ATC200901: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development during the House Sitting Of 13 June 2017, as Adopted on 27 August 2020
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 13 JUNE 2017, AS ADOPTED ON 27 AUGUST 2020
On 13 June 2017, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (Minister) made the following executive undertakings during the Question and Answer Session: in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “For the 2017-18 financial year, we seek to continue the strategic approach of RAAVC in partnership with relevant national departments such as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the Department of Trade and Industry, including sector organisations, labour organisations, and civil society."
- Executive Undertaking 2: “The establishment of the Fisheries Transformation Council, in accordance with the Marine Living Resource Act 18 of 1998, Chapter 3 section 5(29) will be prioritised.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “The department will soon start with the FRAP 2020 process for the 12 fishing sectors that were allocated in 2005 and 2013.”
1.4 Executive Undertaking 4: “Poultry production has been allocated R128 million which will benefit 46 projects and create 1 789 jobs.”
- Executive Undertakings 5: “Hon members, to address the transformation imperative the department is committed to a gender centric approach in its various programmes. The Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award is but one such initiative that recognises the role women play in shifting perceptions of what a successful farmer looks like.”
1.6 Executive Undertakings 6: “It is also important to target young people especially agriculture graduates who are unemployed and ensure that we facilitate their experiential learning through mentorships and exposure to commercial farms.”
1.7 Executive Undertakings 7: “There is a critical need to capacitate our animal production, food and health safety branch; as they are at the forefront of managing and detecting potential outbreaks that could adversely affect our sector.”
- PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 28 February 2018, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After its referral to the Committee, the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings, which falls under its respective portfolio.
- MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE
On 12 February 2020, the Deputy Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting with the Deputy Minister and relevant officials of the Department:
3.1 Hon Z V Ncitha, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon M P Mmola, ANC, Mpumalanga;
3.4 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West
3.5 Hon A B Gxoyiya, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon C Visser, DA, North-West
3.7 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape
3.8 Hon S Zandamela, EFF, Mpumalanga; and
3.9 Hon S E Mfayela, IFP, KwaZulu-Natal
The Committee Members present, at the meeting, were supported by the following Committee officials:
3.10 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.11 Adv. T Sterris-Jaffer; Committee Researcher;
3.12 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.13 Mr M Nkwali, Researcher, Office of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.
The following representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.14 Hon. M Skwatsha, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
3.15 Mr Mike Mlengana: Director General;
3.16 Mr. M Ramasodi: Deputy Director General (DDG);
3.17 Mr A Hawes: DDG: Food Security and Agrarian Reform;
3.18 Mr M Kgobokoe: DDG: Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation;
3.19 Ms A Stevens: Chief Director: Operations Support;
3.20 Mr A Tluku: Technical Specialist;
3.21 Ms P C Ngwenya-Mabila: Technical Specialist;
3.22 Ms E N Mafani, Parliamentary Coordinator;
- Mr M Sithole: Parliamentary Liaison Officer- Deputy Minister; and
- Mr. M L Phosa: Parliamentary Liaison Officer
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
In their progress report to the Committee, the Deputy Minister and the Director-General reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
In his opening remarks, Mr M Mlengana commenced by informing that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Developments’ (DALFRD) 2017 undertakings had been overtaken by a series of structural and institutional events and changes. As a result of the reconfiguration of government Departments after the 2019 elections, challenges emerged for the Department and also a disruption to the DAFF programmes. However, the Department indicated that the presentation still addresses questions around job creation and audit findings under DAFF.
Since the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is now merged with Agriculture, Mr M Mlengana then suggested the Committee should focus on those items that pertain to Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to the degree that they talk to job creation and the general development of economic growth.
After his opening remarks, Mr Mlengana reported to the undertakings as follows:
He submitted to the Committee that the DAFF has subjected to the Agricultural Policy Action Plan to the Operation Phakisa methodology, which in turn informed the Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro processing Value Chain (RAAVC) under the nine-point plan.
The Committee was informed that to date, DAFF has institutionalised Operation Phakisa to manage the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all the initiatives, which in turn, reported on under the RAAVC 9 Point Plan, DAFF and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, now merged as the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (appointed both public and private sector representatives to lead each initiative).
Mr Mlengana, indicated that there are 25 appointed Work Group Chairpersons, leading the implementation management of Initiatives. Each Work Group Chairperson leads a Work Group composed of role players and implementation agents, responsible for the implementation of the initiative. But further indicating that a progress report for 25 initiatives are mostly behind on schedule, the main challenge being a lack of integration across all three spheres of government.
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
Mr Mlengana submitted that the establishment of the Fisheries Transformation Council, in accordance with the Marine Living Resource Act 18 of 1998, Chapter 3 section 5(29) now falls under the Fisheries Branch, which is in the process of being transferred to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF).The Executive Authority has decided not to proceed with the appointment of the Fisheries Transformation Council in accordance with Section 5 29 of the Marine Living Resources Fund.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
The Committee was informed that the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) is now a function that falls under the Fisheries Branch. The Fisheries Branch is in the process of being transferred to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. The Executive Authority has obtained Cabinet’s endorsement on 4 September 2019 to extend the timeframes for dealing with allocation of fishing rights in 12 sectors to 31 December 2021.
The Committee was further informed that this will allow the DEFF additional time to conduct Socio Economic Impact Assessments in all the fishery sectors due for re- allocation to consult extensively with stakeholders on the review of the Sector Specific Policies, Application Forms and Fees and to appoint service providers to assist the DEFF to provide a transparent, credible and legally defensible process.
- Executive Undertaking 4:
It was reported that the National Treasury had asked the Department how it is dealing with foot and mouth disease and swine fever outbreaks. Mr Mlengana submitted that the challenge is the lack of capacity, skills, vets, animal technicians and health inspectors. The Committee was assured that the Department is taking its bio-security commitments seriously.
Mr Mlengana reporting that the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Ilima Letsema Annual Reports submitted by the Provinces, a total of R 62 3 million was spent supporting 46 projects of which 14 were not completed at the end of the financial year as follows: Free State 1; Kwa-Zulu Natal 11; Mpumalanga 2. A total of 434 jobs were created from the construction of infrastructure and delivery of inputs at the end of the financial year. This excludes permanent and seasonal jobs that will be created on farms once the projects are operational. Poultry projects were implemented in the Free State 1; Gauteng 19; Kwa-Zulu Natal 12; Limpopo 3; Mpumalanga 6; and North West 5.
Mr M Ramasodi; DDG in the Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety, supplemented the presentation, by outlining that the MTEF framework allocated to the Health and Food Safety branch responsible for bio-security in the country. Informing that the total allocated for 2020 is R147 million. And there is another R82 million going to specific items.
Mr Ramasodi further informed that a commitment was made in 2017, to capacitate animal production and prevent potential disease outbreaks. On job creation, he informed that agriculture has grown its jobs by 4 percent every year.
- Executive Undertaking 5:
It was reported that the Department has developed the Norms and Standards for the Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups (NSVG), among others; the NSVG fundamentally seeks to reset departmental programmers (ie CASP) towards an inclusive approach, prescribing equal targets of 50/50 for both male and female beneficiaries in line with budget allocations. The NSVG is seen as a radical intervention envisaged mitigating against entrenched patriarchy in the sector which will eventually aid to substantially increase the pool of female entrepreneurs in the Female Entrepreneur Awards.
- Executive Undertaking 6:
It was reported that to date, a total of 460 women across the country benefitted from this programme. Of the 460, 81 entered and won in the category of subsistence producers while 39 graduated and are now operating at smallholder level. For the 2019 financial year, a total of 51 women across the country entered this competition and 8 Entrepreneurs were awarded in different categories. Since inception of the FEA programme, 3 women who have been entered for best female worker category have graduated to becoming subsistence and smallholder farmers.
- Executive Undertaking 7:
It was reported that since the inception of the Experiential training, Internship and Professional Development Programme, a total of 3 654 unemployed graduates benefitted. For 2019/ 20 financial year, 255 unemployed graduates were recruited to participate in various categories of DAFF internship of the 255 interns, 141 are placed as job seekers,13 are students who need experiential training as a requirement for obtaining formal qualification, 25 are placed in various industry partners.
It was submitted, that young professionals are pursuing post graduate studies in the area of research leading to innovation in critical skills in the sector. A further total of 1018 unemployed graduates are placed in farms throughout the country for a period of two years. These programmes are coordinated by provinces while DAFF provides funding for a stipend through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP), guidelines for implementations and monitoring.
The Department is re-purposing unemployed youth by taking them to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) first for discipline. From there they are taken to various locations and placed under skilled commercial farmers to become producers within a defined market to monitor their productivity.
Following the submissions to National Treasury for additional funding for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, including the Branch Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety, the branch received an additional allocation.
- OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
5.1 The Committee noted that some projects were incomplete and no proper reasons were given for being behind schedule; namely the following:
- the Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Value Chain (RAAVC), 25 initiatives are mostly behind schedule;
- the poultry projects are not completed; and
- There are no updated reports from other the provinces (only six provinces are catered for in the presentation, no mention of the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape).
- The report is silent on emerging farmers as job creators and statistics on whether the input is producing the output expected.
- The Committee acknowledged a lack of integration between some of the different spheres of government as raised by the Department.
6.1 The Committee recommends the Department revert with updates on initiatives that are behind schedule, such as:
- the Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Value Chain 25 initiatives that fall under the Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Value Chain are mostly behind schedule; and
- the poultry projects are not completed.
- The Committee recommends that the Department provide the Committee with updated reports from other the provinces (only six provinces are catered for in the presentation, no mention of the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape).
- With regard to emerging farmers and job creation, the Committee recommends the Department provide the Committee with statistics on whether capital investment (both financially and human resource capacity) is producing the output expected.
- The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is to conduct further oversight in this regard.
Report to be tabled for consideration.
No related documents