31 October 2013

South Africa: Small Vegetable Gardens Need Water and Land


"We need land, water and resources to practice farming in our areas, our yards are too small for housing and farming, the government must do something."

These were some of the community concerns expressed by residents of Soshanguve during the discussions on water, land and agriculture on Thursday, the penultimate day of the current Taking Parliament to the People programme in this area of Gauteng.

Several residents from Soshanguve and surrounding areas pleaded with the government to provide land and resources to allow them establish small vegetable gardens.

Simon Masilela of Donkerhoek urged the government to buy the land for the community to practice farming because people were angry, and hungry for service delivery. "We are sick and tired of handouts and food parcels", he said.

It takes about 4 years to get a water use licence, said Mr Joshua Ngonyama MMC for Housing and Human Settlement in the City of Tshwane: but local government would review that legislation because people need food security, and cannot be allowed to embark on land invasion. "Communities should work with the government to protect the borehole against theft and vandalism," he said.

Ms Dorothy Thlole of Hammanskraal said areas such as the Chris Hani section had been without (reliable supplies of) water for almost eight years, and had to rely on water tanks that brought in supplies. "The government initiated water purification to the tune of R5m to address the water scarcity: however, due to conflicts between the traditional leaders and politicians, the project has been stopped," she added.

Gauteng Provincial MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Nandi Mayathola-Khoza urged the residents to apply for funding and resources to establish small scale farming, through the Agriculture Department and other government entities such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

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