South Africa: Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha On Visit to Mahlohomolo Project and Bela-Bela Communal Property Association in Bonwaphala

press release

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha, on 21 November 2019, visited the Mahlohomolo Project and Bela-Bela Communal Property Association (CPA) in Bonwaphala within the Waterberg District Municipality, in Bela-Bela, Limpopo and also handed over farming implements to farmers.

Speaking to the community, Deputy Minister Skwatsha said: "We have to make the right choices to set our country on the path of socio-economic recovery. The magnitude of challenges facing our society requires us to be determined and innovative. Sadly, we are still grappling with the structural challenges of the apartheid damage".

"Within this context, it is important to embrace the implementation of the new District Development Model. The days of working in silos are over. The days of futile competition among spheres of government are outdated and counterproductive. The days of using government resources in a piece-meal and reactive way are no longer acceptable," said the deputy minister.

"The tasks at hand require radical different approaches. We can no longer carry out programmes in the usual manner. The new way of fighting the challenges in our society is captured in the new District Development Model," he continued.

"The essence of this model is to address social and economic development challenges through synchronizing planning across all government spheres. In practical terms, local municipalities planning to build houses must interact with the provincial and national government counterparts. The joint product will definitely uplift the broad populace. Some of the components of this partnership are members of the business and community-based organisations," he highlighted.

The presence of representatives from the local municipalities, provincial and national government was a good sign that government is embarking on the right path. The spirit of cooperation should be kept.

The deputy minster also spoke about the return of the land to the rightful people. He said the return of land to its rightful owners was key in redressing the wrongs of the past. However, the land redistribution process is not going to be a licence to conduct land grabs. He further said that the government was committed to ensure that this land redistribution process was going to be implemented within the prescripts of the law. "We are unwavering on this commitment," he said.

"We shall not sacrifice the overall economic growth and development of country on the altar of empty slogans that seek to win short-term popularity or applauses on the social media platforms. We are a responsible government. We care about the plight of our people. We will not stoop so low. The land redistribution is going to be done orderly. It will not undermine agrarian production or threaten food security in our country. That will lead to untold misery that would result into famine and hunger," urged the Deputy Minister Skwatsha.

The Deputy Minister also commended the Bela-Bela CPA as a beacon of success.

"You have become role models for other CPAs. You have done a sterling work with this restitution project that benefits 2000 claimants. You have shown that collective management of natural resources is a formula that can uplift communities. You have contributed in providing employment for some of the local people. That is commendable," concluded the deputy minister.

Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

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