Hansard: NA: Debate on Vote No 24—Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 13 May 2014
No summary available.
EPC – NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 Take: 12
WEDNESDAY, 13 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE—
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the National Assembly Chamber at 17:22.
House Chairperson Mr C T Frolick, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
START OF DAY
Debate on Vote No 24—Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Hon Chairperson; Ministers present; Deputy Ministers; MECs for Agriculture; Chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Members of Parliament; distinguished guests, among whom is a delegation from Uganda that isjoining us for this important debate;... [Applause.] ... ladies and gentlemen, as a department, we would like to convey our condolences to the family of Me Ruth Mompati, who is departed.We recognise the role she played for us to achieve our democracy.
It is a privilege to present the second budget, Budget Vote 24 on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in the fifth democratic Parliament. The year 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter in Kliptown on 26 June 1955. The Freedom Charter is the founding document of our democracy, demanding inclusivity as per its opening line: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it.” The spirit of the Freedom Charter is mirrored in the ideals and principles of our Constitution. As such, the Preamble of our Constitution states that, “We, the people of South Africa, believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”
The Constitution defines the developmental path for our country, our national symbols and our heritage. We recently celebrated Human Rights Month in March and Freedom Month in April under the theme, “Celebrating the beginning of the third decade of our freedom through accelerating radical economic transformation”.
On Freedom Day we recalled the solidarity and friendship of many peace-loving nations and peoples from Africa and the world during our struggle for liberation. Sadly, Freedom Month was negatively impacted on by a spate of attacks against foreign nationals in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country. A number of lives were lost and thousands were displaced and alienated from their possessions.
Sihlalo, siyawuchasa kwaye siwukhaba ngamandla lo mkhwa mbi wokuhlaselwa kwabantu abavela kumazwe angaphandle.Esi senzo asihambisani noMgaqo-siseko welizwe lethu kwaye asisiso isiseko sobu-Afrika bethu.Ngumkhuba ombi ofuna ukujongwa kuba ukhokelwa ngoonqal’ intloko abaneenjongo ezinxamnye nezethu kuba befuna ukuqinisekisa ukuba bayazikhusela besenza ngokungathi balwela inkululeko.
In the month of May, Africa Day is celebrated throughout the country. It is incumbent on us to promote African unity. President Jacob Zuma called on us to do more to promote healing and tolerance among our people and to continue efforts to fight racism, which continues to be a challenge in our country. Therefore, our nation-building and healing efforts require more enthusiasm and the involvement of every sector of society. I echo the call of the President. Just as South Africa is a proud African nation, in the same way each of us should conduct ourselves as proud Africans.
Modulasetulo, mo tekanetsokabong ya ngwaga wa 2014-15 wa ditšhelete, re tseile maikano a go godisa seabe sa rona mo temothuong, ka go godisa ekonomi le go tlhola ditiro gammogo le go fokotsa tlala.
This Budget Vote speech will reflect on our mandate, our work over the past year and our strategic and spending priorities for the current financial year. Since my first Budget Vote speech, I have dedicated time to consulting with stakeholders, industry leaders and, most importantly, the people who form the core of the industry – the beneficiaries of our programmes. I have listened and heard the pleas of our people, and this has led me and the department back to the drawing board to make sure that our operations respond to their needs.
Section 27 of our Constitution states that every citizen has the right to have access to sufficient food and water and that the state will ensure the progressive realisation of this right. The primary mandate of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is to ensure food security. Our mandate has been reinforced by the recommendations and targets in the National Development Plan, the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan. Key among those is the target of the radical transformation of the sector to create 1 million jobs by 2030.
Our mandate was further punctuated in the 2015 state of the nation address, when the President stated, “Our economy needs a major push forward.” In this context, the President announced a 9-point plan to ignite growth and create jobs, one of which is revitalising the agriculture and agroprocessing value chain.
Our success in the revitalisation of the agriculture and agroprocessing value chain will be measured in terms of food security, job creation and contribution towards the gross domestic product. However, it is a paradigm shift that calls for a shared vision; seamless governance between national, provincial and local government; and a social compact with social partners. The President also stated the following in the 2015 state of the nation address:
We are working with the private sector to develop an Agricultural Policy Action Plan, which will bring 1 million hectares of underused land into full production over the next three years.
I am pleased to inform the House that the Agricultural Policy Action Plan, Apap, was approved by Cabinet in March 2015. Apap is the programmatic response to priority 1, the revitalisation of the agriculture and agroprocessing value chain. It outlines a value chain approach in priority commodities, informed by the commodities with high growth potential and high labour absorption capacity identified in the NDP.
We would like to reflect on our achievements and challenges over the past year. During the 2015 state of the nation address, the President reported, “Our agroprocessing exports have been growing rapidly, especially to new markets in Africa and China.” Agriculture is a catalyst for economic growth and the current contribution of our sector towards the GDP is 2,5%, which is far below the capacity of the sector. However, it should be noted that the sector contributes another 12% to the GDP through value added from related manufacturing and processing.
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries products have increased their share of total South African trade from 9,9% in January 2013 to 12,8% by September 2014. During the same period there was a 43,6% year-on-year increase in the value of exports of sector products, from R71,4 billion in 2013 to R102,5 billion in 2014.
While South Africa continues to be a net exporter of agriculture, forestry and fisheries products, exports are still concentrated in primary agriculture products and we are a net importer of processed agriculture products. In recognition of this, the government, through Apap, has set out to introduce an export-led and import-replacement sector strategy.
The largest subsector in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries export basket in 2014, based on value, was fruit and nuts. The highest growth in the export of specific products within the sector was the export of wood, with a growth of 72%. However, despite these gains, existing growth models have not equitably distributed benefits. This was true even during periods of sustained economic growth prior to the 2008 global crisis. We need to reverse this trend.
Inclusive growth has an important role to play in responding to South Africa’s pressing social needs and addressing the underlying trends that pushed our economic and social systems into disequilibrium. Growing inequality and job losses persist under the current economic growth models. The department has challenged itself to drive a more inclusive growth model for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. We endeavour to focus on the distribution of economic benefits. It is about looking at how the benefits and opportunities of growth are shared among all South Africans, with equal opportunities for decent work and in making growth sustainable for future generations.
To support our mandate of job creation and increased contribution to the GDP, we will facilitate and support increased exports into Africa and worldwide. We have diligently pursued our commitment to increase intra-African trade and as a result our trade with the continent increased by 44,8% year onyear. The main products driving the increase were fruit such as apples, fresh grapes and pears. Wine, sugar, maize and fish remain major contributors to exports. We have established new markets in 2014-15. After five years of technical work on resolving phytosanitary issues, we were able to conclude agricultural trade protocols for the export of South African maize and apples to China in December 2014. The industry is gearing up to plant an additional 10 000 ha of apples, and the export of apples alone is projected to generate R500 million in foreign exchange and create 13 000 new jobs over the next three to five years.
The growth in the sector is cognisant of a number of challenges and opportunities. For example, the sector is challenged by high input costs, climate change, natural disasters such as droughts and fires, skewed and inadequate infrastructure and energy shortages.
I want to pause for a moment to focus on the impact of natural disasters on our economy. For example, the oceans have in recent years experienced environmental changes that can be attributed to climate change. There are natural phenomena like the harmful blooms that occur periodically,with devastating outcomes. During this occurrence, tons of West Coast rock lobster are washed ashore, resulting in huge economic losses. I have since instructed the department to assemble a multistakeholder forum with the Department of Environmental Affairs, the SA Weather Service, the Department of Science and Technology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to draw up a contingency plan, including developing earlywarning systems to enable us to better respond to this disaster and minimise the losses. Our country is also prone to droughts that lead to huge losses for both livestock and crop farmers.
Ek het onlangs die GraanSA konferensie en die National Maize Producers Organisation, Nampo, Landbouskou in die Vrystaat bygewoon. Die grootste bekommernis wat die boere tydens beide geleenthede onder my aandag gebring het, was die negatiewe impak van die droogte op hul oeste. [Applous.]
In addition, South Africa is a fire-prone environment and this past year has been the worst fire season in seven years. Unwanted fires cause untold damage to property, agricultural resources, livestock and a tragic loss of life. The fires in Harrismith last year are a prime example of such devastating fires, and I wish to express the government’s deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of these fires. We pay tribute to farmer Mr Johan Mocke, his 10-year-old son Zander and a farmworker, Mr Kehle Mokoena, who lost their lives in a fire on their farm on 18 September 2014 while doing what farmers and farmworkers do, which is to produce food. His widow, Mrs Melanie Mocke, and her surviving sons are here with us today. [Applause.]
I also pay homage to the firefighters who play a pivotal role in combating these wild fires and limiting the damage to life and property. Sadly, we also lost pilots during the fire season. We pay tribute to the three pilots who perished. They are Messrs Richard Aschenborn, Willem Marais and Darrell Rea. We call on all our farmers and communities in the rural areas to join and make the Fire Protection Association effective in managing wild fires, as called for in the National Veld and Forest Fire Act. I am also pleased to announce that my department is finalising the proposed amendments to the Bill and it will be published in the GovernmentGazette for public consultation.
Last year we reported that the country regained its status as afoot-and-mouth disease-free zone in February 2014. We are pleased to report that our country’s FMD-freezone status was reconfirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health in February 2015. A conservative estimate of the value of our livestock industry is around R50 billion. Ourstatus as an FMD-free zone has enabled us to negotiate market access for our cloven-hoofed animal products. We are in the process of negotiating the export of game meat to the EU and beef to the Middle East.
An innovation that we are proud of and that will boost production and trade is the drought-tolerant maize cultivar. It was launched by the Agricultural Research Council, ARC, under the consortium project “Water-efficient Maize for Africa” in 2014. This maize cultivar is 20% more drought tolerant than any cultivar available on the market. [Applause.] We have distributed at least 10 000 bags of seed packs to smallholder farmers in all nine provinces.
We reported on our participation in the World Food Programme’s humanitarian aid to the Kingdom of Lesotho. We are pleased to report improved performance in 2014-15. In the previous financial year, 268 metric tons of white maize was procured from smallholder producers, whereas in the 2014-15 financial year 4 300 metric tons of white maize and sugar beans were procured from smallholder producers in the Eastern Cape, North West and Gauteng provinces. The procured commodities generated R14,8 million, paid directly to 346 smallholders.
This initiative also benefited local smallholder producers in different ways: It provided them with access to a new market namely, the World Food Programme; it enabled them to improve their productive capacity, reduce loss and enhance their marketability to sell to alternative buyers; and it also confirmed that smallholders can produce quality products that meet local and international market requirements.
The NDP estimates that agriculture could create 1 million jobs by 2030. These estimates are based both on the job creation potential of the “winners” - the high-value commodities - and the accelerated productivity of smallholders who largely engage in labour-absorptive production practices.
According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released in February 2015, agriculture alone contributed the greatest number of jobs, at 56 O00 quarter-on-quarter and sustained increases in job creation year on year of 28 000. The strategic logic in identifying agriculture as a growth sector is that agriculture delivers more jobs per rand invested than any other productive sector.
Another intervention with regards to skills development is our investment in growing the next generation of professionals through our External Bursary Scheme. For the 2015 academic year, we have awarded 95 new bursaries, of which 77 are for undergraduates from the 2014 class of matriculants, while 18 are for postgraduate students. Through a training programme agreed to with the People’s Republic of China, 17 master’s and two doctoral students have completed their studiesto date. Furthermore, 19 graduate students are at universities in the People’s Republic of China. We will increase this number in the coming year ... [Applause.] ... as per our co-operation agreement with the People’s Republic of China.
Food and nutritional security remains our priority and we are encouraged by the research reports that tell us we have made significant strides in reducing hunger and malnutrition. However, the cost of the food basket for household items continues to rise and consumers’ pockets have been hard hit. We want to reiterate the call we made last year for more families to produce their own food. It remains our collective interest to promote family farming as it mobilises the productive energy of women and the youth in agriculture.
The total value of Budget Vote No 24 for 2015-16 is R6,3 billion, of which R3,7 billion is ring-fenced for transfers of conditional grants and parliamentary grants. In terms of conditional grants, R1,6 billion has been allocated to the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme; R471 million to Ilima/Letsema; and R66,4 million to the LandCare Programme.
In terms of parliamentary grants, R258 million has been allocated to the Marine Living Resources Fund; R803,9 million to the Agricultural Research Centre; R34,6 million to the National Agricultural Marketing Council; and R268,4 million to Onderstepoort Biological Products. The other amount of R729,9 million is allocated to our administration.
I will now briefly reflect on some of our programmes and targets which will advance each of our priorities in the current financial year. We are leading the implementation of the revitalisation of the agriculture and agroprocessing value chain ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order! Hon Minister, my apologies for interrupting you. Hon members, can we keep the noise levels down, please. I find it very difficult from here to listen to the Minister.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Thanks, Chairperson. We are leading the implementation of the revitalisation of the agriculture and agroprocessing value chain through an integrated response from sister departments in the Economics cluster. Our focus as the department is on production; productivity and support to smallholders and new entrants; expanding market access through focusing on the diversification of export destinations; and supporting access to increased processing opportunities and providing market infrastructure and compliance training.
The management of pests and diseases remains important in contributing to sustainable local agricultural production and exports. We therefore continue to implement various biosecurity measures to effectively control the entry of such pests and diseases into the territory of the country. Such measures are equally applied by our trading partners.
Hon members, you will recall that during our inaugural Budget Vote I indicated that we would be implementing compulsory community service for veterinarians. We are deploying the first group of veterinarians in the 2015-16 financial year. The regulations that give effect to the compulsory community service have been promulgated. In terms of the preparation of the regulatory framework, as well as infrastructure, we are ready, so that each and every locality can have access to important services that our people in those areas are not accessing.
In our effort to improve veterinary services in rural areas in the 2014-15 financial year, we have delivered 30 mobile clinics worth R22,5 million to six provinces, while 15 prefabricated clinics worth R7,5 million will be delivered within this financial year. Furthermore, we have set aside R51 million to procure additional mobile clinics and for the purchasing of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. We plan to deliver these veterinary services to the red meat and poultry hubs that are being developed through Apap.
Farming communities have continuously maintained traditional crop varieties and indigenous breeds within their local biological, cultural and socioeconomic context. At present these traditional crop varieties and indigenous breeds are subject to genetic erosion and are disappearing due to a number of reasons. In response, we have in the past year continued with our on-farm conservation programme in the Nkomazi Local Municipality in the Mpumalanga province. Five LandCare crops, namely watermelon, cowpea, bambara, pumpkin and sorghum, which were stored in the national gene bank, were given back to 10 farmers.
We also geared our efforts towards the conservation of indigenous speckled goat and Namaqua Afrikaner sheep breeds, working with communities in the Joe Morolong Local Municipality in the Northern Cape province. I am pleased to announce that later this year we will be giving 100 lambs to farmers in the Northern Cape so that they can start their farming methods. [Applause.]
We will continue to work with the Perishable Products Export Control Board and other certification bodies, to broaden the implementation of South African Good Agricultural Practices. This is a key enabler and a prerequisite for linking smallholder farmers with mainstream markets. The department assists smallholder producers with technical, infrastructure and financial support through three conditional grants, namely ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Minister, will you take your seat please? Hon member, why are you rising? [Inaudible.] Can you speak into a microphone, please?
Nksz M S KHAWULA: Ngiyabonga Sihlalo, bengithi uNgqongqoshe akasitshele ngobhambara ngoba ngiyakuzwa ... [Ubuwelewele.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order! I am sure that the hon Minister has heard you, hon member. Continue, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Thanks, Chairperson. If the member wants due justice, when we leave here, I can take her through all the other seeds. These seeds are what Africans used to plant before but they have been lost due to a number of factors, which I have referred to. [Interjections.] Let’s talk afterwards- I will be able to show you what I am talking about.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you. Please continue, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Firstly, in terms of targets with regard to the conditional grants for 2015 -16, R678 million will be directed to the Fetsa Tlala programme, which will bring 128 O00 ha of land under production. Secondly, 511 projects from both conditional grants will be supported, reaching about 27 000 smallholder farmers. Thirdly, 160 000 vulnerable households will be assisted to produce their own food through household food gardens.
The Re Kgaba ka Diratswana programme in the Free State is one example of our efforts to assist vulnerable communities to produce their own food. Approximately 31 000 decent jobs were created in 2014-15 from such interventions. Through Apap we aim to bring more smallholders into the mainstream, as envisaged in the NDP.
However, the effective participation of the previously excluded black majority in agriculture and food production will only occur meaningfully when they have access to land and the means to work it. An inclusive and scientific process has been applied to assess land capability for different commodities in different localities so as to inform land acquisition and allocation for different categories of producers across the country.
In the implementation of Apap, the proposed recommissioning strategy for the Western Cape’s forestry areas has been approved and consultations have commenced. This programme will, in the short term, ensure that 411 jobs are retained and created in the areas that will be replanted.
LandCare is a community-based and community-led programme underpinned by the goal of optimising productivity and the sustainable use of natural resources. The programme has performed reasonably well and it continues to create jobs for the rural poor and unemployed by turning natural assets into sustainable livelihoods.
In 2014-15, a total of 2 836 work opportunities were created by the LandCare conditional grant, while rehabilitating 33 000 ha of range and cultivated land to ensure production. The target for LandCare in 2015-16 is to protect 16 000 ha through various measures such as the fencing of arable land and the clearing of weeds and invader plants.
Voorsitter, ek is vasbeslote om die visbedryf te transformeer sodat almal gelyke toegang tot ekonomiese geleenthede kan hê, veral die vissergemeenskappe wat van die see afhanklik is vir hul brood en botter.
Siza kwenza konke okusemandleni seleli sebe ukuqinisekisa ukuba bonke abantu bakuthi abafuna ukuloba bayalifumana ithuba lokuloba ukuze bangapheleli emanxwemeni ngathi ngookrebe. Baza kuwafumana amalungelo okuloba kuba asinako ukungafumani kwindyebo yelizwe singabasebenzi.Ndithetha loo nto kwabo bangalwaziyo ulwimi lwesibhulu.
In an effort to correct the exclusion of small-scale fishers in the sector, the department adopted the Small-Scale Fisheries policy in 2012 and the Small-Scale Fisheries Implementation Plan in 2013. It also made the necessary amendments to the Marine Living Resources Amendment Act in 2014. We have developed and published the regulations for small-scale fisheries for public comment. These regulations are meant to give effect to the implementation of the Policy for Small-scale Fisheries in South Africa. The coastal communities are given an opportunity to participate in the ocean fisheries resources. These regulations are expected to be promulgated in the first half of this financial year, after consideration has been given to all inputs received from stakeholders.
Aquaculture has been given a boost through its inclusion in the Operation Phakisa - Oceans Economy. Globally, wild fish stocks have been dwindling, growing at a modest 1% per annum, while aquaculture has grown by 7% and accounts for 44% of global fish production. Thus, aquaculture is seen as a quick win for growing the oceans economy. Through Operation Phakisa and the detailed plans on the development of 24 marine and inland aquaculture projects, which we are implementing, we expect to increase production from the current 4 000 tons to 20 000 tons per year. This will increase the current value of the subsector from R400 million to R6 billion and create up to 210 000 sector jobs by 2030.
We have started the process of developing aquaculture legislation and harmonising the interdepartmental authorisations process to reduce the processing time for aquaculture establishments. We have drafted an Aquaculture Bill, which is being consulted on. It is anticipated that this piece of legislation will be presented to the House in 2016-17.
Following the public’s outcry on the handling of the Fishing Rights Allocation Process of 2013, known as Frap 2013 ... [Interjections.]
Ek het nie gehoor nie.[Tussenwerpsels.]
... in the eight fisheries sectors, we have completed the required investigations. The process to prepare for the long-term allocation of the fishing rights allocation expiring by December 2015 has started and is expected to be completed by 2016.
Frap 2013 was subjected to an independent review and the final report was received. The legal feasibility of the various options to institute corrective measures where weaknesses have been identified will be considered before an announcement is made on the way forward to correct these anomalies. [Interjections.]
In terms of our mandate to conduct fisheries research and to patrol our 3 000 km coastline, we operate five vessels. There have been some challenges regarding the management and operation of these vessels. However, the three patrol vessels and one research vessel, the Ellen Khuzwayo, are back at sea and fully operational. The department has commenced a process to ensure that the tender for the management of our vessels is concluded before the end of 2015. [Interjections.]
I will officially launch the Status of the SA Marine Fisheries Resources 2014 report on World Oceans Day, which is on 8 June 2015. Although this product bears testimony to a collection of many years of work done by scientists, technicians and management at the Fisheries Branch, it is imperative that we stop our overreliance on consultants and increase our internal research capacity.
Ndiyaphinda ndithi ayinako ukwenzeka into yokuba thina sibe ngoonqal’ ntloko abalindele ingxelo kwingcali zengcebiso nezintywila zisidla iimali zelizwe lethu.Sinabo abantu abamnyama, iintombi nabafana, abaqeqeshiweyo abazizazinzulu.Siza kufana namazwe afana ne-Angola ne-Namibia sithembe abantu bethu.Loo nto siza kuyenza.Siyaqhuba.[Uwelewele.]
Thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms N R SEMENYA
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY and FISHERES (Mr S Zokwane)
Ms N R SEMENYA: Hon Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and our delegation from Uganda, …
Re a le dumediša.
Welcome to South Africa. [Applause.] The 2012 53rd National Conference of the ANC in Mangaung analysed the sluggish growth of our economy and found that it was largely due to structural challenges. It stated that the role of the state was to reindustrialise the South African economy and promote equitable growth through strategic interventions.
In the context of this Budget Vote and the ANC policy position on Agrarian Transformation and Rural Development, this means the following: dealing with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality; prioritising the rolling out of bulk infrastructure in the rural areas, which means the construction of new dams and irrigation systems for our farms; balancing land transformation with production discipline for food security; and promoting and ensuring equitable land allocation and use across race, gender and class.
The challenges we face include the slow to modest growth in realising an inclusive rural economy amidst the growth in joblessness in the agricultural sector. This specifically includes the following: Market dominance and concentration across the commodity value chains, which lends itself to job losses; rising input costs and an increasing dependency on capital-intensive models of production; an unprotected sector in an uneven international trade environment; the development of infrastructure; and the integrity of and access to water resources in designated areas.
The Agricultural Policy Action Plan, Apap, through Outcome 4 of the Medium Term Strategic Framework, proposes spatial economic plans aimed at guiding government investment –in infrastructure, land acquisition, etc - through a value chain approach, targeting priority commodities identified in the National Development Plan.
These plans form the basis for a common strategic approach among key stakeholders, led by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. The Agricultural Policy Action Plan has the potential to become the Industrial Policy Action Plan, Ipap, for agriculture, a platform for sector organisations and other stakeholders to converge through joint planning.
Agriculture remains one of the sectors that offer a real possibility for massive job creation and the revival of the rural economy. The ANC has identified this as one of the strategic productive sectors of the economy and one thatgovernment should focus on in this term of office. In order to ensure the realisation of this priority, the ANC has correctly identified increased investment in rural infrastructure that supports production and market opportunities as key. [Appaluse.]
Given that we are dealing with the Budget Vote today, it would be useful to look at what the ANC NEC Lekgotla of January 2015 had to say about the financing of agriculture. It said that Maputo Declaration of 2003 on Investment in Agriculture called for investment levels by governments of 10% of GDP. At present we stand at the very low level of 1,7% of GDP. The ANC NEC Lekgotla called for a re-commitment to the Maputo Declaration by government in order to begin to effect real changes in the agricultural sector through the budget allocation.
As we celebrate Africa Month, the portfolio committee wishes to express and condemn the violent attacks on foreign nationals in the country. It is at times like these that we redouble our efforts in addressing the social challenges we are faced with today and strive to improve the lives of all South Africans, particularly in reducing poverty and hunger. Given the commitment that South Africa has to the realisation of the right to food, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, ... [Interjections.]
Mr M WATERS: Chairperson, on a point of order: Is it honourable for the member to wave her finger around like that? I thought it went out of fashion with hon Lekota. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, I do not think...[Interjections.] Order, hon members! It is not offensive. I think it is the manner of speech of the hon member. Let us allow her to continue.[Interjections.]Order! Continue, hon member.
Ms N R SEMENYA: Given the commitment that South Africa has in the realisation of the right to food, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, it is important that we reflect on the challenges of food security, both in South Africa and Africa.
Though South Africa is food secure on a national basis, there are households who continue to experience hunger as the rise of food inflation continues to outstrip the Consumer Price Inflation Index. It is therefore important for the department to refocus its efforts on supporting subsistence and smallholder production in advancing the food security status of households and communities. This is crucial to the revitalisation of agriculture, as new entrant farmers can contribute significantly to regional trade and, as such, to regional food security.
The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has interrogated the strategic plans, annual performance plans and budget as tabled in Parliament. The portfolio committee is pleased with the progress that the department is making in its response to the call of the NDP and the response to the plans outlined by the President in the state of the nation address earlier this year. The radical socioeconomic transformation programme of the ruling party’s manifesto finds expression in the revitalisation of the agriculture sector and the agro-processing value chain.
The National Development Plan clearly outlines the role that the agriculture and agro-processing sectors ought to play in the revitalisation of the rural economy. The contribution of agriculture to South Africa’s economy is not only important for economic growth but also for food security and job creation through bringing underused land in communal areas into commercial production, increasing land under irrigation and supporting commercial production in areas that have the potential for higher growth and employment.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has responded to the call of the NDP through its programmes that seek to address these national priorities in the detailed plans outlined in the Agricultural Policy Action Plan. Apap is focused on nine sectoral and six transversal key action areas that will contribute to food security, job creation, increased exports and overall economic growth. The value-chain approach in Apap will focus only on the following nine sectors: red meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables, wine, wheat …
Mr K Z MORAPELA: Chairperson, on a point of order: We really want to listen attentively to what the hon member is saying. Can she please slow down a bit so that we can actually understand her? Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Time is limited, hon member, so the member wants to get through her speech. Please continue, hon member.
Ms N R SEMENYA: The value-chain approach in Apap will focus only on the following nine sectors: red meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables, wine, wheat, sugar, forestry, fisheries and biofuels. The transversal key action areas seek to address the issue of inclusive growth through establishing and expanding local food networks, infrastructure development and providing incentives and support for small, medium and micro enterprises and small-scale producers across agriculture, forestry and fisheries value chains. The transversal key areas will focus on the Fetsa Tlala food production initiative, climate-smart agriculture, trade, agri-business development and support, biosecurity issues, and Strategic Integrated Project 11.
It is envisaged that Apap will increase the number of smallholder producers from 164 000 to 400 500 by 2019. This would contribute to increasing the value addition of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors by R48,9 billion by 2019. Most importantly, the share of households experiencing hunger will be reduced to 8% of households by 2019 through the creation of 162 500 jobs.
The effective management of biosecurity and related risks is critical and requires strengthened efforts in terms of food quality and safety. The department has outlined in its plans for 2015-16 the development of the National Management Plan for Pests and Diseases, which will play a critical role in the nine value chains identified in Apap. It is important to continue to strengthen the co-ordinated control and management interventions in this regard. The portfolio committee is keen on advancing the regulatory frameworks that contribute to the increased production of adequate, safe and nutritious food for a healthy nation. The effects of climate change will have serious consequences on natural resource management, particularly agricultural production and global food security systems in general.
The portfolio committee notes the budget cut of R158 million in nominal terms for the 2015-16 financial year and urges the department to refocus its activities on high-impact projects that will grow the economy and create jobs. In this regard, it is important for the department to implement its Apap activities in an effective and efficient manner. Further, the department must be cautioned in terms of the budget expenditure on conditional grants that are transferred to provinces for project implementation. Given the areas of concurrent competency in agriculture, the department must put in place mechanisms to effectively monitor these conditional grants.
In light of the budget cuts envisaged over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period, the importance of the delivery of services in a co-ordinated and integrated manner cannot be over-emphasised, as this has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of the intended outcomes of specific programmes. It is therefore important in this regard to commend to manner in which the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is collaboratively planning its Apap activities with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and other relevant government departments.
The portfolio committee draws the attention of the department to the impact assessment study on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Package Programme, Casp. The study revealed that Casp has made progress in achieving most of its intended objectives in respect of enhancing access to support services, increasing agricultural production and increasing income for beneficiaries. However, insufficient progress has been made in promoting commercialisation, market access, employment and achieving food security for all beneficiaries. The portfolio committee wants to urge the department to look into the recommendations outlined therein and to review the manner in which small-scale producers are supported in a holistic manner in order to achieve the 33% food surplus indicated in the National Development Plan.
The portfolio committee welcomes the 2013-14 unqualified audit report by the Auditor-General of South Africa and encourages the department to put concerted effort in addressing the issues raised in the report in terms of compliance to laws, as well as the provision of reliable and verifiable information in terms of predetermined objectives. In conclusion, …
Bohodio hodio, nyofo nyofo siyaqhuba.
The ANC supports the budget. [Applause.]
Ms A STEYN
Ms N R SEMENYA
Ms A STEYN: Hon House Chair, the ANC’s failure to empower millions of South Africans through its land reform process has put this country at a crossroads.
Wenza ntoni Mphathiswa?
The announcements made by Minister Nkwinti have shocked the agricultural sector in a period when they are still negotiating in good faith with the Minister on best practises for win-win solutions on the land question. We saw Minister Nkwinti announce last Friday that the ceilings for both natural and juristic persons will be as follows: the ceiling for a viable commercial small-scale farm should be 1 000 ha; a medium-scale farm should be 2 500 ha and large-scale viable commercial farm should be 5 000 ha.
The DA is strongly opposed to any cap on agricultural land ownership, as it will cap investment and cap job creation. Effectively, when farms grow beyond the ANC’s proposed cap, government will expropriate them. This will preclude investment across the sector, including black-owned agri-businesses that have grown beyond a certain point. This, along with other proposals, such as 50-50 ownership, has created uncertainty within the sector and will have a detrimental effect on food security, jobs and the economy as a whole.
It is becoming abundantly clear that the ANC-led government wants land reform to fail. If the ANC was serious about land reform, it would have ensured that a proper budget was made available for this very important programme. It is of the utmost importance that land reform succeeds in order to lift thousands of South Africans out of poverty.
So, why would the ANC-led government want land reform to fail? This would enable them at some point to evoke the limitations of rights under section 36 of the Constitution and override the protections guaranteed to individual property owners in terms of section 25 of the Constitution. I see you are in agreement, Minister Nkwinti. [Interjections.] This will allow the state to control all land, whether in the form of ownership or as a custodian.
This is becoming evident in the draft Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Bill, in which the followingis stated in section 3:
As the custodian of the nation’s agricultural land, the department may approve, reject, control, administer and manage any rezoning or subdivision of agricultural land.
The Bill further states that the Minister could expropriate land that has not been optimally used over a certain period of time. I quote:
A farmer must actively use and develop the agricultural land concerned to its optimal agricultural potential with due regard to the farming enterprise concern and if not used at all for agricultural purposes for three consecutive years, the Minister may consider the agricultural land concerned for expropriation at a lower price than would be paid for similar land in the same geographical area.
The SACP is clearly taking over from within. You can still call yourselves the ANC, but we are not fooled. We are witnessing a persistent trend towards an authoritarian approach in which the state controls and owns the land. This cannot be accepted in our young constitutional democracy.
One of the clearest indicators of this agenda to fail the land reform programme is the cut of the budget for both the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform. Budget reductions over the medium-term for the current year amount to R158 million, for next year R210 million and the year after that R200 million.
These reductions are primarily the result of persistent underspending in previous years. These budget cuts will have massive implications on the sector as a whole. Some of the most concerning reductions are for the Agricultural Research Council, which dropped from R1,3 billion in 2014-15 to R1 billion in 2015-16. The Trade Promotion and Market Access programme is reduced from R298 million to R238 million.The Co-Operatives and Rural Enterprises Development subprogramme is going from R117 million to R68 million - and those are the programmes that must help small-sale farmers. The Agroprocessing and Marketing subprogramme will also see its budget being reduced and so will the Extension of Support Services. All these programmes are focused on helping small-scale farmers develop.
All these budget cuts occur while the department aims to increase the number of hectares of land under productive use to 375 000 ha under its Fetsa Tlala project. This, however, is way below the target initially set by the department when it launched its project in 2013. Where is the set target goal of 1 million ha of land under production for the next five years? We do not see how you are going to implement this.
The number of smallholder farmers supported per year will also be dramatically decreased from 7 000 in this current financial year to 3 900 in the following year. The government is clearly failing people who live and work on the land in communal areas. The ANC-led government has left new emerging farmers to fend for themselves without proper title over the land, capital investment, skills, or access to markets. We need to support emerging farmers to enable them to run successful businesses. There needs to be a substantial increase in support to emerging farmers as they move through the various stages of business development. These budget cuts will not assist.
Hon Chair, hon Minister Mtsokwana must stop telling farmers to calm down and tell them that this is all a negotiating tactic. Why are you playing cat and mouse with the farmers? Next week we will probably see a new populist proposal being announced. Hon Minister, do you not know the damage this is causing to this sector? The hon Minister must inform us here today as to what exactly his plan is. You are supposed to be the protector of food security and the agricultural sector at large.
Mr J MTHEMBU: Hon House Chairperson, on a point of order: Do we have a Minister “Mtsokwana”?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Mthembu, I think it is not a point of order. Continue, hon Steyn.
Ms A STEYN: Hon Minister Zokwana must inform us here today what exactly his plan is. You are supposed to be the protector of food security and the agricultural sector at large, yet you remain silent while steps are being taken to destroy it - except for telling the farmers to calm down. This will be your legacy, Minister. The time to act is now, otherwise you will be the Minister who oversaw the enactment and implementation of legislation that systemically destroyed the agricultural sector, causing national food insecurity, major job losses and the collapse of rural economies. You cannot sit quietly while Minister Nkwinti runs amok. South Africa deserves better. [Applause.]
Mr B D JOSEPH
Ms A STEYN
Mr B D JOSEPH: Hon Chairperson, the EFF rejects this Budget Vote, fundamentally for two reasons. [Interjections.]The first is that the trade liberalisation policies adopted by the ANC since 1994 have significantly reduced any possibilities for the development of small-scale agriculture in this country, leaving only a few well-off farmers to monopolise agriculture. As a result of this, agriculture has been declining rapidly over the past few decades, threatening our food sovereignty as a nation.
In 1950, South Africa had about 120 000 farmers; in 2014 we only have 37 000. Most of the farmers have been suffocated out of the system because they simply cannot breathe anymore.
The ANC government, even though they have correctly identified agriculture as a growth driver, fails to understand a very simple fact: If you do not subsidies and protect your agriculture, your small-scale farmers will be snuffed out of the system by cheap imports from countries that subsidise and protect their own farmers. The result of this is that 100 farmers produce 70% of our food and that over 20 million rural inhabitants produce only 10% of our food through small-scale agriculture.
So, under the ANC, our agriculture has been demolished to such an extent that we import the most basic of things. We import snoek from Australia because we cannot properly support our own people living in coastal areas to exploit marine resources in a sustainable manner.
We import chicken from Brazil because our very own chicken farmers have been left to fend for themselves in a global environment where big nations support and protect their own agriculture. Your very own intervention, supposedly to develop small-scale rooibos farmers in Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape, has been mired in corruption. The tea-processing plant in the area is still not working, years after it was launched. The ANC is the enemy of small-scale farmers. [Interjections.]No self-respecting country can be like South Africa and fail to feed itself. The reality is that the country cannot produce food to feed its own citizens.
The second reason we object to this budget vote is that under the ANC the forestry sector has become a haven for corrupt and dishonest forestry monopolists, backed by senior ANC politicians.State forests in the area between Stutterheim and Keiskammahoek, better known in the Eastern Cape as Kumakhala and Qoboqobo, have been leased by this department to just one company - Rance Holdings - for a period of 99 years, at just R1 per hectare per year. This company has since continued to trash indigenous vegetation in the area with impunity and without environmental authorisation. They know that nothing will happen to them because they have on their boards senior ANC politicians, some of whom came to this Parliament to boast about their MK credentials.
The new private equity scheme being implemented by the rich white farmers in the Witzenberg subregion of the Cape Winelands area is a continuation of the misguided policies of the ANC. The previous black economic empowerment equity scheme failed to achieve 90% of its targets and its promises to uplift the livelihoods of the impoverished farm workers.
There are no investigations into how the white farmers misused state funds amounting to R30 billion to further enrich themselves, at the cost of placing the farm workers who were supposed to benefit from it into further poverty. Until this matter is properly investigated and those who misused state funds are prosecuted, the EFF and its members will reject any new equity schemes that these white farmers try to implement. [Interjections.][Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, hon members! Order, hon members!
Mr M HLENGWA
Mr B D JOSEPH
Mr M HLENGWA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, our country is teetering on the edge of a major crisis in the agricultural sector, yet to many it seems the urgency to stop this from taking place has not translated into practical action or steps from our government.
The mass food shortage that is gripping the country is not being adequately addressed because too much of the “things will improve” rhetoric has been fed to us, yet the crisis mode still stands. The fact that farmers continue to struggle to produce crops, especially during times of drought, is indicative of a government that is failing to capacitate its own farmers.
Only 3% of South African farmers produce 95% of South Africa’s formal food sector, yet the actions from this government do not aim to help but actually add more strain on these farmers. Uncertainty over land reform, labour discontent and polluted and over-extracted water resources are some of the issues that need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
There are said to be over 2 million subsistence farmers in the country, and they need greater support. We need to get back to basics. [Interjections.]Let us go back to subsistence farming, which will include reintroducing it in schools - Mr President of the youth league, please keep quiet - at clinics and hubs of agricultural activities. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, hon members!
Mr M HLENGWA: Co-operatives and smallholder farming are other catalysts for improving our food security but also boosting our economic development.
Other methods of getting urban dwellers involved in agriculture could involve rooftop farming and the use of city structures to accommodate the production of agricultural produce. We need to find innovative ways in our modern environment to blend agricultural activities with our lifestyle as this has the potential to alleviate the pressure that is placed on our farming community.
In rural communities, agricultural extension officers used to assist those who had land but did not necessarily know how to farm and showed them what methods to use to get the best results - this is, of course, no longer the case, because everything this government does is to stifle agricultural progress. Now the rural farming areas receive no guidance and this has resulted in job losses occurring and many people migrating to the cities to look for work.
With that in mind, the capacity of agricultural colleges needs to be expanded, so that they can not only train up and develop skilled individuals for the agricultural sector but also produce expert advisors on how rural communities can get back into farming on a large scale.
The Marine Living Resources Fund needs a complete overhaul in terms of its mandate and its location within the department must be revised. In the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, we are told of the frustration of the department in this regard. The fund does not want to associate itself with the department or the Minister; they operate in a vacuum, and this is a problem. [Interjections.]We cannot have an entity of the department acting as if it were a department on its own, without any accountability. [Interjections.] Calm down; chill!
With such renegade entities in the department, it is distressing that more is still being said about what is to be done and less about how the specific challenges are going to be addressed. Enough sugar-coating - we need to hear the way forward. There can be no running away from responsibilities - which are on the shoulders of all of us in this House - and giving us constantly failing land reform projects.
The challenges facing farm workers must take centre stage on government’s agenda, because farm workers’ rights are human rights and we dare not fail in the protection of those rights.
In supporting this Budget Vote, the IFP asserts that political will must be translated into political action.
Sihlalo, ake kubuyelwe ekulimeni kunciphe ukukhuluma.Abantu bakithi ukudla abanakho; izwe libheke ekubhubheni nengcindezi enkulu uma singezukuzilungisa lezi zinto.Kwakulinywa phambilini, indlala esibhekene nayo uma singayilungi kuyodingeka ukuthi kusheshe.UMongameli weNtsha ayeke ukubanga umsindo lapho.[Ubuwelewele.]
Mr S C MNCWABE
Mr M HLENGWA
Mr S C MNCWABE: House Chairperson, hon members of the House, Minister, Deputy Ministers and distinguished guests, agriculture is a pillar of many African nations. It has been so from the time of our forefathers to this day. The NFP believes that South Africa cannot have a successful government if it does not have a successful department of agriculture.
A very large portion of this country is in the hands of traditional leaders, and the main source of living in those areas is agriculture. This means the government must work with traditional leaders who own rural land to capacitate and develop emerging farmers in the rural areas - also to revive the spirit of farming. We believe that this will reduce the number of the rural population who move to cities for a better life and better job opportunities.
The NFP welcomes the department’s plan to promote food security by supporting food producers through inputs such as farming equipment, fencing, fertiliser and seedlings, as well as the Fetsa Tlala initiative. However, the amount of R834,8 million allocated over the medium term and reprioritised for the Fetsa Tlala initiative is not sufficient. One must bear in mind that a large proportion of our country’s population resides in poor rural areas and that the Fetsa Tlala initiative could potentially be one of the major benefits in alleviating poverty in our rural areas.
Another crucial task for this department is to create jobs in the farming sector. It is a fact that farming is a learned skill. Therefore, people need to be employed in the sector so that they can gain the skill and capacity to start their own farms in the long run. We are aware that the Agricultural Policy Action Plan promotes job creation in farming, fishing and agro-processing, with the aim to create 1 million jobs by 2030. We also note that the LandCare programme is projected to create 2 400 full-time jobs by rehabilitating 90 000 ha of land over the medium term. The NFP appeals to the department that these initiatives and programmes should not remain a dream on paper; we need to see action and delivery.
The year 2030 is only 15 years from now. This means that if the department wanted to achieve its goals, then there must be dedication. There is no time for laziness; no time for too much talking. Equally important is that there should be no unauthorised expenditure and no wasteful expenditure. The budget must go directly to where it is intended to go.
As the NFP we will support this budget with the belief and hope that it will be used in a manner that will create jobs in the farming sector; in a manner that will fight hunger and poverty; and, above all, in a manner that develops our rural communities to a level where everyone there enjoys life and sees no need to move to the overcrowded cities of our country. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms T M A TONGWANE
Mr S C MNCWABE
Mrs T M A GASEBONWE-TONGWANE: Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers present, hon members, viewers and guests, at its National Executive Committee Lekgotla in January, the ANC characterized the challenges facing the forestry sector as follows: There is low afforestation uptake due to cumbersome licensing processes; there is under investment in long-rotation uses such as timber for sawlogs; and there is dominance by monopoly capital in the form of a few big, vertically integrated forestry corporations.
Further, the availability of fibre was identified as a key constraint. Two principal sources for maintaining and increasing the availability of fibre were identified as, firstly, increasing the afforested area and, secondly, rehabilitating and improving the management of categories B and C forests,as well as recommissioning state-owned forests.
This is the directive that this Budget Vote should be speaking to when dealing with the forestry sector. Anything less than this and we would be doing an injustice to the mandate of what constitutes a radical phase of socioeconomic transformation.
The policy instruments at our disposal are the National Water Act and the Forest Sector Transformation Charter of 2009. These policy instruments need to be balanced against the objective risks of underinvestment, especially in long-rotation forestry for timber, cumbersome water licensing requirements, the ever-present risk of fire, poor public and private investment in research and financial constraints on refurbishment.
We acknowledge the refurbishment of the category B and C plantations in that all plantations identified by the Forestry Sector Charter have been certified. We have also finally recommissioned the forests in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, and replanting has commenced in all exited areas.
The targets the ANC government has set for the forestry sector is to ensure that 10 000 ha of new afforestation perannum is achieved as a conscious and necessary action towards a radical shift of the 100 000 ha target set out in the Forest Transformation Charter.
Let us examine this responsibility in economic terms. In terms of job creation, this will result in a substantive number of jobs being created in the primary sector and in the processing sector. Forestry has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of the rural economy. The forestry sector is a major contributor to the South African economy through its well-developed and diversified forest product industry.
This Budget Vote has to be alive to the fact that the forestry sector is currently facing several challenges, which impedes the realization of the ANC government’s objectives,specifically economic growth, employment creation and rural development. What we need to address seriously is the mandate of the White Paper on Sustainable Forest Development of 1996. Nineteen years does suggest that we need to evaluate its intentions and what has been achieved. It articulates that the state should reposition itself as a forestry sector leader and regulator. This must be our central mandate, and how the Budget Vote responds to these needs has to be measured.
The Forest Sector Transformation Charter gazette in 2009 has the objective of growing the sector while ensuring transformation. While the White Paper highlights the role of the state as a regulator, the NDP provides space for being an enabler for economic growth, rural development and employment creation. Having said this, practices such as limiting the opportunity for the expansion of the forestry sector due to cumbersome licensing processes should be dealt with. This results in the loss of strategic partners, which the sector can ill-afford, and in delays in planting. What certainly must be addressed is the underinvestment in the forestry sector. This is a direct responsibility of the department, and we look forward over the next 12 months to improvements in this regard. This must include how the sector relates to the funding mechanisms in the department.
We welcome the intervention in collaboration with funding institutions to address underinvestment in the forestry sector and the establishment of the forestry grant to support small growers. More funding will need to be made available to ensure the refurbishment of state plantations and to support research and development.
The leasing of the Category A plantations has resulted in the accumulation of lease rental money that the department has kept in a public investment account. The positives of this are that local communities are beneficiaries.
The study that was conducted into investigating forestry workers’ living and working conditions was fundamental. Meetings to resolve workers’ conditions, health, housing and sanitation issues have been conducted with the Departments of Health, Human Settlements, Education, State Security, Labour and Water and Sanitation. Going forward, it is an area that will require oversight and ensuring that the recommendations are implemented.
The intergovernmental forum that has been established to deal with blockages in the afforestation licensing conditions is welcomed. More effort needs to be put in this area of work to ensure the expansion of forestry plantations. The facilitation of afforestation licences through environmental impact assessments will assist in addressing the core function of afforestation.
On a positive note, the implementation of sector adaptation and mitigation plans, as well as the forestry protection strategy, will take the sector forward. The work on the refurbishment of forestry plantations and worker villages are all positive messages for the sector.
We welcome the task team of the Forestry Charter Council that has been established to investigate mechanisms to establish the forestry grant to support small growers. [Time expired.]
Mr M L W FILTANE
Ms T M A TONGWANE
Mr M L W FILTANE: Hon Chairperson, Minister, members and our guests in the gallery, the UDM very grudgingly supports the budget.We would like to make the following comments in this regard.
Food, or its absence, is a political weapon. Compare the Russian Revolution, where hundreds of hungry soldiers were sent to war, with what is happening in South Africa and you will see that we have a revolution rising on the horizon - just because of a lack of food.
With economic growth subdued since 1994, the department needs to apply tight fiscal controls. This is not happening at the moment.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has a leading role to play in ending poverty, but 11 million South African citizens live in the daily fear of not knowing where the next meal is going to come from.
On top of it all, it was disappointing to hear the current President rejoicing on 26 March 2014 over the fact that 16 million people, up from 11 million, are now on the state’s social security programme. A President rejoicing over that!
It is further disturbing that the department is unable to give us detailed statistics of sustainable employment opportunities created over the last financial year, yet government’s target is to create no less than 6 million jobs by 2019.
The political climate is poor. Consequently, private investment in South Africa is at a low ebb.
Your department informed the portfolio committee last month that it is unable to manage funds it transfers to provinces. Yet we have seen the Eastern Cape’s department of agriculture flighting fancy TV adverts. We wonder whether they even have the money to implement those projects. The Eastern Cape province has tens of thousands of hectares available for forestation. As we speak, hardly 2 000 ha of that can be implemented.
Employment is a very scarce commodity in South Africa today, yet the department informs us that, at some point, it had to import sheep shearers from Mozambique!
Owu Minister, asinabo nyan-nyani abantu abakwazi ukucheba igusha apha eMzantsi.
In our time?
You have several entities that conduct research in various spheres. We feel that these should be put under one roof in order to better manage both the funds and the operations. There are far too many CEOs.
Transformation in forestry appears to be limited to the sphere of black economic empowerment only. We have yet to see a typical small, medium or micro afforestation enterprise. The charter is there, the laws allow it, but there is no funding - so SMMEs are not running any forests.
The fishing sector is, for all intents and purposes, still an old boys’ club. It has undergone virtually zero transformation, except that black faces are put up when they do paperwork and, once that is approved, then white faces take over. That is what is happening in the fishing industry, right here in the Western Cape. We suggest you remodel your support structure, as qualified staff in that sector are doing menial jobs.
Remember the French Revolution of the 18th century - when people were doing menial jobs found themselves out there...?
South Africa has yet to see a formerly disadvantaged farmer being upgraded. Farmers have complained that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has too many names – Agricultural Policy Action Plan, Apap, and so on. They are confusing to the farmers.
Implement the policies and charters. The country needs to know the tonnage that will be produced by your department as a percentage of how much South Africa consumes annually. Thank you. [Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Order! May I remind our guests in the gallery that they are not allowed to participate in the debate while the committee is sitting. You may smile, but you may not applaud, or exchange words with the member at the podium.
Dr P J GROENEWALD
Mr M L WFILTANE
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, ek wil begin om vir die agb Minister te komplimenteer. Agb Minister, ek wil u komplimenteer dat u die moeite gedoen het om die uitnodiging van die National Maize Producers Organisation, Nampo, vir Oesdag te aanvaar om die verrigtinge daar te gaan bywoon. Nie een van u vorige twee voorgangers het die moeite gedoen om daar te wees nie.
Maar, agb Minister, u kom by die boere en u sê vir hulle, die politici moet ophou om emosionele uitsprake te maak en beloftes te maak, veral oor grondhervorming, wat hulle weet hulle nie kan uitvoer nie.
Ek stem saam met u. Die VF Plus sê dit nou al vir die afgelope 10 tot 15 jaar in hierdie Parlement. Maar agb Minister, u was Vrydag in hierdie debat toe u kollega, die agb Minister Nkwinti, gepraat het van die nuwe plafonne. U het nie opgestaan en vir hom“hamba kahle” gesê nie. Nee! U het niks gedoen nie! Hy sit vandag hierso!
Ek wil vandag vir u sê dat u die boere se intelligensieonderskat. Lyk my u dink hulle is dom., want u as ANC-beheerde regering is besig om die sogenaamde “good cop, bad cop” storietjie te speel. U kollega, binne daardie konteks, is die “bad cop”. Hy moet vertel wat hulle gaan doen met die grond. Hulle gaan die boere se grond vat. U is die “good cop”. U moet vir die boere gaan troos en sê, moet tog nie bekommerd wees nie; die politici moet ophou om emosionele uitsprake te maak.
U het vandag hier gepraat.Hier sit die politici! Hoekom sê u dit nie vir die politici nie?
As u eerlik en opreg met die boere was, dan sou u vandag hier gekom en gesê het die politici moet ophou om emosionele uitsprake te maak.
U agb Adjunk-minister is ’n tweede geval. Hy maak ’n hoogs emosionele uitspraak en sê hy, as Adjunk-minister van Landbou, gaan aan die plaasmoorde in Suid-Afrika aandag gee en die problem oplos. Waar is hy? Hy is nie eers vandag hier nie! Is dit hoe min hy van die boere dink? U het nie vir hom verskoning gemaak nie.
Hy stel meer belang in wat by die polisie aangaan, toe hy ’n cowboy was, en vertel hoe sleg die huidige Kommisaris van Polisie is. Ek stem saam met hom; sy is nie baie goed nie. Maar dit is waar sy aandag is.Wat het hy tot vandag toe gedoen om plaasmoorde in Suid-Afrika behoorlik te probeer bekamp?
Toe hy die Kommisaris van Polisie was, toe hy in die begunstigde posisie was om wel iets te kon doen, toe was hy ook bewusteloos. Toe kon hy niks doen om plaasmoorde te probeer bekamp nie.
Agb Minister, u moet nie die boere probeer mislei nie. U gaan uitgevang word. Dan, wil ek vir u sê, gaan die argwaan van die boere tien maal erger wees. As hulle jou eers vertrou het, en jy stel hulle daarna terleur... U ken nog nie die boere van Suid-Afrika nie.
Ek wil vandag ook vir u sê, agb Minister, die taak van die landbou is om voedsel te produseer. Daarvoor het hulle grond nodig.U weet dit. Nou vra ek vir u: Het u opgestaan in die Kabinet en gesê, is hierdie goed prakties uitvoerbaar?
Ek wil vandag vir u sê, toe die leier van die VF Plus die Adjunk-minister was, het hy telke male in die Kabinet opgestaan as daar voorstelle oor grond in Suid-Afrika gemaak is en verduidelik wat die praktiese implikasies daarvan was. Daardeur het hy dit gerem. Maar noudat hy daar weg is, nou gebeur al hierdie tipe van goed.
Wat doen u? Ek weet u kan nie op u Adjunk-minister staat maak nie, maar die boere maak op ú staat. Ek sê vandag vir u, die bevolking word groter, en boere, agb Minister, wil boer! Dis wat hulle wil doen. Hulle wil kos produseer. U moet dit vir hulle makliker maak.As u dit vir hulle moeiliker gaan maak; as u onsekerheid gaan skep, gaan daar nie uitbreidings wees nie en gaan voedselonsekerheid ontstaan - want die boere is onseker. Hulle sê hulle kan nie die ANC-beheerde regering vertrou nie. [Tyd verstreke.]
Ms D CARTER
Dr P J GROENEWALD
Ms D CARTER: Chairperson, at a summit at Maputo in 2006, South Africa committed to ensuring that least 10% of its national budget would be allocated to agriculture, given its multiplier effect on the economy and its significance in ensuring food security - a matter that stands between the perpetual hunger of our people and a more prosperous and healthy life.
Needless to say, nine years later, agriculture is allocated a mere 1,04% of the national budget. This is 0,3% lower than in 2012 and 8,96% lower than the agreement that was entered into. Is this a good story to tell?
With this kind of under-capitalisation of agriculture, chances of elevating it to its full potential are very slim. This has to change if we are serious about using agriculture to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The National Development Plan, NDP, is set to tackle some challenges on paper. Implementation, however, is the magic word. According to the NDP, agriculture has the potential to create 1 million jobs by 2030. To achieve this, the NDP says that South Africa has to expand irrigated agriculture, use underused land in communal areas, and pick and support agricultural sectors in regions that have high potential for growth and employment.
Two years after the adoption of the NDP, Cabinet approved the largest percentage budget cut to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The department is projected to lose R158 million in 2015-16. This is not your fault, hon Minister; it is the fault of Treasury or Cabinet. The department is projected to lose R210 million in 2016-17, and R200 million in 2017-18.
Will we grow land and labour productivity and agriculture as a whole through the proposals by Minister Nkwinti, where farmers will be expected to forfeit 50% of their farms? The answer is no. Will we grow agriculture by setting land ceilings? The answer is no.
President Zuma, in the 2015 state of the nation address, announced a land ceiling of 12 000 ha. The Minister of contradictions, Minister Nkwinti, on 8 May, spoke of a land ceiling of 5 000 ha for commercial farmers and 1 000 ha for small farms. That was on 8 May! This, after the Minister of contradictions admitted that between 70% and 96% of land reforms had failed due to government not training emerging farmers or providing capital and resources. How can you set a land ceiling when there is no uniformity in land quality and rainfall?
The question arises as to the value, productivity and financial sustainability of 5 000 ha in the Winelands, and 5 000 ha in the Northern Cape. In the Western Cape, a successful wine farm might require 30 ha, but a farmer in the Northern Cape that farms dorper sheep might need 30 000 ha.
How on earth does government plan to make 30 000 farmers produce enough food for a nation of 52 million people, when these farmers are disadvantaged by not getting subsidies like their international counterparts – here we are not talking colour; we are talking farmers – when their safety and the safety of their property is not protected, as enshrined in the Constitution, the supreme law of this country?
Government must stop gambling with agriculture. The French Revolution has taught us that the most dangerous people are hungry people. [Interjections.]
The Chair can laugh, but in a political election ploy, the ruling party is hell-bent on destabilising food security and South Africans by promises of land. It is not going to work.
The Minister and the department will need to be bold and listen to an industry with hundreds of years’ experience, and not to the comrades who believe that food originates at Pick ’n Pay and Woolworths. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr C H M MAXEGWANA
Ms D CARTER
Mr C H M MAXENGWANA: Hon Chair, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, our visitors from Uganda, MECs from the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo present, guests in the gallery, comrades and friends, at the beginning of 2015, the 60th year of the Freedom Charter, the President of our movement, on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, declared this year the year of the Freedom Charter. It is important to remind all ANC cadres and South Africans that the year 2014 was that of united action to move South Africa forward. We have indeed moved South Africa forward. [Applause.]
Reflecting on the years since the ANC began issuing January 8 statements way back in 1979 - the year of the spear - there is a distinctive programme of action in-built into each declaration reflecting the different phases of our struggle. The 2015 statement spells out what each clause of the Freedom Charter says and how these clauses will be programmed in changing the lives of South Africans. Coupled with the National Development Plan, it places our country on a particular trajectory of socioeconomic development. South Africa today is a much better place than it was before 1994. [Applause.]
Needless to say that 21 years into democracy farm workers continue to reel under terribly exploitative conditions, which includes being paid low wages and the dop system. Their bosses maim and kill them, and such atrocities are the order of the day here in the Western Cape. It is the realisation of such horrible practices that caused the labour movement to join hands with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Departmentof Rural Development and Land Reform to intervene on behalf of the workers on farms.
I will spend the remaining time on matters related to fisheries and the fisheries sector. South Africa’s coast is about 3000 km, stretching from Namibia to KwaZulu-Natal, and boasts more than 10 000 marine animal species, as well as marine plants and seaweeds. The South African Constitution entitles all citizens to have equal rights and privileges to enjoy benefits offered by the country. The Freedom Charter states that people shall share in the country’s wealth. With the introduction of the Marine Living Resources Amendment Act in 2013, the fishing sector underwent a radical and fundamental transformation. This legislation transferred economic power to fishing communities and, through the vehicle of co-operatives, put in place the mechanism and system for people to be their own economic liberators.
The ANC-inspired legislation brings about the real possibility of historic fishing communities establishing a future economic base for themselves and giving these communities the powers to determine key aspects of control of the means of production. It was a commitment made in the ANC’s 2014 elections manifesto and is currently being implemented in forums in all coastal communities.
It established fairness in contracts and regulates fishing as a right, not a permit, with co-ops having long-term community benefit to deal with the legacy of fisheries management. It is about rights, socioeconomic rights and local economic development. It is legislation that spells out how to exploit the fisheries resources in a sustainable manner, which individuals/companies/entities are expected to comply with to ensure that future generations can also benefit from the resources.
Regarding rights allocations, as the Minister outlined, rights end in February 2015 to December 2015 rights and a new process begins. This is the time for all South Africans, in particular in coastal areas, to grab this opportunity because over time it will change their lives for the better. Here I am talking about the coastal rural areas of the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces, as well as KwaZulu-Natal.
Small-scale fishermen have been harvesting marine resources using traditional fishing gear and using it for consumption, livelihoods and medicinal purposes, among others. The Marine Living Resources Amendment Act accommodates this group of people and subsistence fisheries through various departmental interventions. Through a very democratic and inclusive process over a period of three years, which included the Nedlac processes, the fisheries community representatives, NGOs, business and labour, especially Cosatu, a new vision for the governance and management of small-scale fisheries in South Africa came into existence.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has developed a roadmap for the implementation of small-scale fisheries. Public participation and communication with all stakeholders will commence soon to coincide with the rights allocation to the nine sectors. However, the difference is that small-scale fishing rights will be allocated to community cooperatives.
I now want to deal with the issue of poaching: one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems relates to illegal, unreported and unregulated activities. It is a global problem and it varies from one coastal state to the other, depending on the different types of species targeted by the demand-and-supply situation and how affected governments respond to the threat.
In most cases, the full range of species has become the subject of looting by organised crime nationally and by transnational criminal syndicates, which are sophisticated and wellresourced. This type of crime is linked to various other crimes, like drug and arms smuggling and human trafficking.
In response to this challenge, South Africa has recognised the need for a multifaceted approach to fight this scourge and those involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated activities. High technology will be used, including monitoring ports of entry and increased capacity.
For this to succeed it needs the support of all sectors of our society, including industry. Do not buy fish and fish-products that cannot be accounted for. Do not get involved in fraudulent activities such as the underreporting of catches or the illegal importation/exportation of fish and fish products.
Hon Chair, the ANC supports the Budget Vote 24. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr L M NTSHAYISA
Mr C H M MAXENGWANA
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, South Africa is an agricultural economy. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has the potential to contribute a lot to the reduction of unemployment and the alleviation of poverty in this country.
The budget that has been allocated to this department is appreciated. However, there is a decrease. Of course, we have to learn to do more with less. We hope this is going to be appropriately and effectively implemented in accordance with the annual strategic plan. As the AIC, we propose to the department that agricultural training centres be established, not just colleges - because these are the centres that will train those people who are already involved in farming. The people who never went to these colleges to train in agriculture should be trained because they have skills. Those skills should be developed in these training centres. That is why we encourage the department to establish these training centres.
It is important because most people in the rural areas farm, but they need to be assisted by government. Minister, a promise was made about tractors that would be allocated to the provinces. We are still looking forward to that; I have not seen these tractors. I would like to hear how far you are with those. There is a need for these tractors, which would encourage the rural economy. When our people see that they are being assisted by government, then they would really feel that they are free. In itself, agriculture can bring about radical socioeconomic transformation in this country. [Applause.]
Coming to fishing, it should not only been seen as taking place in the oceans. We should also talk of inland fishing. We have so many rivers in the rural areas and have people who are fishing there. So, these people should be assisted and their activities should be regulated. They should be helped financially by government, hon Minister. The small-scale fisheries policy that has been developed is highly appreciated and should now be implemented.
People can also be full participants in the planting of trees in the rural and farming areas. Traditional leaders and their communities should be engaged to give land for the planting of trees, as this will allow communities to benefit. I was challenged by hon Nkosi Mandela when I said I was one of the traditional leaders. He challenged me ... [Interjections.] ... Mandela. Where are you, Chief Mandela? You are here. Thank you very much!
The priority of agriculture is to produce food for the people. Then we talk of food security. It is our mandate to produce food for the people to eat. When you visit a doctor, the doctor will tell you to take one tablet before or after a meal – that is the doctor’s mandate. Our mandate is that we should produce food. [Time expired.]
Mr N T GODI
Mr L M NTSHAYISA
Mr N T GODI: Chairperson, comrades and hon members, I dedicate my speech to a 16-year-old girl from a deep rural village in Gothenburg, Manyeleti, Noxolo Hlathi, who is doing a BSc degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of the North. [Applause.]
The APC is here to support this Budget Vote ...
HON MEMBERS: Of course it is!
Mr N T GODI: ... as the department has the fundamental task of reversing the entry point of the pauperisation of the African peasantry. The APC supports the strategic objectives of eradicating the incidence of hunger, ensuring food security and contributing to vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities. The poverty, inequality and unemployment that affect the majority of the African people is a historical construct with its roots in the destruction of a very successful African farming class through white minority land dispossession, buttressed by a battery of racist legislation.
The APC fully supports efforts to revive, enhance and grow the proportion of African farmers. Africans cannot just be consumers of food they do not produce. Africans cannot depend on the white minority farmers to feed them. That is why, as the APC, we support all efforts to make land available to our people for agricultural purposes. We also support the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, Casp. Our concern, however, comrade Minister, is how this programme is run – that the monitoring and accountability for these funds are disbursed to provinces. The APC calls on you, Minister, to ensure that the director-general and the MECs ensure that this programme is successful.
When the white minority took land from our people through the Natives Land Act, they were not very effective as farmers. They relied on the slave labour of our people and the support of their colonial government. The least we can do is to support our people involved in farming. We must stop waste, mismanagement and neglect. Casp disburses about R2 billion annually. Used properly, it can go a long way in realising the strategic goal of increasing the number of African farmers.
The running of our marine living resources and how it is positioned and managed by the department can be considered counter to the objective of ensuring that poor communities benefit from the oceans economy. Minister, the department must run the marine living resources, make it more accountable and clamp down on corruption. Fishing communities deserve better.
The APC welcomes your leadership in demanding administrative capacity in the department instead of relying on consultants. The APC is opposed to the privatisation of state administration as a matter of ideological conviction. Minister, we appreciate the good financial management in the department. We support this budget in the hope that, in future, the Auditor-General will give you a clean audit.
Lastly, the APC wants to encourage young African students to follow in the exemplary footsteps of young Noxolo Hlathi and to see for themselves a future, a life and a career path in agriculture, the primary industry. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms Z JONGBLOED
Mr N T GODI
Ms Z JONGBLOED: Chairperson and hon Minister, something stinks in the leadership ranks of the fisheries sector. [Interjections.] The Deputy Direct-General of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries did not last a year in the post before returning to Pretoria, leaving the running of this key economic sector for the umpteenth time in the hands of an acting deputy director-general.
The director-general is about to retire. The Deputy Minister does not seem to have an interest in agriculture, forestry and fisheries either. He has been hinting that he would rather be a police commissioner - as befits a self-appointed general - than attend to runaway corruption in the fisheries sector, the challenges with the much-lauded small-scale fisheries plan and the chaos in coastal communities. While the hon Cele is meddling in the affairs of National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, our marine resources are being pillaged with impunity ...
... pleks dat hy sy energie en ervaring met polisiëring daaraan wy om leiding te gee om ’n werkbare plan teen stropers te help uitwerk.
Die departement het geen effektiewe strategie teen stroping nie en dit skyn dat daar nóg die kapasiteit nóg die wil is om stropers aan bande te lê. Ons hoor gereeld van beslaglegging op duisende tonne gestroopte perlemoen, ’n aanduiding van hoe oneffektief wetstoepassing ter see in die werklikheid is.
We need our abalone in the sea, not in warehouses for poached marine resources.
An HON MEMBER: Hear, hear!
Ms Z JONGBLOED: Mr Minister, it is a free-for-all out there, while compliance has collapsed and the infamous brown envelope has become an integral part of the endemic corruption in the fisheries sector.
Just two days ago, treknetters [people who use a dragnet] landed tons of yellowtail on Fish Hoek beach, killing hundreds of kilograms of bycatchwhile, at the same time, at Macassar, treknetters pulled about 500 tons of shad, cob and steenbras from the sea. What is as worrying as the wanton destruction of our resources is the fact that members of the public saw government compliance officials taking fish from the nets and transporting it in government vehicles. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Shocking!
Ms Z JONGBLOED: A new study just released found that officials appointed to protect and monitor our resources are being paid in cash and fish to look the other way; to be party to the irregularities of poaching, overfishing and underreporting, to act as informers and to tip off poachers about police operations.
In the sea of chaos and incompetence that characterises the fisheries sector, the small-scale fisheries plan is being held up as the panacea for all ills.
Ek wil vir u sê hoekom ek nie u optimisme daaroor deel nie. Ons het doodeenvoudig nie genoeg vis in die see naby die kus om die belofte van armoedeverligting vir 30 000 vissers te vervul nie. Minister, as ’n mens die bestaande vangste-statistiek neem en dit onder 30 000 vissers verdeel, beteken dit dat elke visser een snoek per jaar kry en 20 kg kreef per jaar. Dit lyk asof u geen insig het in die dinamika in vissergemeenskappe nie.
Die departement se aandrang op die sosialisties-geïnspireerde koöperatiewes as voorkeurmodel vir die toekenning van regte is regtig verstommend – dít ten spyte daarvan dat koöperatiewes in sy huidige vorm die bron is van erge gemeenskapspanning en verdeeldheid en gekenmerk word deur korrupsie, wanadministrasie en politieke inmenging. Daar is ernstige vrae oor die haalbaarheid van die spesies in die kwotamandjie en die gevaar dat tekortkominge stropery in die hand kan werk.
Die 2013 kwotatoekennings hang nog in die lug en dit het die departement al miljoene gekos om te probeer regstel. Wat egter verbysterend is, is dat dieselfde mense wat verantwoordelik was vir die ineenstorting van die visvangregte-toekenningsproses van 2013 die sleuteldrywers van die kleinskaalse visseryeplan is –praat van ’n mislukking wat homself herhaal!
You promised coastal communities that your fisheries plan would improve the quality of their lives. This may well be your last chance. If you fail them once again, you will cause untold misery and maybe even implode communities. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr P P MABE
Ms Z JONGBLOED
Mr P P MABE: Hon Chair, hon Minister, chairperson of the committee, distinguished guests and members of this august House, maybe we should start at the end for the sake of hon Jongbloed, who is a member of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and knows that we have received a report from the department about the work they are doing to organise the fisheries sector. She was there when we went to a strategic planning session where we were presented with elaborate plans in this regard.
She also knows that in February 2015, the department met with the small-scale fisheries industry to outline how they are going to be integrated into the mainstream economy. So, she is well aware that only an ANC-led government can make this possible. It is very important because hon Jongbloed has not missed a single meeting, unlike hon Joseph from the EFF, who only came to the meeting held on the eve of this Budget Vote. Half of the things that he raised have been dealt with. The problem with Bantu education – when some of us went through it – was that if you occasionally missed classes you were bound to fail at the end of the year.
I think another issue – for Ms Carter - is that we knew when we were still young that you do not have to break a television set in order to have dinner with the presenters. Those are visuals that are transmitted through a broadcast. We know very well that the products you find in Pick ’n Pay, Spar or any of the other supermarkets are produced. That is why the ANC-led government is doing all it can to make sure that small-scale farmers participate in the main stream. They produce food that is also sold in those stores. All of these things are captured in the Freedom Charter. We are doing everything to make sure that we achieve the prescripts of that charter.
I think that hon Filtane will agree with me as I borrow from what Amìlcar Cabralsaid:
Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas …They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.
That is what the ANC is doing - making sure our people have a future. We are doing all these things to make sure that we also capacitate our youth to participate in opportunities that arise from a number of agricultural activities that exist.
In this regard, President Zumaspoke about Operation Phakisa when he tabled the state of the nation address. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for implementing aquaculture through marine resources to make sure that the oceans economy is fully realised through Operation Phakisa. We do not need a budget; our people must be innovative to make sure that some of these things are achieved.
The ANC did not come into power through budgets. It came into power through the tireless struggle of the toiling masses. We have always understood that point. I can assure hon Mncwabe ... [Interjections.]
Ms D CARTER: Chairperson, is hon Mabe prepared to take a question?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Hon Mabe, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr P P MABE: I only take questions from journalists who are properly trained.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): So, the answer is no, hon member.[Interjections.] Hon Carter, can you take your seat?
Mr P P MABE: I can assure hon Mncwabe that the ANC-led government is doing everything in its power to make sure that the creation of jobs is realised. You will notice that even before we get to 2030 and unleash the 1 million jobs we spoke about, there are 145 000 jobs that we are to create in agroprocessing; another 3 000 households in agricultural smallholder schemes by 2020. We are creating jobs everyday. We hope that people do not have the problem of high blood pressure, because they must live to see this story being told to the nation.
The ANC-led government is hard at work. We meet quite often with different stakeholders in the agricultural space who come and brief us on the many interventions that they too are making. It is important that when hon members stand up here to speak - especially hon Groenewald, who is trying to play on the emotions of the Afrikaner farming community, assuring them that the ANC-led government cares less - we assure them that it is the ANC-led government that initiated a participatory democracy. This is a democracy where all our people, regardless of their skin colour, can participate in making sure that we move this country forward. We should not play with people’s emotions. We must speak the truth to power and in the process we must acknowledge and give the people’s movement a pat on the back and say, there is its delivery.
I thought the members of the opposition parties would also be interested in what we are doing in the forestry sector. I was quite concerned about helping the hon member from the IFP and I want to tell him that we have actually positioned our forestry strategy to deal with rural communities. We are making sure that rural communities participate in timber production, in paper production and all of that. That is what we are doing on the forestry side. We have not left anything on the side.
Re le ba Lefapha la tša Temo, Dithokgwa le Dihlapi re lwela go netefatša gore batho kamoka ba kgone go lema dijo tšeo ba di jago ka magaeng.
Our people are being empowered to also produce the food they eat at home. Earlier we were told about Pick ’n Pay. We do not want Pick ’n Pay; we want Tshabangu who is producing his or her own vegetables and people are buying from him or her; not Pick ’n Pay. Our struggle has always been about placing ownership, not only of the means of production of the resources in the hands of our people. That is the struggle the ANC is engaged in. We, therefore, support this Budget and we think that it is a very progressive one. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
Mr P P MABE
Die MINISTER VAN LANDBOU, BOSBOU AND VISSERYE: Baie dankie, Voorsister...
Let me start with... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Order, hon members!
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Let me start with members who stood here and spoke about land reform.
Ek is baie jammer. [I am very sorry.]
It is not my portfolio.
Luister, gister het ek met die boere gepraat.
And I told them what...
... gedoenmoet word.
We need an audience with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. Luckily he is here.
Hy het gehoor.Hy het geluister.Ons is nie bang omdit te bespreek nie.
What we do not like are threats; if that is done, then this will happen. Threats do not help anybody. I understood what the farmers were saying. They are not against change. They want consultation and I can tell you one thing: It is wrong to come here and say that farmers do not agree with 50:50. We have shown examples of farmers who have come forward to say, government, you are wasting our time; we want to progress.
So, I would like to say, yes, farmers have challenges. I am sitting with a letter in my office from the farmers of Limpopo about the issue of farm murders. I have had a meeting with AfriForum. We have an agreement on ...
... watgedoen moet word...
... going forward.
It will not help us to come here and shout because, as a farmer, you know, when you plant...
... Mnr Groenewald... agb Groenewald, jy weet...
... there will be times when no maize will be growing, but when the rain falls, something will be growing. We do not need people shouting. What we need are ideas that can be put into practice, and together we can work on them. [Applause.]
I will not be responding to people who speak about land as if this were the Budget Vote of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. However, I will say that we will play our role - with farmers - to make sure that dialogue takes place in those areas.
We have spoken about extension services, Mr Hlengwa. I can assure you that two of our provinces have improved extension services. I have been to Utrecht in KwaZulu-Natal. I have found small-scale farmers producing sugar beans with the assistance of extension officers. I have been to Limpopo. I have seen that where extension officers are present, there is improvement.
So, I have heard you. I hope that we will perhaps be able to show you what we are doing as a department. We are not sugar-coating; we are producing. What we fail to get is people who have good ideas but miss the chance to present those ideas in the committees that are created for that purpose. However, I really appreciate your ideas.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is not debating police issues. As we speak, he is in the USA, attending a meeting on forestry, because we are going to be hosting a forestry congress - the first of its kind in Africa - in September.
Therefore, I do not think we should come here and deal with issues. By the way, the reason we are still consulting is that it was your plea, asking us to give people more time, and we agreed to do that.
Om dankie te sê sal nie baie seer maak nie.
Just say, you listened to us and you extended the deadline. Do not to come here and make as if nothing has happened!
On the issue of corruption...
... ek stem saam met jou. Iets stink.
Corruption is wrong. It deprives people of what is due to them, so we agree with you. Give us the list of people you know, but I can assure you of this: Where there is corruption, there is a corruptor. We must deal with those people who corrupt others. [Interjections.]
Ek het... [Onhoorbaar.] ... by die Weskaap.
Do you know what I miss - and I hope the DA will take this kindly: I miss the Minister of Agriculture - you call him a Minister. I have been to many places in the Western Cape, and he failed to get the views of the people he is supposed to listen to. The last time was as part of the NCOP programme, and he was not there. Mr Meyer of Finance is the one who came. Unfortunately, he could not give us views on what is happening, but he told me something that I think we need to be sober about: In the Western Cape, commercial agriculture has only 1% black people. We must change that together. [Interjections.]
Ons kan nie daaroor veg nie. Ons moet met mekaar saamwerk om daardie situasie te verander.
We will work with you. [Interjections.]
Hon Filtane, we...
... sixoxile, nkosi yam. Akulunganga kaloku ukuba ufike apha kweli qonga ubethe ngathi ulizulu laseMthatha eligqugqisa lidlula.Masiphangele kunye.Siyakufuna kulaa komiti.Ezi zimvo zakho mazithethwe phaya. Ngelishwa wena ukrobile ...
... because, before the ANC-led government came to power, those who lead the UDM today were leading in the Eastern Cape. So, we bear some issues together. However, I am sure that together we can find a formula for going forward.
I agree with you that there are things we need to do to improve. Let me assure you and the people of Lambasi - the member of the EFF who raised this matter before we spoke, I hope she is here – ... [Interjections.] ...we are busy trying to get commercial farmers to invest in that area of Lusikisiki so that those facilities can be used.
EFF, you know, our people have learnt through Nongqawuse.
Bayazi ukuba amaphupha acingwa ngendlela engeyiyo soze atshintshe abe yenye into engengawo amaphupha.Siyakudinga, nkosi yam, kulaa komiti.Khange ndikwazi ukukuva kangangendlela le ubuthetha ngayo.
I do not know the source of ...
... ezi nkcukacha-manani zintsha uza nazo zivela phi na.
Ours tell us that currently, through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, CASP, we have been able to support 164 000 small-scale farmers. Yours is saying something different. Perhaps you should come to the committee so that your statistics and their source can be understood and something can be done about it. Sometimes ...
... ukuba nomsindo owodlula iinyawo ohamba ngazo ... [Kwahlekwa.] ... kwenza ukuba ungaviwa nangabantu ngoba unomsindo omkhulu. Uthi, ngomso makuthathwe umhlaba ebantwini unikwe abangenamhlaba.Umba wezolimo, nkosi yam, awulilo iphupha oza kuvuka ulenze.
It is about training and understanding what agriculture is.
Asikokufaka umbona phantsi komhlaba.Uthi nakweyeSilimela ulime umbona uze ucinge ukuba uza kuvuna kwiinyangana ezizayo.
So, I am saying, please, EFF, we want to work with you; with your energy, but please, come with reasonable ideas that we can implement.
I want to thank those hon members who came forward to give guidance on what must be done. They are the members of the ANC, APC, AIC, UDM- even though I take issue with some of what you said, which, I think, we need to polish – and NFP. Thank you for your constructive debate. We do listen even to those who disagree with us.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the presence of my beautiful wife among those in the gallery.[Interjections.]I also want to acknowledge the work of the director-general and her team. It is because of them that we are where we are today. If the director-general’s term of office comes to an end, hon Jongbloed, it is a matter for the department, not for the DA. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Thank you, hon Minister. Hon members, I noticed, even in the earlier debate, that members were quite surprised when Ministers acknowledged their spouses.
They do have wives or partners. That brings us to the end of these proceedings.
The Committee rose at 19:35.
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