Budget Vote Debate- Extended Public Committee
Inkosi RN Cebekhulu, MP
The budget allocated to this department is quite simply insufficient for it to carry out its mandated tasks and the notable decrease in the adjustment in respect of land restitution leaves it now with lesser funds to perform its mandate of acquiring land previously lost through forced removals.
Land restitution is a critical component of land reform in South Africa and remains a massive task which requires resolution sooner rather than later. However the rate at which land claims are settled remains pathetically slow and with more claims being lodged with the office of National Land Claims since the opening of the second five year period for those who could not meet the deadline of 31 December 2008, it will only get slower.
While it is commendable that many dispossessed citizens and their families have had their land restored there are still a great many awaiting restitution so that they may continue to rebuild their lives.
In respect of Departmental purchases of farm lands to assist new entrants into the business of commercial farming, we are still witnessing these lands soon after purchase becoming unproductive and this requires attention. This not only undermines food security in the country but also creates a new class of unemployed as people who were once employed as farm labourers on these farms now find themselves jobless. The undesirable socio-economic knock-on effects as a result of this are devastating not only to the labourers but to the families that they financially support as well. It is imperative that the department provides on-going assistance, arranges mentorship programmes and speeds up the revitalisation of those farms to their previous productive outputs thereby not only maintaining and creating additional employment opportunities but also assisting in food security.
Providing settlement support to beneficiaries in sugar cane farms is also proceeding at snail’s pace and requires greater impetus. Provision of fences to fence-off arable land in communal areas and providing means of ploughing the fields is another way of assisting development. A good example of this is what the department did at Umsinga Top by fencing ploughed land and establishing grazing camps for livestock, so as to allow the youth to attend at school.
This type of comprehensive thinking and approach is what is required if this department is to fulfil its objectives.
The Inkatha Freedom Party supports this budget vote.
I thank you.
Inkosi RN Cebekhulu, MP
082 975 5107
IFP Media, Parliament