The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has noted with concern the media statement issued by the EFF regarding the submission of Annual Reports of the former Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and its entities.
The submissions of 2019/2020 Annual Reports in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development were to be reported separately for the erstwhile Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Rural Development and Land Reform and their respective entities.
The report of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its four entities (Vote 24), namely Agricultural Research Council, National Agricultural Marketing Council, Onderstepoort Biological Products and Perishable Products Export Control Board were submitted within the stipulated timeframes.
These were further discussed by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in preparation for Budget Review and Recommendation Report on 20th November 2020. The Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on Vote 24 was tabled on 27 November 2020.
Relating to the Annual Reports of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and its five entities namely Agricultural Land Holdings Account (ALHA); Ingonyama Trust Board; Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR), Deeds Registration (Deeds) and Office of the Valuer-General, the Minister in compliance with the provisions of Section 65(2)(a) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 informed the Speaker of the National Assembly of the challenges faced in concluding the reports of the DRDLR within prescribed timelines. The Minister further requested to table the reports on 31st January 2021. This request was granted by the Speaker.
The reports for all the entities except for ALHA have been audited by the Office of the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development will on the 26th January 2021 be briefed by the concluded by the AGSA on their findings.
Relating to ALHA, there are areas that the AGSA is finalizing and this is impacting on the reporting of the DRDLR as ALHA, CRLR and Deeds are reported on the budget structure of the Department. Once the AGSA has concluded on the audit report, the DRDLR Annual Report will be concluded. Since the AGSA could not pronounce on a date to avail the final audit report, the minister proactively approached the Speaker to outline the challenges and request for a further postponement.