ATC100512: Report Oversight Visit Undertaken on 19 - 22 April 2010 too Eastern Cape & Kwazulu–Natal
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM, ON OVERSIGHT VISIT UNDERTAKEN ON 19 - 22 APRIL 2010 TO THE EASTERN CAPE AND KWAZULU–NATAL; DATED 12 MAY 2010
Having undertaken an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape and the KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 - 22 April 2010, the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform reports as follows:
1. The delegation
The multiparty delegation for this oversight visit consisted of the following honourable Members of Parliament attached to the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform:
African National Congress (ANC):
Mr. PS Sizani (Chairperson)
Ms. HF Matlanyane (Committee Whip)
Mr. EM Nchabeleng
Ms. P Ngwenya Mabila
Ms. P Xaba
Prince BZ Zulu
Inkosi ZM Mandela
Democratic Alliance (DA):
Ms. A Steyn
Mr. MM Swathe
Congress of the People (Cope):
Dr. MH Dandala
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP):
Inkosi RN Cebekhulu
United Democratic Movement (UDM):
Mr. SZ Ntapane
The support staff that accompanied the delegation consisted of Nyamza Ms P (Committee Secretary), Manenzhe Mr T (Content Adviser), Pepeteka Ms T (Researcher), Goba Ms S (Committee Assistant) and Ndyondya Ms K, Parliamentary Media Liaison Officer. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform was represented by the following officials: Makgalemela Dr – Acting Director General, Shabane Mr M – Deputy Director General and Gcasamba Ms C – Parliamentary Liaison Officer in the office of the Deputy Minister. Faleni Ms L – Regional Land Claims Commissioner, Mashologu Ms Z – Chief Director Provincial Land Restitution Office. Other officials comprised the Head of Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Development and Land Reform in Kwazulu Natal Mkhize Mr S (Nkosi), Mzamo Ms S – General Manager – DRDLR and other officials.
2. Background and introduction
The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) is a strategic priority within the government’s current Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) was tasked with the responsibility for ensuring rural development and land reform. The department therefore initiated CRDP pilot projects, starting in Limpopo Province and now rolled out to other seven provinces. The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform prioritised oversight of the CRDP. It decided to commence its oversight visit in two provinces: namely, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Those provinces were chosen because they are still at the initial stages of the CRDP. Oversight opportunities existed for the committee to obtain first hand experience on interventions in terms of CRDP and useful insights on community and stakeholder mobilisation processes.
The strategic objective of the CRDP is to create vibrant and sustainable rural communities. In terms of the CRDP Framework (2009), the objective included, amongst others, contributing to the redistribution of 30% of the agricultural land, improving food security of the rural poor, creation of business opportunities, and decongesting and rehabilitation of overcrowded former homeland areas. The strategic objective hinges on a three-pronged strategy; namely, coordinated and integrated broad-based agrarian transformation; rural development; and an improved land reform. Specific objectives of the oversight visit were based on the afore-mentioned strategy.
Agrarian transformation: Underpinning the framework set for the CRDP, the committee sought to understand how the CRDP pilot projects addressed the following issues: contribution to food security, dignity and improvement of quality of life, strengthening rural livelihoods for vibrant local economic development, establishment of business initiatives, rural and agro-industries, cooperatives, cultural initiatives and vibrant local markets, increase of production and sustainable use of natural resources, and development of infrastructure in rural area.
Rural development: The committee sought to assess how social mobilisation mechanisms could be used to enable rural communities to take initiatives; to create non-farm activities for strengthening rural livelihoods; to democratise rural development, participation and ownership of all processes, projects and programmes; and to create social cohesion and access to human and social capital.
Land Reform: The committee recognises the centrality of land as a basic need to rural dwellers. Land should be seen as a catalyst for poverty alleviation, job creation, food security and entrepreneurship as expounded by the CRDP framework. The committee further took cognizance of the fact that land reform (redistribution, restitution and tenure reform), entrenched in Section 25 of the Constitution, is a national priority. Therefore, the committee intended to assess progress made in the settlement of outstanding land claims within identified districts, post settlement arrangements, recapitalization programme; and farm dweller’s security of tenure.
The committee, through this oversight visit, hoped to obtain answers to the following questions:
Ÿ What constituted CRDP pilots and what characteristics of CRDP pilots could be found at each site?
Ÿ What were the project level institutional arrangements at both Msinga and Mhlontlo CRDP sites?
Ÿ To what extent have the interventions of the department altered or were likely to change the local level power relations, and improve the quality of rural life?
Ÿ What were the challenges confronting land reform projects and what mechanisms were put in place to revive those distressed land reform projects?
This document comprehensively provides a report on the oversight visit for phase 1 of the CRDP pilot in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. It presents a summary of the process, synthesis of findings, and proposes some recommendations.
3. Outline of the process
The delegation undertook a four-day oversight visit; 19 and 20 May 2010 were spent in the Eastern Cape whereas 21 and 22 May 2010 were spent in Kwazulu-Natal. The oversight process within identified municipalities was conducted in the following manner:
Ÿ Briefing sessions from the provincial champions of the CRDP, Provincial Departments of Agriculture and the DRDLR. Those sessions provided the Members of Parliament with provincial perspectives on progress and challenges in the implementation of CRDP pilot projects. Departmental officials briefed members on the local perspectives as well as CRDP progress reports.
Ÿ Thereafter, the delegation participated in site visits/walkabouts at various projects including CRDP pilots and land reform projects. During the walkabouts, a considerable amount of time was also given to the members of the delegation to interact with beneficiaries. This enabled members to obtain outstanding information as well as the perspectives of beneficiaries. gaps information
Ÿ The oversight visit in both provinces concluded with stakeholders’ engagement sessions. The engagement process provided an opportunity for stakeholders to address the delegation on relevant issues such as opportunities and challenges associated with the CRDP. In addition, the departments were also provided with an opportunity to engage with and respond directly to some of the questions that emanated from the walkabout/site visits.
4. Report on the oversight processes
4.1. The Eastern Cape
4.1.1. Briefing sessions by the MEC of Agriculture and Regional Land Claims Commissioner
The delegation received a briefing from the MEC of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr M Sogoni. His presentation encompassed the following: developing rural development strategy; building the Rural Development Agency; setting up the Rural Development Fund; and implementing the Rural Development Programme and service delivery record at Mhlontlo. The Regional Land Claims Commissioner (RLCC), Ms Faleni, presented progress reports on finalisation of land claims in the Eastern Cape. She focused on mechanisms for resolving land claims on national strategic assets, revitalisation of the 10-land restitution projects and budgetary allocations for land restitution. During the briefing sessions, the delegation noted the following:
Ÿ The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has already developed a Rural Development Strategy (RDS) which was endorsed and adopted by the Provincial Executive Committee. The provincial government intended finalising a Green Paper on Rural Development by the end of May 2010.
Ÿ The Eastern Cape Rural FC, ASGISA Eastern Cape, and the Eastern Cape ATU, had held discussions to rationalise a Rural Development Agency (RDA) with the intention to effect it by 1 of April 2011. Meanwhile, the DARD is developing a RDA legislation to be finalised by November 2010.
Ÿ The MEC of Finance is setting up a Rural Development Fund (RDF) for the Eastern Cape. The RDF and the TDRF’s assets would be assigned to the RDA. At the time of the visit, the Provincial Treasury and DARD were working on the details of the RDF, which it aims to launch after July 2010.
Ÿ The CRDP pilot was launched at Mhlontlo Local Municipality, specifically in Ward 2 at Tsolo and in Ward 13 at Qumbu. Agriculture is being seen as an entry point in rural development. However, CRDP was launched without an allocated budget except for an amount of R10m from the 2009/10 adjustment appropriation.
Ÿ A provincial steering committee was constituted by government departments under the leadership of DARD. It is responsible for programme planning and implementation. The steering committee reports regularly to the stakeholder’s forum.
Ÿ The challenge of coordination was acknowledged. However, DARD had enhanced its engagement with integrated planning processes, coordination and monitoring capacity. It was also said that institutionalisation of the Rural Development Agency would help solve the challenge.
Ÿ The Eastern Cape Regional Land Claims Commissioner’s office was yet to settle approximately 763 land claims, comprising 275 urban claims and 488 rural claims. The strategy to ensure that the RLCC deliver on its mandate within set time frames included – increasing the existing human resource capacity of the RLCC, and prioritising those land claims within nodal points with a view to unlock development initiatives.
Ÿ The challenge encountered by the RLCC was betterment land claims. When designated areas were divided into distinct land for residential, arable and grazing purposes, many rural dwellers were forcefully removed to the newly demarcated residential areas. As a result, they also lost land rights on their original residential, arable and grazing land. In terms of the White Paper on South African Land Policy, all betterment related claims were to be addressed through the tenure security programmes, land administration and land redistribution. Many missed the opportunity to lodge claims.
Ÿ The DRDLR’s branch of Social, Technical, Rural Livelihoods, and Institutional Facilitation (STRIF) would be dealing with revitalization of land reform projects, including restitution. The DRDLR increased staff component within the branch. Interventions under revitalization and recapitalization would be done in terms of the CRDP principles, including household profiling, job creation modelling, market access analysis, co-management and strategic partnering requirements, equity partnerships, social contracting and conflict resolution.
Ÿ Ten land restitution/restoration projects were identified for revitalisation during the year 2010/11. The department’s branch of STRIF and that of Rural Infrastructure Development (RID) have incorporated post-settlement support as their key output area. An amount of R32.5 million was set aside for revitalization and recapitalization.
4.1.2. Site visits/walkabout at CRDP Pilot and land reform projects
On 19 April 2010, the delegation visited CRDP projects in Mhlontlo Local Municipality and on 20 April 2010, it visited restitution projects in Amathole District. The committee could not visit all projects as planned, due to rainy weather conditions and poor roads. However, those visited presented a fair view of what is happening under CRDP. The delegation noted the following:
(a) CRDP in Mhlontlo
The DRDLR has been involved in a number of projects in Wards 2 and 13. Those projects included livestock farming at Gqunu, layers and eggs production at Mqobiso, and a housing project in Gqunu.
Project 1: Layers and egg production (Gqunu)
Ÿ The project comprises 180 households: The DRDLR provided each household with 25 layers, start up chicken feeds, and packaging materials. Layers produce an egg a day, implying that each of those households gets about 25 eggs per day. Production is traded at a local market of community members and shops in Qumbu and Mthatha, for example, Wimpy. Eggs are sold at R1.00 each, meaning that properly managed production will raise an income of R25.00 per day (about R700.00 per month). The income has improved a household’s means for security of livelihoods.
Ÿ Challenges encountered by beneficiaries included – shortage of water, lack of electricity to light up chicken houses so that they feed even during the night, and the lifespan of those layers is 12 months. Therefore, beneficiaries need to build up savings for purchase of next batch of layers.
Ÿ The delegation noted concerns over criterion used for selection of participating households as some of the participating households were relatively better off. The criterion used for identification was unclear, and was problematic if some of the poorest households were not part of the project.
Specific recommendations for this project was that training on business and financial management was urgent for participating households; and both DRDLR and DARD to facilitate provision of water.
Project 2: Livestock-sheep and bulls (Gqunu)
Ÿ Each village was given 7 sheep and 5 bulls: The household the committee visited received 3 bulls and the other household which the committee could not meet, received 2 bulls. These families received these bulls because they have livestock. The committee learnt that the ratio was 1:10. There was no camp to contain the bulls and this created a challenge because the bulls had to occupy the same space with the rest of the livestock, irrespective of their ages. This could pose problems in the future. They also received 54 merino sheep that would assist in improving the genetic breed so that farmers obtain the best selling cotton. The project faces challenges relating to fencing for the grazing land, and lack of dipping tanks.
Project 3: Housing projects (Qgunu)
Ÿ An impoverished household headed by an elderly person, living in a small shelter, was meant to benefit from the housing project. Their original house was destroyed by storm and government promised them an ‘RDP’ house. The community, in August 2009, heard that the Deputy President was to visit the area. The Department of Human Settlement began constructing houses in the area. The Deputy President’s programme was changed to visit another area and the contractor left materials on that site and moved on to construct houses at the assigned site to be visited by the Deputy President. At the time of the oversight visit – eight months later, the delegation found that no progress had been made towards building the house. All that was seen was a slab foundation and material not worth more that R20 000 (the delegation was informed that the cost of the house was R80 000).
Ÿ In wards 2 and 13, ten families were identified to receive houses. However, the delegation found that construction had not started. It was alleged that areas were inaccessible for contractors to deliver materials for construction.
Project 4: Nombodlelana, Tsolo
Ÿ The department acquired three farms for community members through the land redistribution programme. Each household accessed a grant of R16 000 which they pooled together to collectively purchase those farms. Two of the farms, Highklip and Grassland, were transferred to the community in 2004 and Fairview farm was only transferred in January 2010. At the time of the visit, the farm was not productively used. However, the intentions of the beneficiaries were to use those farms mainly for crop and livestock production. The project has been identified for recapitalization and R1.8 million was set aside for recapitalization of the farm.
Ÿ The delegation also noted challenges in this project, which ranged from insufficient water for irrigation, lack of farming skills, equipments, and local institutional arrangements.
The delegation recommended that investment in water infrastructure and irrigation systems be provided and that training for beneficiaries in farm and project management includes financial management.
(b) Land Reform in Amathole District
After a briefing by the RLCC, which focused on restitution in the province, the delegation visited three projects, namely Qumrha, Mamontle and Tshatshu farms.
Project 1: Qumrha – Teni farm
Ÿ In 2007, the Department of Land Affairs bought the farm for the victims of evictions in Killarney. The farm was 800 ha and cost R7.5 million. Different portions of the farm were used for game farming, livestock and dairy farming, and a 30 ha is under irrigated crop production. The project, initiated two years ago, was also in a state of collapse. Beneficiaries had not yet benefited from the land.
Ÿ The beneficiaries did not move onto the farm to begin production as proper settlement planning was still being conducted. But, two years later, it had not been completed. To avoid vandalising of the property, a caretaker for the farm has been secured and three other families have also moved onto the farm with their livestock for grazing.
Project 2: Mamontle Farm
Ÿ The department acquired a farm under Proactive Land Acquisition (PLAS) at the cost of R10 million. Since October 2008, the farm has been leased to a female farmer who pays a rental fee of R6 200 per month including the farmland, equipment and two farm houses. The farm is used for tomato production. The farm employs 16 full time employees. However, due to old machinery on the farm, production has dropped.
Ÿ Although, the farm is under tomato production, the farmer faced challenges such as poor- irrigation, fencing, access to markets, pack house and packaging facilities.
Ÿ The department secured the services of a mentor, Mr Bedenhuit, to assist in farm management and markets. In addition, it appointed a service provider who has started drilling a borehole so that the water and irrigation problems could be addressed.
Project 3: Tshatshu
Ÿ The Tshatshu land claim was settled in 2004 with restoration of 292 0000 ha of land to approximately 189 households. However, the RLCC found that a portion of land claimed by the Tshatshu Community was unsuitable for restoration of land rights because the Da Gama Textile factory operated there. As a result, land claimants were rewarded with a cash compensation of R69 000.
Ÿ The farms have been run down and were also vandalised due to neglect by the community. However, the DRDLR identified this project for recapitalization. The Buffalo City Municipality gave the community R500 000 to develop a dairy farm but the Development Co-operative used the money to buy a tractor.
Ÿ Beneficiaries are concerned that the size of the land restored does not add up to the total land area they claimed. According to beneficiaries, the original claim was on 2 600 ha but they only received about 300 ha. The RLCC argued that some of the land they claimed was developed and settled.
Ÿ The challenges at Tshatshu constituted infighting and conflicts around leadership position and use of resources. According to the Regional Commissioner, the Commission could not intervene in the business of the Trust as is the case with Communal Property Associations.
4.1.3. Summary of issues brought forward during the stakeholders engagement
The stakeholder engagement process held at the end of the two-day visit in the Eastern Cape was attended by government departments, farmer’s corporations and organisations, non-government organisations and private sector companies involved in primary agriculture and processing industries, as well as marketing. They raised a range of issues and concerns around land reform implementation and the path of rural development. Those issues include:
· A need for differentiation of land reform beneficiaries: Those who want to farm and those who did not want to farm. At the same time, those who wanted to farm on a large-scale and those who wanted to farm on a small-scale.
· Analysis of beneficiaries/communities should be accompanied by proper planning so that adequate and relevant support services are provided in order to sustain farming and related projects.
One of the factors that destroyed land reform projects was that the majority of members of Communal Property Associations (CPA) and Trusts tended to stay at home but waited to collect dividends at the end of a season.
The criterion used in selection of mentors was a matter that the stakeholders felt must be given urgent priorities. They singled out mentorship and strategic partnership as a matter that required further development. Experience to date indicated that there were mentors who kept beneficiaries as labourers and never really trained them to take full ownership of the projects at the end of the term.
4.2.1. Briefing by the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Development (DAERD), and the DRDLR
The Head of Department (HOD) for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development, Mr Nkosi Mkhize, led the briefing session. The provincial perspective on progress regarding implementation of CRDP was provided by a Senior Manager responsible for rural development in KwaZulu-Natal, Ms Sindiswa Mzamo. The apology of the MEC of Agriculture was noted. The Acting DG of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Dr Nozizwe Makgalemela, also briefed the delegation about the CRDP pilots in Msinga. During the briefing session, the delegation noted the following:
Ÿ The Premier is the leading champion of Rural Development while the MEC for DAERD is the implementing champion. The Department of Agriculture should take the lead to integrate and coordinate all rural development initiatives of all government departments in KwaZulu-Natal. The success of the approach rested on alignment of activities by all spheres of government.
Ÿ The Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) was helping in commercial land reform projects. ADA committed itself to provide training and mentorship to farmers within the pilot projects. In addition, the Land Bank had also received some funding that they would like to commit to recapitalization of land reform projects.
Ÿ Four Wards - 6, 7, 8 and 9 – were identified as CRDP pilot sites. A small town of Keate’s Drift was also identified as the focal point for revitalization of small towns. According to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Poverty Index of Multiple Deprivation, the four wards were the poorest in Msinga Municipality. They lack infrastructure, sanitation, social facilities, agricultural development and local development.
Ÿ Agriculture is one of the important economic sectors in Msinga, although largely for subsistence purposes. Farming contributes 18% of the total income for the municipal area, mainly through the cultivation of maize and vegetables on irrigated plots along the Tugela and Mooi Rivers. There is huge potential for rural development through the support of agricultural production. .
Ÿ Most of the land (68.3%) is under the Ingonyama Trust. This comprises approximately 170 800 of the total land area of Msinga. Only 27.7% is privately owned, and 4.3% of the total land area is state land – mainly in wards 7 and 9. Therefore, there is limited land redistribution in these areas. Most of the land is already occupied by tribal communities and potential for development rests mainly on land already in the hands of communities.
Ÿ The department identified the following projects for the CRDP:
- Asisukume Co-operative.
- Tugela Ferry Irrigation.
- Pomeroy Cluster.
- Nxamalala Irrigation fence.
- Ngwalana fencing.
- Tractors at Msinga Top.
4.2.2. Site visit/walkabout at CRDP Pilot and Land Reform projects
On 21 April 2010, the delegation visited CRDP projects in Msinga Local Municipality and on 22 April 2010, went to Eshowe to visit land restitution projects. On these site visits, the delegation noted the following:
(a) CRDP in Msinga
Project 1: Kwadolo Electrification
Ÿ The project is located in Ward 7 of Msinga. Although the delegation was informed that many houses had access to electricity, members of the delegation only saw one house that had access. The project was initiated by the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs.
Ÿ The DRDLR’s approved budget is R8 000 000 for the supply of household electricity in KwaDolo. A design for the connection of lights has been made but is awaiting Eskom’s approval. However, the challenge for the household visited was that they travelled long distance to purchase an electricity voucher, and that distance costs the household R20.
Project 2: Nxamalala Irrigation Scheme
Ÿ It is located in Ward 9 and comprises vegetable production and an irrigation scheme initiated in the 1990s by the Indlalifa irrigation cooperative. The project was identified for inclusion under CRDP.
Ÿ The DRDLR approved R120 000 for the construction of the irrigation system and that project is managed by the Provincial Department of Agriculture Environmental Affairs and Rural Development. Phase 1 involves fencing of the scheme and at the time of the oversight visit, 6.5 km of fencing was completed, and 161 ha of land fenced. Additionally, R350 000 was approved for the supply delivery and erection of bonnox fencing in the irrigated arable areas for the Nxamalala Farm. The service provider was appointed in March 2010, and the project is underway and on track.
Project 3: Tugela Ferry Irrigation Scheme
Ÿ The project comprises 750 small-scale farmers from Msinga. Through the CRDP, the DRDLR was constructing a fence on the irrigation scheme; mainly in blocks 2, 3, and 6. The project has employed 36 people (21 men and 15 women). The delegation visited block 2 and was shown three poles, which were planted. The department explained that the problem experienced in the project was that the service provider lacked capacity. The department was putting in place mechanisms to ensure that the project is back on track and in line with the project time frames. Other challenges are access to capital for farmers, poor extension support, and supply of seeds and equipment.
Project 4: Asisukume Cooperative (Msinga Top)
Ÿ This is a ‘massification’ project for maize production. The enterprise is located in Ward 6 of Umsinga Local Municipality. The project was established in 2005 by 600 members of communities in Umsinga Top.
Ÿ The DRDLR approved R7 248 000 for the supply of tractors and farm implements for the Msinga Massification Project 1 and for Msinga Massification Project 2. The delegation visited the project and found four tractors. They were informed that the tractors were delivered without turbo and weights in accordance with specifications but the matter was later resolved and turbo and weights were fitted accordingly. In addition, R1 860 000 was approved for the erection of fencing for the co-op. While there have been delays in fencing of the co-op, the delegation only found the materials at the site. Fencing had not yet begun.
Project 1: Bhekeshowe (Strategic Partnership)
The Bhekeshowe community claim was settled in 2005, with restoration of 2 091 9041 ha of land to the Mhlabawethu Community Trust, representing 73 households. The land is used for production of commercial sugarcane, citrus, and mangoes. They also have a lodge and cultural village linked to the game farm. The community has sought the support of strategic partners, that is, Umtlathuze Trust and Capespan to assist in the management of the farm. The Umhlathuze Trust represents the previous landowners who hold 13% shareholding in the Joint Venture Company, Umhlabawethu Community Trust holds 74% shares, and the Capespan holds 13 %.
The Umhlatuze Trust has invested R2.4 million, Restitution Discretional Grant of R219 000 and Settlement Planning Grant of R105 000 and CASP funding. This project has created opportunities for the local people and training is provided from citrus Grower Association. Farmers provide support through mentorship and skills transfer to the claimants. The Department of Agriculture provided fertilisers and the Regional Land Claims Commission purchased movables for the farm through grants provided and an additional support is being mobilised from DAEA.
Capespan provides assistance with regards to exportation of citrus, provision of training on citrus production. Tongaat-Hullets provides technical support by providing extension officers and production input. The DRDLR helped the community with a purchase of a pack house for citrus. The delegation also visited the pack house. The farm has a potential turnover of R23 million. The land use comprises sugar cane, citrus fruit and mango production. In addition, there is a lodge on the farm. The farm employs 180 permanent staff and 80 temporary staff, including beneficiaries.
During an engagement with the members of the community at the site visit, the following challenges were noted:
Ÿ The citrus production has decreased due to old trees that need to be replaced and the sugarcane production has also decreased due to the lack of irrigation systems. There is a need to resuscitate 200 ha of sugarcane and 29 ha of citrus.
Ÿ There is no skills transfer from white managers (strategic partner). The Mhlabawethu Community Trust therefore proposed that for every senior manager, there should be an assistant (a beneficiary) to be trained, but this did not happen. As a response, three beneficiaries were sent to Agriculture College. Agricultural SITA has done short course for labour and lower skilled employees.
Ÿ They do not get post settlement support services from government, for example, extension support. They are unable to obtain loans from commercial banks because they do not have collateral, and Capespan has provided assistance with regards to payment of salaries.
The delegation noted that the relationship between beneficiaries and strategic partner, Umhlathuze Trust has been characterised by mistrust. This has resulted in frustration for the beneficiaries who had a lot of expectations in terms of sharing profits and managing the farms and involvement in daily decision making.
Project 2: Kwahlaza Community Claim (Distressed)
Kwahlaza Community Claim is a distressed project with 125.6 ha of sugarcane, 12 ha of citrus, 15 ha of banana and the rest of the land is designated for housing settlements. Of the 125.6 ha under sugarcane, 60.2 ha lays fallow and needs to be replanted. Tongaat-Hullets has started to replant 8 ha and will continue to replant the balance through the loan funding. One hundred and fifty five (155) households’ benefited and 20 permanent jobs have been created. Fifty six (56) women are beneficiaries. The citrus and banana fields need to be resuscitated as they are not in good condition. Assistance was obtained from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has provided some funding to purchase production inputs, 900 litres diesel tank, chemicals and fertilizers. The South African Cane Growers has funded an amount for sugarcane management training. SASRI and Tongaat-Hullets is providing technical support through their extension officers. Some of the challenges include infrastructural needs, such as fencing and water. Additionally, community in-fighting and distribution of benefits remain a critical challenge for this project. One of the greatest challenges is poor relationship with the traditional leader, Chief Biyela.
Project 3: Mpaphala Community Trust
Mpaphala Community Trust, commonly known as Osungulweni Community Land Claim, lodged a claim in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 22 of 1994 for 802, 6334 ha of land in the Umlalazi Local Municipality, Uthungulu District. Their land claim was settled in 2006 with restoration of 802, 6334 ha to the Community Trust. The Community Trust comprises 19 beneficiary households. The then Department of Land Affairs invested in this project a total amount of R1,6 Million Rand, comprising development grant in terms of Section 42 (c) of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, Restitution Discretionary Grant (DRG) of R60 000 and the Settlement Planning Grant (SPG) of R28 000.
A greater share of the Section 42 (c) grant, that of, R1, 2 million was used to buy equipment owned by the out going owner. The equipment included tractors, a pick-up truck, grader and fork lift, as well as other loose immovable assets. However, at the time of the committee’s visit, none of the equipment was in working condition. According to some of the ordinary members of the community, the equipment was not worth the amount that they had paid for. The delegation expressed concern over the valuation of all movable assets that the department is acquiring for the communities. The delegation further requested a report from the department on valuations for the equipment.
The Trust’s plan for land use includes a 255 ha of sugarcane, 15 ha under citrus and 22 ha under timber. There are also 15 unused poultry structures that are worn out, due to a lack of maintenance. The community also aspires to resuscitate businesses that were run by the previous owner. This includes a petrol station and a bottle store. The Trust notes that the businesses were an integral part of the farming businesses as a way of diversification of income for the landowner. To date, the community has attempted to lease out the businesses to business people in the province. Many of the lessees have not operated in terms of the lease agreement and the Trust is experiencing challenges with regards to the management of the tenant and their failure to pay rental fee.
The delegation commended the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform for identifying the project for revitalization. At the time of the visit, the delegation was informed that a number of stakeholders were brought in to assist with the revitalization of the farm. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism provided R4, 2 million for the revitalization of the project. The Department of Agriculture has also provided R300 000 CASP fund to the project. In addition, Tongaat-Hullets and South African Cane Growers will provide technical/extension support and management training at SASRI respectively.
The delegation also noted that the transition stage (the exit of the previous owner and take over by the Community Trust) took longer to conclude. During the period, the previous owner did not replant the fields, did not irrigate properly and there was no investment into the property. The transitional phase, if not effectively handled, usually has adverse effects on production, labour security, and vandalisation of the property. The fact that none of the landowners is living on the farm is a big challenge for farm management, but this was a condition of settlement of the claim. This is also exacerbated by the official view that claims that “since the inception of the project and signing of the agreed settlement, that none of the owners will reside on the land”.
The benefits that are generated so far include rental income. It should be noted that the income cannot be relied upon as the tenants do not regularly pay their rental fee. Thirty five (35) temporary jobs have been created for the community through the farming projects; and training for beneficiaries is provided on sugar cane production.
The delegation remained concerned by the department’s acquisition of movable equipment at the cost of R1, 2 million, yet none of the equipment on the farm was in a functional state. However, the department indicated that a valuation of the equipment was undertaken and the amount paid was in line with the market value of the assets.
Project 4: Hlomendlini Community Trust
The Hlomendlini Community Project is located at Kwadukuza Local Municipality in Ilembe District Municipality. Their land claim was settled in 2003 with a restoration of 533, 6131 ha of land to The Hlomendlini Community Trust comprising 250 beneficiary households. The then Department of Land Affairs invested a total amount of R1, 3 Million Rands in this project. This comprises: Restitution Discretionary Grant (DRG) of R750 000 and the Settlement Planning Grant (SPG) of R360 000. A further R280 068 33 was secured under CASP from the Department of Agriculture. The grants were used to maintain the sugarcane crop as well as some of the farming equipment. CASP funding was used to acquire production inputs, training for sugarcane management, bookkeeping, conservation of natural resources, and farm business management.
In terms of the settlement plan, the following was identified: 50 ha for human settlement, 50 ha for projects and 10 ha for vegetable production. However, at the time of the oversight visit, the community had not yet physically returned to the land but they still commute from their homes to the farm. The primary land use on this project is commercial sugarcane. The Trust Board is self-managing the project with the support of South African Cane Growers, who provide economic and financial management support. The South African Sugar Research Institute provides technical support to the project.
The delegation commended the Trust for the dedication shown in sustaining farming on this project. However, they noted the lack of farm equipment, and water (although they have a borehole, they do not have a pump). The benefits that the project has brought to the community include the creation of 10 permanent employees and 15 temporary/seasonal jobs, with income generation opportunities.
The delegation raised the following concerns: There was no extension support from the Department of Agriculture, the only extension support came from the South African Cane Growers; and the Department of Agriculture had a vacancy rate of 224 posts for extension officers in the whole of KZN. This could be one of the reasons why so many land reform projects are in distress; and it was unclear how all the 250 beneficiary households benefit from the project. This may be a potential point of future conflicts once the project is fully functional and generating a lot of profit.
(c) Farm dwellers’ rights
Luck Farm (Elandskraal) Mwelase Burial Case
The delegation visited a family that lived on the above-mentioned farm as occupiers in terms of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act, No 62 of 1997. The delegation wishes to report that due to the distances between the sites to be visited, they were unable to visit the projects. Additionally, having heard the briefing by the department that the matter has been successfully resolved, the delegation decided to take briefings and draw lessons from the case.
The Mwelase family moved on to Luck Farm in 1990 from a neighbouring farm after they had a misunderstanding with the neighbouring farm owner. Ten years later, in 2000, the Luck farm was sold to a new owner who came to introduce himself and took a list of all the family members, including that of the deceased. After the death of one of their members, the Mwelase family approached the landowner to inform him that they wished to bury the deceased on the farm. The owner refused burial on the basis that he did not know the deceased. The deceased lived on the farm, but was attending a school for the deaf in Durban and therefore could only come ‘home’ during some weekends and school holidays. Through negotiated process, the Ladysmith District Office managed to reach an agreement for burial on the farm.
Concerns regarding farm dwellers rights:
Ÿ Section 6(2) (d) (a) of ESTA, provides for the occupiers, the right to bury their deceased on land that belongs to someone. Yet, one still finds that countrywide, there are a number of cases where burials are delayed, occupiers resorting to burial outside of their place of living, and lengthy negotiations to enforce the rights of occupiers entrenched in the legislation.
Ÿ Farm dwellers’ tenure security and better standards of living depends, largely, on their personal relationship with the landowner, rather than legislation.
5. Synthesis of the oversight findings
This section provides a brief analysis of findings from the oversight visit in both the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The committee acknowledges that the sites chosen are in the initial stages of rolling out of the CRDP pilot projects. Therefore, it is not the intention of the committee to judge the department based on how far they have gone in rolling out the projects, rather to assess its early stages of intervention. However, on land reform projects, it was the intention to verify progress of transferring land to black people as well as how beneficiaries are supported to use land productively.
The Comprehensive Rural Development Program
Ÿ The findings from the oversight visit confirm that CRDP in both Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal was still at an early stage. So far, the focus of the DRDLR was on Muyexe, Giyani – a CRDP site launched by the President of the Republic of South Africa. It is evident that in Msinga CRDP primary processes such as community mobilisation, social profiling, and establishment of the council of stakeholders had not yet been completed.
Ÿ Experience from the Eastern Cape showed that the project had been launched and a council of stakeholders was established. While the provincial champion was in charge of the projects, effectiveness of the programme is debatable. The KwaZulu-Natal experience, on the other hand, showed that the DRDLR had not yet launched the pilot. In addition, the council of stakeholders, community and stakeholder mobilisation had not yet fully started. Indeed the KZN had provincial champions (the Premier and the MEC).
Ÿ The delegation found that the DRDLR adopted a couple of projects that were being facilitated by the DAERD. The projects are some loose ‘quick wins’ interventions to address some of the challenges. Those interventions were in the form of funding construction for fences, irrigation systems, electrification of houses, purchase of tractors, and access to water.
Ÿ During the briefing session at Msinga, the Executive Mayor indicated that the municipality was not consulted during identification of CRDP projects. The question that arose was how such decisions were made and based on what criteria?
Ÿ The fact that the Department of Human Settlement had decided on a housing project at a particular place with no consideration of the CRDP, but only because the Deputy President was visiting the area raised critical questions about joint planning and coordination of government activities. The DRDLR as an initiator, facilitator, and catalyst would have to deal with issues around intergovernmental coordination effectively if the CRDP was to be a success.
Ÿ Projects focussing on erecting fences, installing irrigation systems, and providing tractors have potential to contribute to increased local level agricultural production. Increased production requires establishment of suitable markets, and thus far, the Msinga farmers have relied on the local market of community members and the so-called ‘bakkie traders’. Such local trade has a potential to strengthen rural livelihoods and local economic development.
Ÿ Even in the initial stages of CRDP, a few jobs have been created. Those jobs created have a potential to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor. However, the delegation was concerned about the use of consultants in KwaZulu-Natal, for example in fencing projects. If those projects were implemented through local labour, a higher percentage of creation of jobs would have been achieved.
Ÿ The fact that the Eastern Cape has developed a rural development strategy, wishing to develop a Green Paper by end of May 2010 as well as Rural Development Agency by April 2011, raises critical questions about liaison and coordination by the provincial and national departments on these issues.
Ÿ Based on the CRDP framework and numerous engagements between the committee and the DRDLR, the committee is of the view that a CRDP pilot (at initial stage) is characterised by social mobilisation of rural communities, community organisations and cooperatives, institutional arrangements including council of stakeholders. It comprehensively adopts a three-pronged strategy of agrarian transformation, rural development and land reform. Findings in both the provinces have indicated some weaknesses in terms of mobilisation. Some of the interventions preceded the social mobilisation process and household profiling.
Land Reform Programme
Ÿ Most of the pending land claims are on high value commercial agricultural land such as sugar cane farms in Kwazulu-Natal, game farms and coastal land. Those properties are extremely costly to acquire. The cost of land acquisition remains a critical issue for sustaining land redistribution in South Africa. The debate about redistributing 30% of agricultural land by 2014, evidently not going to be met, should be located within a broader debate about agrarian transformation, with consideration of quality of projects that are being set up and not only focus on quantities of ha redistribution. As indicated, land is central to rural development, and the question of the increasing pace of land redistribution is even more urgent than it was a decade ago.
Ÿ Farms visited range from ‘successful’ projects, distressed projects, those identified for recapitalization by the DRDLR. What does the DRDLR regard as a successful project? Is it a farm that is producing for markets or a farm where production results in enhancement of the owner’s livelihoods security? Or is it both? The example of Bhekeshowe denoted an example of farms under strategic partnership arrangements. From face value however, the project can be regarded as a success. Evidence from the CPA chairperson, presented at a briefing session, raised critical concerns about the lack of transparency in the joint venture; as well as owner’s being treated like farm workers without a say in the decision making of the joint venture company. The arrangement does nothing to alter the power relations, one of the objectives of agrarian reform envisaged under the CRDP. It focuses on productivity and profits. On the contrary, Hlomendlini Trust (self-managed) illustrated potential of land reform to contribute to job creation, and creating rural livelihoods that could contribute to local economic development. However, projects like that are hampered by lack of post settlement support, lack of access to low cost inputs and capital.
Ÿ The committee commended the involvement of the private sector with regards to provision of extension support services, for example, the Cane Growers Association.
Ÿ Farms identified for recapitalization were also ravaged by internal conflicts and leadership crisis. Revitalization and recapitalization would therefore require more than the provision of funding and getting a mentor for projects. It would need a process of facilitation that involved conflict resolution and management, community-based planning that reflected on the needs and aspirations of the owners of the land. Land reform beneficiary groups are not homogenous, and neither are the communities they come from. Differentiation of beneficiaries as proposed under the strategic plan of the DRDLR could provide some useful insights in terms of who owns what and who would like to do what and for what purposes?
Ÿ Security of tenure for farm dwellers remains one of the most critical issues. Their rights are weaker and are attained through negotiations rather than enforcement of law. Experience of Elandspruit burial case illustrated the need for strengthening legislation and its enforcement.
The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform, therefore, recommends the following:
Ÿ The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform as the ‘initiator and catalyst’ should strengthen the institutional arrangements under the CRDP in both Msinga and Mhlontlo to deal with problems of lack of consultation and joint planning by various government departments.
Ÿ The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, collaboratively with the Department of Agriculture, and other active players in the CRDP should find mechanisms that build capacity and common understanding (from national to provincial government) about what CRDP is and what it aims to achieve over a certain period of time.
Ÿ There is a need to clarify roles and responsibilities among the role players and stakeholders, particularly the Department of Rural Development and that of Provincial Departments of Agriculture.
Ÿ Success of rural development initiatives depends on buy-in by local stakeholders and more importantly by the beneficiaries themselves. The committee recommends that the department intensify its community mobilisation aspect of the rural development so that the outcomes are informed by the real needs of the rural poor, and not what development agencies and government departments think that the poor people need.
Ÿ That the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform submit a plan of action for revitalization of land reform projects in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
Ÿ The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to produce and submit a business plan for CRDP so that the Parliament is able to track progress on what is being tested with those pilot projects.
Ÿ The department and implementing champions to ensure that there is enough capacity within provinces to be able to implement the CRDP pilots and document lessons effectively.
This report has provided a record of processes during the oversight visit, some findings and assessment of CRDP pilot projects in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal. It further shed some light on understanding the actions of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform with regards to the rolling out of CRDP pilots. With specific projects, it highlights some of the challenges that require urgent attention. With regards to CRDP, the challenge is to ensure that CRDP does not become another project that never achieves its intended purpose because of failure to conceptualise the complexity of rural development. Projects in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal showed that, if nothing is done to ensure collective action of stakeholders, projects are at risk of being implemented in silos without that comprehensive outlook that the department sought to achieve. Findings raised crucial questions around mobilisation of communities and stakeholders. It was found that household profiling had not been completed, yet projects have been identified and are being implemented, Council of Stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal is not in place (understandably so because they are at an initial stage).
With regards to land restitution, a greater challenge for the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) was to ensure that processes of resolving all land claims lodged before the cut off date of 31December 1998 would be concluded. Beyond land restoration, the challenge of the post settlement phase revolves around planning for those projects, institutional arrangements as well as provision of complementary support services, including input costs and market access. Arrangements such as strategic partnership have potential to ensure that productivity of the farms is maintained. However, meaningful participation of the beneficiaries, training and empowerment that shifts power relations in the schemes are still critical challenges that need to be addressed if the members of communities take full ownership and manage those farms individually, after a decade or so. The extent to which revitalization of land reform projects by the DRDLR will bring farms under production, will depend largely on the commitment of the beneficiaries themselves, proper facilitation at a community level which will ensure that those that wish to farm are provided with opportunity and means to do so; while those whose interests are not on farming but other activities are equally supported. It is not only transfers of money to projects that will solve the problem. The question of small-scale vis-à-vis the large-scale farming in land reform and participatory decision-making process around appropriate farming systems most suitable for the poor households seems to be some of the questions policy should address.
The oversight report showed that a number of loosely identified projects were supported by the DRDLR. Most of those projects were adopted from existing projects. Processes of social mobilisation and proofing that is supposed to precede intervention, are to date incomplete. The delegation commended the department’s efforts to date. However, it was concerned about the fact that at provincial level, it was unclear for project implementers what is implemented and the whole framework, particularly as it relates to land reform, agrarian transformation. If some of the initial stages of CRDP in terms of the framework are being bypassed, what lessons shall we draw? It is significant that the DRDLR pays much attention in the initial set up of projects as it is the phase that determines the outcomes of projects.
The committee would like to thank the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and the Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development for being available to share their experiences about rural development and land reform. Furthermore, the committee would like to thank most of all, CRDP and land reform beneficiaries for their time to express their opinions, experiences, frustrations, and benefits of the government programmes such as rural development and land reform.
Report to be considered.
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