Speech by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr G Nkwinti, (MP) debate on the State of the Nation Address National Assembly, Parliament
4 Jun 2009
Honourable President of the Republic
Honourable Deputy-President of the Republic
Honourable Ministers and Deputy-Minister
Ladies and gentlemen
Honourable Speaker, it is indeed an honour and privilege to not only be participating in this debate, but also to serve the people of South Africa.
Mr President, we have heeded your call to duty, and shall endeavour to serve the people of this country, as dedicated cadres in the war against poverty!
In that regard, our mission is to build as well as facilitate vibrant and sustainable rural communities, through the effective implementation of a Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP), as envisaged by the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC).
In 2004 the ANC entered into a contract with the people of South Africa to create work and fight poverty, in pursuance of its historic mission to build a better life for all. In 2009 over 19 million South Africans cast their vote on the 22 April 2009, thus re-affirming their commitment to this contract.
Overwhelmingly, they voted for five key priority areas, namely the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods, education, health, rural development, agrarian change and land reform, and the fight against crime and corruption.
Just as you said yesterday Mr President, “laat ons mekaar se hande vat, en saam oplossings vind in die gees van ‘n Suid Afrikaanse gemeenskap. Die tyd het gekom om harder te werk. Ons regering gaan voorentoe kyk, nie agtertoe nie!”
Sizakujonga phambili ke, siqinise imiqolo, sifinye ngemikhono yeehempe sizalisekisa esisibambathiso sisenze nabantu bomzamtisi!
Lessons from the past white regimes indicate that if rural development and agrarian change are to be achieved rapidly, we must learn from what these regimes did to develop white farmers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Let me quote V L Allen (The history of Black Mineworkers Volume one) who wrote in 1992.
After the Anglo-Boer War the government pursued a policy which favoured the white farmers. The switch to the white farmers was “intensified by the ability of white commercial farmers to secure favourable legislation from colonial, republican and later union governments. The commercialisation of white agriculture was aided by a massive programme of subsidies, grants and other aid. Assistance to farmers came forth in the shape of fencing, dams, houses, veterinary and horticultural advice; farmers were cushioned by generous rail rates, by special credit facilities and by bountiful tax relief. As early as 1908, with the floodgates of interest politics not yet fully raised, it was remarked that “it is probable that during the last twenty years more money per head of the rural population has been devoted to the relief of farmers in South Africa that in any other country in the world.” Then, to cap it all, as the railways passed through farming country the demand for farms and land rose and so did their value.
We intend to accelerate agrarian transformation in general and land reform in particular, by ensuring that there is increased food production, sustainable land use and that previously disadvantaged people participate in the mainstream of our rural economies. We will, as a short term measure, expedite the processing of settled land claims as well as settling outstanding claims by addressing internal and institutional factors. As a medium term measure we will deal with external socio-political factors affecting finalisation of restitution. We further commit to ensuring that effective and regular communication takes place with claimants on the status of outstanding claims.
In terms of land redistribution, we will as a medium term intervention, re-consider relevant legislation that is currently before Parliament including the Land Use Management Bill, as directed by the President yesterday. Furthermore, we will finalise the review of the Willing-Buyer Willing-Seller model of land redistribution as well as investigate other less costly alternative models of land redistribution. This is an imperative intervention in ensuring that we find mechanisms to speed up the land reform process.
With regard to tenure reform, we will review policy and legislation relating to tenure security and in particular patterns of land ownership. We will enhance the capacity of the state to effectively respond to the challenges of land administration to create certainty and unlock development potential in these areas.
It is imperative that we took bold steps to deal effectively with hunger and poverty. No South African should go to bed hungry when we have the possibility of optimal use of, and benefit from our relatively vast natural resources.
We shall, through the rural development programme, improve social and economic infrastructure, public amenities and facilities, such as water, sanitation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hubs, livestock farming, communal and household gardening, on and off farm roads, small scale irrigation schemes, recreational facilities for the youth, “revival of amasimi”, conservation, and local economic development, as well as development, which are taken for granted in many urban areas. Social cohesion and development, shared prosperity, equity, full employment and cultural progress, will be the bedrock of this programme. We have to reverse the creeping fragmentation of rural communities and restore the spirit of Ubuntu: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.
In fast tracking the implementation of all our land reform programmes, working together with the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, we will ensure that the Water for Growth and Development Strategy is implemented and that the Water Allocation Reform is an integral part of the CRDP to ensure equitable distribution of this scarce natural resource. For every community plan and every land reform project, we will ensure that sufficient water is secured for that purpose and that there is optimal use and management of our natural resources.
It is of critical importance that during this difficult period of economic recession, we strive to put in place measures to harness and streamline available rural development financing, to make sure that it is accessible, affordable and effective.
We are currently developing a national template which will serve as a framework to guide all spheres of government in the implementation of the CRDP. We have identified the Greater Giyani Local Municipality, specifically the villages of Muyexe, Dingamanzi, Gon’on’o, as the pilot site for the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. As we speak, all three spheres of government are working together with the people of Giyani, concretising their CRDP priorities and costing them.
In addition to Giyani, we will, within the next three months, roll out the programme to other provinces, namely, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State and North West. Next week we are going to Riemvasmaak in the Northern Cape to interact with that community to better understand their developmental needs and thus work together with them to bring about change. The Riemvasmaak community, who in the past received more than 75 000 hectares, shall be receiving a further 46 000 through the restition programme during this land month of June. As we interact with them next week we want to understand the best interventions and initiatives that will effectively deal with the prevailing poverty in that area.
The CRDP is not another social security programme. Its key objective is social cohesion and development. It is therefore important that communities organise themselves in the spirit of Vukuzenzele! Hi Ti Hluvukisa! Siyazondla! Phezu Komkhono!
Central to the implementation of this programme, will be the mobilisation of all sectors of our society, including our communities, civil society, traditional leadership institutions, religious groups and the private sector to work together in changing the lives of our people for the better.
The road to rural emancipation will be a long and winding one, but it is one that, together as a nation we must undertake if we are to attain our historic mission. It is only through this national partnership, as the President enjoined the nation yesterday, that we have the possibility of making the hopes and aspirations of our people a reality.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
4 June 2009
Issued by: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
4 Jun 2009
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