Hon. Inkosi Cebekhulu, MP
21 July 2020
It is good and well to have long-term vision of integrated economic growth in the agricultural sector, but it is doomed to fail unless we can seriously address the current realities of poor management of the farms gained in the process of land restitution and redistribution.
Redistributed farms that were once productive have become the playing fields for the control of power amongst beneficiaries. This is as a result of trustees being allowed to loot, while leaving the vast majority of beneficiaries as mere spectators. Even some officials and politicians have sunk their fingers into the so-called game. Yet what the current administration fails to realise, is that the agricultural sector is the foundational support of the nation’s food security, and economy.
Without a growing agricultural sector, our nation will starve. We will not be major role players in the sector that accounts for one-third of the world’s GDP. This massive sectoral contribution to the world’s GDP directly means that there is an abundant need for this sector’s expansion, resulting in jobs and a growing economy.
The added advantage of this sector is that it is appealing to all South Africans – from rich to poor – as they can all find a space in the value chain.
The NDP envisioned that by 2020 agriculture would create close to one million jobs.
Whilst a commitment of 500 000 jobs during Zuma’s term of office was made, we in fact, lost one million. We are deeply concerned that the downward budget adjustment will affect both the food security of our nation and that of jobs in this sector.
Government has certainly missed the opportunity to reprioritise agriculture as a massive contributing factor in growing our economy.
Additional budget for this sector could have gone to creating jobs in the agricultural sector, particularly in health and safety, to ensure that our produce is fit for consumption both nationally and internationally.
Communal land has been identified as an area that needs to be attended to but instead one hears “one home, one garden” or “one home, one hectare”. When looking at the number of years that this song has been sung, very little can be identified as a manifestation or result thereof. As with the above, this programme cannot work if an investment is only made into the materials and not building the proper human capital. The most obvious results of these shortcomings is experienced in provinces like the Free State and Limpopo.
The IFP supports the budget.
I thank you.
Hon. Inkosi Cebekhulu, MP
082 975 5107