The IFP in the KZN Legislature calls upon the KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, and the KZN Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube – as the Leader of the Provincial Government – to present detailed plans with tangible solutions on how they intend to assist farmers, as load-shedding is wreaking havoc on the agricultural sector.
We have heard calls from different Farmers’ Unions calling for farmers to be exempted from load-shedding, which the IFP supports. Further, the Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza, will allegedly be appointing a task team to monitor the impact of load-shedding on the agricultural sector.
Astonishingly, the KZN MEC for Agriculture, as well as the Premier, have since gone to ground and have made no mention about the plans that are in place – if any – to assist farmers affected by load-shedding.
As the IFP, we expect the KZN MEC for Agriculture and the KZN Premier to assure farmers that they are dealing with load-shedding issues. Although load-shedding has nothing to do with the Department of Agriculture or the Office of the Premier, their silence is of grave concern. They need to provide solutions now.
KwaZulu-Natal farmers have not fully recovered from the 2022 floods, which had a devastating effect on many farms. Further to that, they were impacted by the 2021 July unrest that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal, with many hectares being burnt.
Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and essential to food security – therefore it is government’s duty to ensure that farmers receive the necessary assistance. Failure to act is a recipe for disaster, as many farmers will be forced to cease their operations, which will in turn result in hunger, as well as the retrenchment of workers. We cannot afford to see more people being retrenched, as the country already faces an unreasonably high unemployment rate.
Further, we again reiterate that the IFP rejects Nersa’s irrational decision to increase electricity tariffs by 18.65%, as this too, will negatively impact farmers.
Mr Nhlanhla Msimango, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development
078 302 4657