Speech of Ms Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, during the Introduction of the Annual report
23 Sep 2011Honourable Speaker
The Premier of Gauteng
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Honorable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Honourable Speaker we are pleased to Introduce the Annual Report of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture And Rural Development (GDARD) for the 2010-11 Financial Year. We are introducing this Annual Report at the end of the month where we are celebrating our diverse heritage. Hon. Speaker, Franklin Thomas a renowned writer once said, I quote “One day our descendants will think it is incredible that we pay so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings”.
Madam Speaker, Our mandate is still guided by the Gauteng Provincial Government's Five-year Strategic priorities. Our vision is building “vibrant equitable and sustainable rural communities that contribute to food security for all, protected and enhanced environmental assets and natural resources”
The Freedom Charter says “Rent and prices shall be lowered” food plentiful and no one shall go to bed hungry”. The ANC manifesto further states that the ANC is committed to creating an environment that ensures that there is adequate food available to all, that we grow our own food and protect the poor communities from the rising prices of food and eradicate hunger. In line with our approved EXCO Strategy on the Siyazondla Program (one household - one food garden) in the fifty poorest wards, food security beneficiaries have been supported through this program.
Madam Speaker, in our quest to ensure improved access to affordable and diverse food, GDARD facilitated the installation of irrigation equipment in 42 community gardens throughout the province to ensure that community members are able to grow their own food and attain nutritious diets. We have also been vigilant in controlling and managing animal health diseases such as foot and mouth to prevent threats to food security. We have increased the number of sustainable food gardens from 9000 to 11000 thus ensuring that we strive towards zero hunger in the province.
Madam Speaker, the words of Adlai-E-Stevenson when he said, “A Hungry man is not a free man” are indeed true!
On Agriculture Madam Speaker, in line with the clause “The state shall help the peasants with implements, seeds, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers”, access to food production schemes has been promoted through the provision of implements, tractors, diesel fertilizers and pesticides to communities.
The Maize Triangle Project, which is one of the Gauteng Employment Growth Development Strategy (GEGDS) was officially launched during October 2010. At the launch, the municipalities were given twelve tractors and associated equipment for use by farmers. Farmers were also supplied with production which included seeds and fertilizers.
We are certain that this kind of support to farmers will contribute positively toward food security in the province. In our efforts to ensure that households are able to produce part of their own food to reduce poverty, we continued to develop both homestead and community food gardens. Our support of farmers’ co-ops on piggery, poultry and hydrophonics infrastructure
On Rural Development, in line with the Freedom Charter clause “Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger” the provincial Executive Council (EXCO) approved the Gauteng Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy in July 2010.
The strategy was launched successfully in Devon, one of the rural nodes, in March 2011. The purpose of the launch was to mobilise the rural communities and multi-stakeholder support for implementation of the strategy. The newly established Devon Council of Stakeholders was introduced during the launch and the department will work closely with the council to implement the strategy going forward.
In line the President's call that “this year is the year of job creation”, GDARD will play its role in contributing to the Gauteng Government in achieving its target for reducing unemployment in the province. Most of the youth that are benefiting from the Narysec Program are from Gauteng. It is hoped that the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that they will gain through this process will, at the end of two years, assist them to be absorbed in all spheres of government departments.
On protection of environment, the department has continued to implement the clean and green campaign which has the outreach and competition components. The outreach component encourages communities to embark on greening initiatives and manage waste sustainably while the competition component, the Bontle ke Botho, encourages schools and communities in wards to embark on actions to address issues that include water conservation, energy efficiency, sustainable Agriculture and greening, all of which are geared towards reducing the negative impacts of climate change.
The workshop on Climate Change has assisted us towards formulating a clear response to mitigate and adapt to climate change with a long term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving our air quality.
In addition Madam Speaker, the department launched the Air Quality Plan and repaired five of the seven air quality stations placed with municipalities so as to use them for improved air quality monitoring. Because the province generates a disproportionate amount of waste compared to other provinces, the Gauteng Waste Collection Standards, part of a suite of waste management plans to support good practice and recycling in communities, were approved by EXCO for implementation.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the recently appointed Head of Department, Ms Simangele Sekgobela, for her leadership in the last quarter of the year under review. Ms Sekgobela was preceded in the post by Dr Steven Cornelius, who served the department with skill and devotion for six years. He left GDARD in July 2010 and in the period between then and the appointment of Ms Sekgobela, Advocate John Nesidoni capably steered the ship in an acting capacity. I have no doubt that HOD will lift the department to greater height towards achieving our mandate.
I look forward to working with her to achieve GDARD's mandate in the 2011/12 Financial Year.
I would also like to commend the senior managers and all staff members for their contribution to the attainment of the goals set by the Gauteng Provincial Government. The services delivered by all committed staff members contributed significantly towards building a better life for more and more of the people of Gauteng Province.
I would like to thank all role-players and stakeholders who worked with us towards building a better life for all in our sector.
Together we can build better communities!
I thank you!
Issued by: Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development
23 Sep 2011
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