Policy and Budget speech by Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mrs KC Mashego-Dlamini
Honourable Minister Nkwinti
All Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
Members of the Portfolio Committee
Honourable Members of the House
The Acting Director- General and the Management of the Department
Fellow South Africans
Honorable Members, I want to set the scene today with a quote from our first democratic President: "Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom."
In May 1994, with the inauguration of the first democratic President our fight to restore the dignity of South Africans began.
This day went down in history as the most significant in our minds and the world at large. It is the day that changed the political landscape of our country and the world. Indeed Hon. Speaker we have moved miles since 1994 to become one of the respected democracies in the World.
As we work towards the rebuilding of our country after decades of Colonialism of a special type and statutory Apartheid which brought hatred, divisions and racism amongst the people of one flesh and one blood, these words still resonate in our minds and influence our thinking as we progress in the total liberation of all our people.
On the 11th May 2016 we presented our Department's Budget Vote clearly indicating what we would do to address the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Honourable Chairperson in the 2016/17 financial year the Department has implemented 179 Animal and Veld Management, 7 River Valley Catalytic, 69 Socio-economic and 53 Agri-parks related infrastructure projects.
The implementation of these infrastructure programmes has had significant impact in our rural communities by creating 1574 jobs, employing 422 women and 911 youth. The projects impacted 22 194 households. The target for 2017/18 is to create 3612 jobs, through infrastructure projects.
On the AGRI-PaRKS
Honourable Members, one of the key initiatives announced in the 2015-State of the Nation address was the Agri-park programme. I am pleased to announce that significant progress has been made to date. The Agri-parks program seeks to improve production by small holder farmers, improved access to markets and engagement in the agriculture value chain.
Honorable Chairperson, three Agri-hubs are already operational in Ncora, Springbokpan and Westonaria. There are currently 11 additional Agri-hubs in the 44 Districts where construction is taking place. These are:
In Butterworth an abattoir is under construction. Farmers in the surrounding areas are being mobilised to supply red meat to the abattoir.
In Ncora the fencing and irrigation Infrastructure have been constructed and 2 dairies are operational. The milking parlour on average milks 1800 cows twice per day at each diary. In addition, the farmers have mobilised funding from the Jobs Fund for the silo, mill and storage facilities. The retail outlet for milk is also being established and the next phase of processing will commence in the 2017/18 financial year. The projects at Ncora support 10 primary and one secondary cooperative. Each primary cooperative consists on average of 100 farmers.
In Thaba Nchu the Abattoir has been upgraded, the access road has been re-graveled and the boundary fencing has been completed.
The Springfontein Agri-hub in the Xhariep District is being developed and the fencing and water connections have been completed. The Department is working with the Department of Environmental Affairs, the District and the Free State Government on the establishment of a Game Abattoir in the Agrihub in the coming year.
The Honorable President recently visited the Westonaria Agri-park. This facility includes state of the art vertical hydroponic tunnels as well as a pack house and training facility amongst other supporting infrastructure. There is currently 1 Enterprise and 1 Cooperative, farming in the 20 available tunnels on the site. The Cooperative comprises of people with disabilities. They are in the gallery today. The Department will mobilise another 300 farmers in the area in the coming financial year.
In Bushbuckridge, a pack house and cold storage facility will become fully operational in the 2017/18 financial year to support 2000 farmers that are producing in the area.
In Dr. JS Moroka municipality, within the Nkangala District Municipality, a fresh produce market is complete and the facility will become fully operational in the 2017/18 financial year. 1150 farmers will supply produce to the fresh produce market.
In the Capricorn Agri-hub the Provincial Government, has completed the Raletjena Packhouse and dryer for a black farmer. This processing and packaging facility sees the establishment of one of our first "Black Industrialist" as a result of the Agri-Parks programme.
The Nwanedi Pack house is under construction, and on completion in the current financial year, it will provide support to 150 farmers.
In Ceres we have completed the upgrade of the roads and electricity supply. We have also recently purchased an abattoir, which will assist the surrounding farmers with value addition and market access.
In Springbokpan 3 950ha of sunflower and maize were harvested and taken to the silos. To date 249 jobs have been created and 61 farmers have been supported in the area.
Animal and Veld Management Programme
In the 2016/17 financial year, the implementation of the Animal and Veld Management Programme resulted in 2 359 community members being trained in basic veld firefighting, creation of firebreaks, re-greening, soil rehab, de-bushing and first aid. 1440 of the community members trained were women and 1575 were youth. 10 were people with disabilities.
River Valley Catalytic projects
In 2016/17 financial year, the Department implemented seven River Valley Catalytic projects to revitalise four irrigation schemes on 2000ha in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. These include Ndumo, Mthandeni, Buffelspruit, Figtree and Madadeni schemes.
In this financial year, the rural infrastructure unit has prioritised the implementation of 120 projects supporting production in 44 Agri-parks, at a value R264 million.
To support the revitalisation of rural towns and villages, the Department in the 2016/17 financial year completed in the Western Cape the upgrading of gravel roads, walkways and construction of a storm water system in Kassiesbaai. This project was implemented to provide access to launch boats at the harbour and to control stormwater. Furthermore 1,2km of roads were paved. These projects have assisted with the revitalisation of this small rural town by improving access to the sea, and have strengthened their livelihoods and access to markets.
In the 2017/18 financial year, 30 socio-economic infrastructure projects will be completed at an investment of R252 million, which will result in creation of 2530 jobs. Skills development is an important component of radical socio-economic transformation and to this end, we will skill 1 480 rural people as part of the rural disaster mitigation programme.
The Department's rural ICT programme has in the 2016/17 financial year delivered learning infrastructure to 44 schools in all provinces, supporting more than 10 000 learners, by providing access to the latest educational technologies and teaching aids respectively. The purpose of this project is to identify and deploy cost effective educational ICT technologies to rural communities.
Honourable Chairperson, youth development and employment is the cornerstone of economic transformation. Since 2010 the Department has been implementing the National Rural Youth Service Corps programme.
During the 2016/17 financial year the Narysec Programme recruited 2700 youth from all nine provinces aligned to the Agri-parks. This will ensure that the youth are skilled in the essential skills required to participate in enterprises and industry opportunities to operationalise Agri-parks. 1809 youth have graduated and in the gallery today are Mr Mduduzi Mnisi a successful bean farmer and Ms Mamosweu Tsoabi a successful organic vegetable farmer from Mpumalanga and Gauteng respectively.
In the 2017/18 financial year we will invest R427m to recruit 2 700 new youth and graduate 2132 youth in various essential skills programmes.
Honourable Members, I should mention that Thaba Nchu NARYSEC College is now fully operational and being upgraded as we speak, it is becoming a centre for skills development that is not only servicing the NARYSEC Programme but the wider public sector.
Rural enterprises and Industrial Development
In 2016/17 the Department has supported Rural Enterprises aligned to the Agricultural Policy Action Plan and the Industrial Policy Action Plan. A total of 161 enterprises were supported within the Red Meat, Grains, Cotton, Poultry, Wool, Goat and Horticulture value chains.
With these projects we have facilitated the creation of 4 690 job opportunities which has resulted in increased income generation for the communities involved. We further supported 50 non-agricultural enterprises, which contributed to diversification in rural areas.
Of the 161 Agricultural enterprises supported 18 were supported in the red meat value chain. 3 860 individual farmers participated in an auction that generated an income of R 36 million.
Chairperson, in the cotton Industry we have also linked primary production with processing. 74 Cooperatives were supported benefitting 1582 farmers. From the 326 Ha planted, 750 tons were harvested and an income of about R4 million was generated.
We have also established 85 cooperatives on rural arts and crafts and 60 cooperatives in the textile industry.
In the 2017/18 financial year we will invest an amount of R300m supporting agricultural enterprises aligned to the Agri-parks.
One of the success stories is the Goat Agribusiness programme in KZN which the department is implementing in partnership with the KZN provincial government and civil society organisations. 2965 households participated in the programme and 168 enterprises were supported.
Through the implementation of the programme 306 jobs were created and 2127 people skilled.
The Department continues to support the wool industry in partnership with the National Wool Growers Association. The project is now in the 5th year of implementation.
The aim of the project is to introduce 3 000 quality rams per annum into communal flocks on an exchange basis. During 2016/2017, 3027 rams were distributed to 295 communities. It is significant to note that a total of 45 796 rams have been distributed since 2002.
Chairperson, one of the principles of the Rural Enterprise and Industrial Development Programme is skills development, training and capacity building. We will facilitate 3000 skills development opportunities in the 2016/17 financial year.
Chairperson, in mitigating the triple challenges especially job creation and poverty alleviation we have our flagship Rural Craft and Art development programme that has gained momentum since we reported last year in May 2016.
Arts and Crafr Co-operatives
The training and mentoring of the arts and craft co-operatives was completed in March 2016 and the 85 co-operatives can now take advantage of available market opportunities.
Seven Secondary Co-operatives have been formed at the district level, three Secondary Co-operatives in the Eastern Cape, two in KwaZulu-Natal, one in Limpopo and one in Mpumalanga. The training of the Secondary Co-operatives is imperative in empowering cooperatives to run their businesses and effectively compete in the local and international markets.
The Department utilised the Rand Easter Show as one of the platforms for cooperatives to market their products. Decorex and SARCDA at Gallagher Estate are two other exhibitions concentrating on the corporate client, not only nationally but also internationally.
We have utilised the UNCSW NGO platform and Artisan Fair internationally to showcase our products whilst networking, exchanging and sharing our experiences with women from other countries so that they can use this programme to economically empower rural women.
Through these exhibitions, for the 2016/17 financial year the rural women in design, arts and crafts programme generated an amount of around R500 Thousand.
The Co-operative Financial Institution (CFI)
In May 2016, the Arts and Craft Co-operatives successfully registered a Co-operative Financial Institution (CFI), namely, Mzansi Rural Art and Craft CFI which is a deposit taking financial institution, owned and controlled by its members. The members have demonstrated commitment by depositing savings on a monthly basis and have paid R50 000 for participation in the banking platform.
The CFI will continue to increase its membership to ensure sustainability. In the current financial year through a grant stimulus by the Department the CFI will move towards the registration of a cooperative bank
The Department is also working with the CBDA for a similar CFI and cooperative bank initiative for the NARYSEC youth.
Chairperson, another good story to tell is the one of Fezile Khoza from Steenbok village in Nkomazi municipality who is here in the gallery. She has established a pizza enterprise called Fezizza Pizza, supported by the Department. Her proximity to the road R571 which connects Komatipoort with Swaziland at the Mananga Border post creates an ideal locality. She became the first entrepreneur in the area to establish a pizza outlet.
On the Cooperatives Development Program of UKZN
The Department, in responding to the challenges encountered by cooperatives, developed a cooperative development training programme, in partnership with KZN Department of Economic Development and the University of Zululand. A budget of R7 Million has been allocated to implement this National Diploma in Cooperative Management.
In 2017/18 financial year we have allocated a budget of R384m for enterprise and industrial development. We will be working with the district municipalities to identify the provincial priorities and key value chain enterprises. Some of the enterprises supported in 2016/17 are multi-year projects and will continue to receive their support towards ensuring their sustainability. 2 918 jobs will be created.
Chairperson the Department recognises that planning is critical for efficient land use and economic development. Therefore since 2014 the Department has facilitated the District Rural Development Plans as a tool for coordination. The RDPs give spatial expression to rural development and land reform programmes within the context of desired future spatial form and land use.
Hon. Members, the District Rural Development Plans are key levers for the Agri-parks programme, value chains and structural transformation to foster economic growth.
To date the Department has facilitated the compilation of 43 District RDPs, with the participation of all provincial, district and local stakeholders.
The following District Municipal Councils have already supported the Rural Development Plans for incorporation into their IDPs.
Kwazulu-Natal :- UMgungundlovu and uThukela DMs
Free State :- Xhariep
Northern Cape: John Taolo Gaetsewe
Mpumalanga:- Ehlanzeni; and
North West:- Ngaka Modiri Molema.
The Department aims to facilitate 35 RDPs for Municipal Council Support in Q1 of the current financial year. A total budget of R89 million has been set aside to provide planning support for rural development.
In Conclusion, let me convey our appreciation and thanks to the Portfolio Committee, Members of the House, all officials of the Department for the unwavering and continued support they always provide in the execution of this mammoth task of rebuilding our country from the shackles of division.
I thank you all!
Issued by: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform