Annette Steyn, MP
DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Following a fire that affected several farms in Eliot, Eastern Cape two weeks ago, disaster relief was provided within 48 hours to farms including a farm owned by ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe.
The DA welcomes the timeous relief afforded to farmers in the area including Mantashe – who received bales of feed from the state and farmers who wanted to assist. This is evidence that timeous disaster relief is possible especially for those that have been waiting for years to receive funding from the state for disaster relief.
What is interesting to note is that weeks before the fire broke out on Mantashe’s farm, farms in Jamestown and Molteno also burned down in similar way. When the farmers a in the respective towns approached offficials for relief, they were informed that funds were not readily available. However, a few weeks later, Mr Mantashe and farms surrounding his property received assistance within 48 hours after the incident.
According to Mr Mantashe, he did not receive preferential treatment from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; instead he claims that the only reason they were assisted within two days was because their farmers union was well organised.
The DA will ask further questions to determine whether the correct procedures were followed in granting disaster relief granted to farmers.
Other communities such as those affected by the 2006 floods in Langkloof are still waiting to receive some form of assistance from the department. The DA will do everything in its power to determine the main cause for the delays in the issuing of disaster relief.
The same treatment that has been afforded to Mr Mantashe must be afforded to all farmers and communities in similar positions. What is good for the ANC’s elite should be good for the rest of the country.