access, which will assist Amakhosikati to farm.
  6. Furthermore, the Speaker informed the delegation that the Legislature launched its Commonwealth Women Parliamentarian Chapter and that the CPA President is a male and from the Mpumalanga Legislature, which gives further impetus to the drive to involve men in the fight for gender equality. The Speaker emphasised the point that there is a need to transform men into activists for gender equality.

 

The Speaker also identified areas where the Caucus plans to focus in order to benefit women, these areas include:

  1. Promote the economic empowerment of women through the establishment of women’s cooperatives.
  2. Ensure that all Provincial Department’s budgets are gender responsive. This includes ensuring that companies that do business with Government have women shareholders.
  3.  Ensure greater participation of women in public participation (especially at municipal level) in order to ensure that policy decisions respond to the needs of local women.
  4. Involve men in their campaigns in order to inspire young boys in support of gender activism.
  5. Embark on a moral regeneration drive to address some of the societal challenges.

 

3.2.12 Legal Clinic: Commission for Gender Equality (Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality)

 

The Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency attended the legal clinic organised by the Commission in the Dr JS Moroka Municipality. The purpose of the Legal Clinic was outlined as follows:

 

  1. To demonstrate how the CGE fulfils its mandate as the Legal Clinic was formed as part of a follow up after the CGE previously handled complaints from the community. 
  2. To highlight the challenges faced by rural communities.
  3. To provide an opportunity for the community to interact with Committee members and to indicate how the CGE has assisted in addressing their complaints.
  4. To provide further opportunity for the community to engage with Commission and Committee members on issues that relate to women empowerment and gender equality.
  5. To give an opportunity to other social partners to respond to the challenges of the community and availing their resources that would empower the community.
  6. To educate the community on legislation that seek to empower women and the participation of women in the economy.

 

The Commission invited the delegation from the Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality, represented by the Mayor and Traditional Leaders, represented by the Headman. The Commissioner responsible for Mpumalanga Province outlined the purpose of the Legal Clinic. The Community was then encouraged to lodge their complaints with the Legal Officer of the CGE for further assistance.  Thereafter, the community was requested to interact with the Committee, the Mayor and the Commission.

 

The community members highlighted the following concerns/challenges:

  1. Alcohol abuse is a contributing factor that leads to gender-based violence and disrespect by children towards their parents. The Government was requested to minimise alcohol distribution in South Africa.
  2. Challenges with maintenance cases. It was suggested that there are cases where persons are not appearing before the Maintenance Courts and warrant of arrests are not issued by the Maintenance Courts.
  3. Challenges pertaining to claiming estates at the Master of the High Court especially with customary marriages that are not registered.
  4. Concerned with parents that do not maintain their children, which in some cases lead to exhumation of bodies for DNA testing, which is not African.  
  5. High rates of gender-based violence and incest cases and submitted that SAPS has not been able to assist in this regard. One member of the community highlighted that a father had raped his child and threatened to kill her and the mother if they reported the case. The accused was released on bail and went back to the house, where the victim is reportedly feeling unsafe.
  6. Concerns about legal provisions that mandate grandparents to maintain their grandchildren.
  7. Child marriages – it was highlighted that there are children in the areas that were in customary marriages and were denied access to school.
  8. The community urged Parliament and the Commission to become more visible in their areas and requested that Youth Centres should be prioritised.  

 

3.3        Reflection and way forward

 

On the last day of the oversight visit the delegation was supposed to meet with the Mpumalanga Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the representatives from the Local Economic Development (LED) Units. However, the meeting was postponed due to non-availability of the MEC and the HOD for the DARDLEA as well as senior officials from DAFF.

 

As per the resolution taken during the oversight visit, on 01 August 2017, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries met in Parliament with the MEC for Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), senior officials of DARDLEA and DAFF for a response on the issues that have been raised during the oversight visit.

 

3.3.1      Response from the MEC for Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), officials from DARDLEA and DAFF

 

The MEC for DARDLEA, Mr V Shongwe, reported that the main focus of the Provincial Department is to ensure that it uses the massive procurement spend of Government departments and entities to revitalise agriculture and the agro-processing value chain to unlock the potential of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and cooperatives, as well as township and rural enterprises. He highlighted the Province’s Fortune 40 Incubation Programme, some of whose projects the Committees visited, and its linkage to the Provincial Government School Nutrition Programme to create markets for smallholder producers including the Fortune 40 youth.  The MEC indicated that he is still fairly new in the Department but he has also observed some of the issues that the Parliamentary delegation raised as concerns during the visit to Mpumalanga including lack of intergovernmental relations among departments and the different spheres of Government.

 

The MEC reported on some of the challenges he also observed and how these are addressed by the Province. In this regard, he highlighted the following:

  1. Improper equipment procurement and maintenance e.g. tractors, as well as infrastructure (on-farm and off-farm) provision and maintenance. He indicated that he has since held a few meetings with the top management of the Provincial Department to discuss the matter including other issues that affect the functioning of the Department. In addition, the Provincial Department is also planning to establish a tractor assembling and maintenance plant to ensure that the Province assembles high quality tractors that are suitable for the South African terrain and soil types. 
  2. To further address some of the challenges, the MEC reported that he has taken a decision to take some of the responsibilities away from the regions and to reshuffle the Provincial Department’s management as some officials were not doing what they were supposed to do.    
  3. The Provincial Department is taking the national policy imperatives very seriously to improve the agricultural sector in the Province and is working closely with commodity groups on skills development; as well as with commercial farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to share experiences and knowledge.
  4. To ensure that smallholder farmers become active participants in the agricultural economy, the Mpumalanga Province is establishing three Agri-Parks and has secured land to construct Agri-hubs to ensure that produce by farmers reaches markets quicker. The hubs are meant to act as a feeder to the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market and to ensure that households who produce for home consumption are able to sell their surplus and make money for themselves.
  5. The Province has also taken a decision to re-open the Marapyane Agricultural College to cater for, and serve, as a farmer-training centre for previously disadvantaged farmers.
  6. To strengthen intergovernmental relations and to prevent projects becoming white elephants (e.g. location of the Huttington Packhouse), the Provincial Department is working closely and holds regular meetings with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and other relevant Departments to address land reform issues (e.g. Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) projects that were under lease) and loss of agricultural land to mining. With respect to existing PLAS projects, DARDLEA had engagements with all the affected farmers and is currently holding discussions and monthly meetings with the DRDLR on the issues.

 

The Chief Director from the Mpumalanga Provincial Department (DARDLEA), Mr M Dagada and the Chief Director for Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) from DAFF, Ms E Mtshiza, presented responses on issues pertaining to specific projects and other issues that were raised during the Committees’ Joint Oversight Visit to Mpumalanga Province.

 

4.          CONCLUSION

 

The Committees thanked the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs; the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Commission for Gender Equality and Office of the Premier: Office on the Status of Women (OSW) for participating in meetings and oversight visit, as well as the Mpumalanga Multi-Party Women’s Caucus.

 

5.          COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS: AGRICULTURE

                                                     

The Joint Portfolio Committees including Parliament’s Multi-Party Women’s Caucus having interacted with Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) including the MEC, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF), the projects management teams and the beneficiaries of the different projects, made the following observations:

 

5.1    The efforts of the DARDLEA in addressing lack of intergovernmental relations (IGR) and poor stakeholder engagement, in order to address challenges with PLAS projects and other land reform related issues e.g. funding for off-farm infrastructure.

 

5.2        The Mpumalanga Province’s initiative to ensure market access for smallholder farmers through the School Nutrition Programme; and the decision to re-open Marapyane College for farmer training. These were highly commended. However, in terms of markets, the Departments need to think bigger than the local markets as growth of the enterprises depend on them being able to generate enough revenue to sustain themselves.

 

5.3        Lack of clear norms and standards for support that is given to smallholder  

producers including a clear exit strategy for all funded projects remains a concern. Such norms and standards will ensure that supported beneficiaries can, at some stage, independently operate agribusinesses or projects without being dependent on Government. Infrastructure development (e.g. road infrastructure and storage facilities) and access to markets other than the School Nutrition Programme (e.g. national and export markets) were reported as major challenges that threaten the sustainability of some of the projects.

 

5.4        Lack of clear gender mainstreaming and availability of user-friendly facilities for people with disabilities in most of the Provincial Department’s activities and projects. For example, some of the projects that were visited including the new structures, did not have ramps for wheelchair access, which will also limit the participation of people with physical disabilities.

 

5.5        Long duration for projects and interventions to become operational. The delegation was particularly concerned with the lengthy period that it is taking the country to establish an integrated Border Management Agency that was approved by Cabinet 4 years ago (June 2013).  The delegation observed the negative impact of weak IGR in the operation of the Lebombo Border between South Africa and Mozambique, where the different Departments that operate at the Border have inter alia different working facilities, systems and conditions of service; as well as dissimilar tools of trade and equipment. As a result, the Departments that are responsible for the construction of the Border Fence including its regular maintenance do not seem to understand the magnitude of the resultant loss to the livestock industry in the Bushbuckridge area as a result of not having a secure Border Fence to control animal movements between the two countries.

 

5.6      The criteria that was used by the DRDLR in the implementation of PLAS and the associated Recapitalisation and Development Programme (Recap) funding. For example, some projects received Recap funding (e.g. Maquabi Primary Cooperative, also at Pixley kaIsaka Seme Local Municipality) while some did not receive Recap funding (Vukuzenzele NPO). The Vukuzenzele NPO has been leasing the PLAS farm from DRDLR for almost 10 years and to date have never received any Recap funding. One of the criteria for PLAS farm beneficiaries who received Recap funding was the obligation to have a strategic partner. The beneficiaries at Maquabi highlighted that they did not benefit from the presence of the strategic partner, who was given to them by the DRDLR. Instead, most of the technical support and other training that they required was received from, and facilitated by the DARDLEA.

 

5.7        The obligatory use of strategic partners to assist beneficiaries in PLAS farms as the financial benefits of the partnership in most cases, accrue to them instead of the beneficiaries that they are supposed to assist. The delegation was of the opinion that training of farmers should be facilitated and if possible, done by the Department of Agriculture and mentorship should form part of the Department’s mandate. Where there is a need for a mentor, beneficiaries themselves and/or the DARDLEA are in a better position to find suitable candidates to assist the emerging farmers than the DRDLR.

 

5.8     Lack of monitoring and evaluation (M & E) of conditional grants by DAFF

(national Department), which transfers funding from conditional grants such as CASP, Ilima/letsema and LandCare to Provinces for service delivery and project implementation remains a major concern. Members were concerned about the lengthy period it takes for projects to get off the ground to benefit the communities for which they are intended. It was observed that had DAFF been effectively monitoring conditional grant use and project implementation, most of the challenges could have been identified and rectified sooner. It was observed that most projects have been initiated more than three years ago, yet, some were still not operational with some having been abandoned at some stage e.g. the Nkomazi West Maize Mill that was initiated in 2010.

 

5.9        Use of consultants or outsourced contractors for construction and maintenance

          work in projects. The delegation questioned the rationale for outsourcing some of the work such as fencing (e.g. at the Pixley Family Cooperative) instead of capacitating the project beneficiaries to do the work themselves.

 

  1. The delegation acknowledged the efforts of the Province to address shortage of

veterinarians including appropriate infrastructure for veterinary facilities to address challenges that are faced by Provincial Veterinary Services such as the Siyabuswa (Valschfontein) Veterinary Clinic at Nkangala District, which was visited by the delegation.   

 

  1. Notwithstanding the challenges that were raised by the MEC and the corrective   

measures that are being implemented, the delegation was generally not satisfied with the slow progress in the implementation of projects and lack of initiatives by both the National and the Provincial Department of Agriculture in fully engaging with other departments whose activities have an impact on how the two fulfill their mandates. In Mpumalanga, for example, Agriculture and Rural Development and Land Reform are within the same Department and therefore, have the same political principal, yet, lack of progress in some of the visited projects was attributed to Land Reform policies.  

6.          COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: AGRICULTURE

 

Following interactions with the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) including the MEC, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Committees make the following recommendations to the National Assembly for the attention of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Mpumalanga DARDLEA: 

 

6.1        During each 2017/18 Quarterly Report briefing that DAFF will have with            

Parliament, it should continuously provide progress reports on all the projects that were visited by the Committees during the oversight visit to Mpumalanga.

 

  1.       DAFF should submit a progress report on the establishment of the Border

Management Agency and the refurbishment of the Lebombo International Border Fence between South Africa and Mozambique, which plays a role in the control of FMD. Report to Parliament by the end of October 2017.

 

6.3        DAFF, DARDLEA and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

(DRDLR) should submit to Parliament a comprehensive report on all PLAS farms in Mpumalanga including beneficiary details, strategic partners and criteria used to select them, previous and current support provided by each Department and current activities in, and/or plans for, the farms. Report should be submitted in Parliament by the end of October 2017.

 

6.4        The Minister should ensure that the Mpumalanga DARDLEA submits to

Parliament, comprehensive reports on Agri-Parks in Mpumalanga, the Fortune 40 Youth Incubator Programme (including details on incubators and incubatees) and the Marapyane College of Agriculture (its refurbishment including costs thereof and new plans).  Reports should be submitted by the end of October 2017.

 

6.5        DAFF should submit to Parliament by the end of October 2017, the Norms and

Standards for the Draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Support that were approved by its Executive Committee (EXCO) in March 2017; and also provide progress report on the development of the Policy, which is expected to address the anomalies that currently exist in the support that is given to smallholder producers across provinces. 

 

6.6        DAFF and DARDLEA should develop plans for gender mainstreaming to

facilitate maximum participation of women in all its programmes and further ensure that all its buildings, project facilities and other structures are user-friendly and accessible to people with physical disabilities.  The plans should be submitted to Parliament by the end of November 2017.

7.          COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS: WOMEN’S ISSUES

 

After interacting with the Mpumalanga Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, the Office on the Status of Women (OSW) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), the Committees made the following observations on issues affecting women:

 

7.1        The good work by the Provincial Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in reaching out to

communities while seeking to make a significant impact on the lives of women; and in this regard, the Parliamentary delegation undertook to share the successes of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature (MPL) in the National Parliament and further noted that these best practices should be copied to other Provinces.

 

7.2        Constant engagement and cooperation among women in decision making positions, including the Legislatures, were found to be key in strengthening the leadership capacity amongst women, and thus, adding impetus to the fight for gender equality.

 

7.3        The importance of educating the ‘boy child’ on gender equality to ensure that they grow to be men that support gender equality e.g. the He for She programme that was launched by the Province in 2015/16. In addition, gender equality would have no meaning without the economic empowerment of women.

 

7.4        The need to embark on a moral regeneration drive, as some societal challenges require a transformation of societal values and norms that perpetuate gender inequality.  

 

7.5        There were gender disparities across all departments with respect to representation in decision making and senior management structures. It was noted that in some cases, there might be one or two women that hold senior positions, while at subordinate level there will be even fewer women.

 

7.6        The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) was operating under budgetary constraints and the delegation undertook to raise the matter with the Standing Committee on Appropriation.          

 

8.          COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: WOMEN’S ISSUES

 

Following interactions with the Mpumalanga Legislature’s Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and the Office on the Status of Women (OSW), the Committees make the following recommendations to the National Assembly for the attention of the Minister of Women in the Presidency and CGE: 

 

8.1   Department of Women in the Presidency

 

8.1.1    The Department of Women in the Presidency (hereinafter referred to as the

Department) should engage with the Mpumalanga Office on the Status of Women through the Office of the Premier, for strengthening the He for She Programme to ensure that ‘boy children’ are taught about gender equality from an early age.  The Department should submit and present a progress report to Parliament by the end of January 2018.  

 

  1. The Department should engage with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Small Business Development in order to accelerate the economic empowerment of local women through the establishment of agricultural cooperatives. The Department should also engage the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform for assistance with land allocation to women for commercial farming. The Department should submit and present a progress report in this regard to Parliament before the end of March 2018.

 

  1. The Department should engage with the National Treasury to ensure that Provincial Departments’ budgets are gender responsive and a monitoring Action Plan for gender responsive budgeting should be developed and presented to Parliament by the end of January 2018.  

 

  1. The Department should collaborate with the Office on the Status of Women through the Office of the Premier in Mpumalanga to embark on a programme for moral regeneration in order to change some of the societal norms that reinforce gender inequality. Report on progress to Parliament before the of March 2018.

 

8.2     Commission for Gender Equality

 

8.2.1     The Commission should engage the Office on the Status of Women in Mpumalanga on women’s representation at senior management level in the Provincial Departments as well as in the Office to address gender disparities. Report on progress before the end of March 2018.

 

Report to be considered.   

 

 

Documents

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