South Africa prioritises infrastructure to land reform beneficiaries

Deputy President David Mabuza says to enhance agricultural production, government has prioritised the provision of infrastructure and mechanisation support to beneficiaries of restituted and redistributed land.

“Support is also provided to communal farmers to ensure that communal land under the jurisdiction of traditional leaders is productively utilised to advance rural development goals.

“As part of the post-settlement support to land reform beneficiaries and communal farmers, government has prioritised key infrastructure provision to unlock agricultural production,” Deputy President David Mabuza said on Tuesday when responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces.

Other support measures include the revitalisation of irrigation schemes to ensure sustainable water availability; dipping tanks and livestock vaccines to manage biosecurity risks; storage and agro-processing infrastructure, as well as rural access roads to enable logistical mobility for fresh produce and livestock products.

“In addition to critical infrastructure, government support also includes the provision of farming implements, equipment and production inputs to ensure that emerging farmers and beneficiaries of land reform experience no form of barriers to meaningful participation in the agricultural sector.

“As government, we will continue to ensure that farmers access the requisite technical and financial assistance to expand their farming operations through the creation of enabling platforms for domestic and international market expansion for their products,” said Mabuza.

Regional efforts to boost agriculture

Turning attention to provincial success stories, the Deputy President highlighted the Northern Cape, which has been involved in major infrastructure projects, such as the Vaalharts Revitalisation Scheme and the Namakwa Special Economic Zone, as part of ongoing efforts to revitalise the economy of the province.

The Vaalharts Revitalisation Scheme covers over 35 000 hectares, which includes the Taung Irrigation portion in the North West. It is part of the Strategic Infrastructure Projects 11 (SIP 11).

The scheme seeks to refurbish bulk water and in-farm water distribution and irrigation infrastructure in the Vaalharts area.

The irrigation scheme contributes to supporting agriculture in the province.

While commending these efforts, Mabuza acknowledged that there are challenges facing Community Property Associations (CPAs).

“Government is aware of the challenges in the Community Property Associations… We have been advised that efforts are being made to address the challenges these CPAs are facing, including the provision of support through collaborative efforts across all the spheres of government.

“We are aware of the need to strengthen inter-governmental cooperation and integration of programmes across the three spheres of government.

“The District Development Model provides the institutional platform to enhance integrated planning, leadership coordination and integration at programme implementation levels. This approach is intended to foster coordinated leadership contribution to resolving challenges facing our communities.”

With regards to the Richtersveld Community Property Association (which is currently under administration) in the Northern Cape, a steering committee comprising district and provincial representation — facilitated by the Office of the Premier to address settlement issues — has been established.

Furthermore, the Deputy President said a panellist appointed by the department is assisting the Maremane Community Property Association in the Northern Cape to comply with the relevant legislation and submit the necessary reports.

“The panellist is currently working on the beneficiary list, which is problematic in the Community Property Association.

“The same panellist appointed for the Maremane Community Property Association is also assisting the Schmidstdrift Community Property Association to address governance issues and organise the necessary and long-outstanding elections.

“While we appreciate the reports that we have received as the Presidency, we would like to commit… that our own team will undertake a comprehensive investigation and analysis of challenges facing Richterveld, Maremane and Schmidstdrift CPAs,” Mabuza said.–SAnews

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