Die volgende is aan my gestuur van 'n ACDP verteenwoordiger in KZN:
Cheryllyn Verdon Dudley
RURAL DEVELOPMENT & LAND REFORM BUDGET VOTE 2012
Cheryllyn Dudley MP ACDP - Tuesday 15 May 2012 – 16:45 OAC
It is crucial for the department to focus on ensuring that the livelihoods of beneficiaries’ actually improve and that agricultural land remains productive.
The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) has suggested that actual patterns of land ownership in South Africa bear little resemblance to the picture presented by many land activists and officials in government. The amount of South African land in black hands, is not 13 percent but as high as 50 percent with the bulk of land in white hands, being held by South Africa’s food producers. Any policy that compromises the ability of those producers to produce food will impact negatively on all of society with a particularly harsh, effect on the poorest families and communities.
The Department of Land Affairs, as it was known, has been arguably, one of the worst performing departments - its two main programmes being restitution and redistribution – and the ‘capacity’ in the Department continues to be perceived as extremely weak.
Insufficient involvement of specialist NGO’s and development professionals in land reform processes, especially project preparation and planning leaves poorly capacitated officials trying to deal with complex land reform issues without adequate support, resulting in poor decisions and poor project conceptualisation.
A pre-occupation with ‘transferring land’ instead of making sure that projects ‘work’ has proved to be problematic. NGOs have witnessed an acute failure in planning and preparation of projects – often seeing land transferred without any proper plan on how the land will be utilised or farmed and insufficient participation of beneficiaries in planning processes. There has also been a failure to release preparation funding or pre-project funding to enable this to occur.
The Minister was quoted as saying that 90% of farms transferred to emerging black farmers have failed and are no longer economically productive and NGO’s have observed this first-hand. There has been a mis-match, they say, of project concepts to skill levels and the capacity of beneficiaries, coupled with insufficient beneficiary training and capacity building, and weak beneficiary institutional capacity. It is crucial for the department to focus on ensuring that the livelihoods of beneficiaries’ actually improve and that agricultural land remains productive. Often the income earning expectations of beneficiaries exceed the profit a farm can make.
Looking at Rural Development, there appears to be a lack of local level planning in consultation with the people affected. Priority developmental interventions are therefore less likely to make the anticipated difference in these areas as there is a focus on the ‘wrong’ things - like underutilised community halls for example!
Priority responses in rural areas should be on basic education, primary health, basic infrastructure, and agriculture - both subsistence and commercial. This must be demand led and not supply led – supporting growers and small farmers with the necessary commitment and motivation over a sustained period of time, through sustained agricultural support programmes - not once off ad hoc capital investments.
The co-ops programme has posed major challenges. It has been supply led and very few are economically viable or successful. People are being paid to form co-ops even when there is no evidence that their ‘business idea’ can work. Often those involved have no prior experience or even commitment. At the same time many small individual micro-enterprises go unassisted. Co-ops which work best tend to be buying, distribution, and marketing related, not production focussed, which is the typical focus in South Africa. The ACDP calls for this programme to be reviewed.
The ACDP has serious reservations when it comes to supporting this budget.