RDLR COMMITS A REASSURING R3.2 BILLION FOR LAND REFORM IN ITS 2013/14 BUDGET
04 Mar 2013
â€œThe Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has set aside a total budget of R3.2 billion for land reform. This budget allocation is only for land redistribution and recapitalization programmes.â€ Mr. Vusi Mahlangu, National Departmentâ€™s Deputy-Director General on Land Reform told over 800 farmers that attended an eventful NERPOâ€™s 4th Annual Rural Development and Land Reform Information Day at Carnarvon Estate, near Queenstown on Friday, 1st March 2013.
"This amount constitutes 25% of the Department's total budget for 2013/14 financial year. So far, the Department has spent R1.8 billion on the recapitalization programme and benefited about 696 properties or farms which account for 5000 beneficiaries. The Department is also considering bailing out smallholder farmers that took out loans from commercial farmers but looking at workable modalities to do this" he said.
At the 4th edition of NERPO's Rural Development and Land Reform Information themed "The role of Agricultural Development Finance in reversing the ills of the 1913 Natives Land Act", Mahlangu said his department also struck a deal with the Land Bank to rescue some of the farms from being repossessed at a tune of R200 million.
In his response speech, Mr. Mike Mlengana, President of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) has commended the department for its renewed commitment to fast-track land reform in South Africa.
"We steadfastly commend Minister Gugile Nkwinti and his department for his efforts. It must however be stated categorically that more needs to be done on speeding up implementation of the departmentâ€™s programmes and policies. The scraping of the willing-buyer willing-seller principle was a much-needed intervention that we believe, will ensure that land tenure is equitably redressed for food security and sustainability of our sector. As smallholder farmers we are confident that the Minister will soon finalize other elements of the proposed Green Paper on Land Reform" Mlengana said.
Mlengana encouraged smallholder farmers to work much harder and produce more while doing business amongst themselves. This, he said "will ensure that smallholder benefit from government's proposed preferential procurement and make a meaningful contribution in the growth and development of the sector."
The 2013 NERPO Information Day also took a new twist as NERPO's Group Managing Director Mr. Aggrey Mahanjana made life-changing pronouncements for smallholder farmers of the Chris Hani District (Eastern Cape) and descendants of all the farmer-workers of South Africa.
Mahanjana pledged R100 000 as a start-up capital to launch a National Education and Skills Development Trust for the descendants of all farm workers of South Africa.
"The high levels of illiteracy, drug and alcohol abuse in farms have intensified the burden of unemployment and poverty in our country. I therefore believe investing in the future of the children of farm workers will help in reducing escalating levels of rural poverty and unemployment in this country." he said.
The outspoken national representative of smallholder farmers further pledged R2 million for the establishment of a Chris Hani Secondary Agricultural Cooperative and additional R10 000 for the launch of Nkwanca Primary Agricultural Cooperative.
Amongst the distinguished guests that attended the 4th edition of NERPO's Annual Rural Development and Information Day were Mr. Phila Nkayi (MPL), Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Mr. Dennis Neer (MPL), Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Cllr. Mthandazo Qhamngwana, Dr. Peter Prinsloo, Chairperson of the Eastern Federation of Farmers and Mr. Clarence Makwetu former President of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).
NERPO is the official mouthpiece of South Africa's smallholder livestock farmers who are reported to own about 40% cattle, 67% goats & 12% sheep but only accounts for 5% market share in the red production value chain.
Mr. Aggrey Mahanjana
Group Managing Director
Tel: +27 (0) 348 8566
Cell: +27 (0) 82 556 7297 or +27 (0) 72 768 0238