Speech by Mrs L Johnson, MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, during the handover of Nguni Cattle to youth in Danhauser, Amajuba
18 Jun 2010
Local chiefs - ONdabezitha
Members of the youth projects
Members of the media
neZikhokho zami (Cool friends)
When I see so many young people, hungry for their individual success and the development of our country, I feel great hope. I see young people who have responded to the call of a man many of who do not know. The late leader of our Liberation Movement, Moses Kotane said, “At this hour of destiny, your country and your people need you. South Africa is in your hands and it will be what you make of it.”
Ladies and gentlemen, 34 years ago, the youth of Soweto and other parts of our country also answered Cde Kotane’s call. What started out as a peaceful march by the learners in Soweto, against the unjust apartheid laws that sought to make Afrikaans the only language of instruction in schools, turned into a violent protest that claimed the lives of young activists and left many more injured, imprisoned and exiled. That event marked a decisive turning point in the struggle for the freedom that some people are taking for granted today.
From 11 June, our country has been hive of activity as South Africa hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup; there is an amazing spirit of solidarity amongst the different South African groups and very warm hospitality towards foreign visitors whose countries are participating in the tournament. This country is oozing with positive energy and prospects of a bright future as it reclaims its integrity in the international arena. I am also proud to mention that the agricultural industry produced enough food to cater for the visitors and our citizens. However as jubilant as we may be, we dare not forget how we attained this freedom. We need to give due honour to the young activists like Hector Peterson, Mbuyiselo Makhubu and may others who made a significant contribution to the struggle against apartheid. What better way to honour those heroes and heroines than to put in place programmes that will secure the future of today’s youth?
Ladies and gentlemen, youth empowerment is central to this government’s efforts to create a better life for all. We all know ukuthi inkunzi isematholeni (young people are the future). To mark the June Youth Month this year, the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development has resolved to award Nguni-cattle to a youth project in aMajuba District. Livestock is the largest agricultural sector in South Africa, with a population of millions of cattle, goats and categories. There is no way we were going to leave our youth out of a sector that is so lucrative. Livestock has been an integral part of lives of our people and I do not have to tell you in the olden days, the wealth of individuals was measured by how many cows and goats s/he had.
The department revised its Policy on Indigenous Livestock in 2009. The new policy allows for animals to be distributed to Livestock Associations, with sufficient grazing and handling facilities. Following a road show during which the requirements of the policy were communicated, an increased interest was noted. Training of such Livestock Associations is continuing and will definitely result in sound management of herds. The training includes management of grazing, breeding, health, nutrition and finances. This fundamental shift in policy will also be the future focus on supply of selected Nguni bulls to Livestock Associations which will result in the progressive increase of the Nguni genes in the rural herds.
I am satisfied that we are giving these cows to experienced young people who have been in the farming business for a long time in the Siyanqoba Project.
Programme director, the said project was recommended by the district office because it has the capacity to help provide young people with great exposure to the field of meat production and become fully fledged business people. In addition, this project will also help communities to develop their economic skills, create job opportunities and provide a safety net for food security.
The department has, in line with the new distribution policy, provided training on this group at Dundee Research Station on livestock management and certificates have already been handed to the beneficiaries. The second training was conducted on site and the beneficiaries were equipped with knowledge on record keeping, finances and livestock training.
In closing I wish to urge all the beneficiaries to work hard and take good care of the cattle. You are now all familiar with animal husbandry practices and I trust that the cattle will thrive under your supervision. I wish you all the best in your future and please do trade information with other young aspiring farmers. I know that all the projects we visited today can set a precedent of emerging young commercial farmers.
I thank you.
Source: KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture, Enviromental Affairs and Rural Development
18 Jun 2010
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