Department destroys dreams of Gauteng emerging farmers

Thomas Walters MPL

Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development

The DA is deeply concerned that the Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development Department has again seriously failed emerging farmers in the province. According to the latest Annual Report the department failed to provide accredited training for 300 farmers supposed to help transform the agricultural sector.

This means that the very ability of farmers to successfully utilise other forms of support – through appropriate training in how resources can be applied successfully – and thus the capability to  become independent producers got compromised.

For emerging farmers this means continued failure and destruction of their dreams by getting farming implements and infrastructure supplied that cannot be used properly. For taxpayers it means further waste of money.

This type of disjointed effort in the governments land reform efforts have produced a nearly complete failure rate in land reform  (over 90% failure rate) across the country when our unused agricultural potential is enormous potential. Failed land reform in South Africa has lost enough money, according to some studies, to the equivalent of 34% of all commercial agricultural land. This does not include government owned or communal land.

In contrast the DA’s share equity scheme approach to land reform where real shares in existing businesses are bought for properly selected beneficiaries – have known a nearly 90% success rate in the Western Cape. The figures are clear: Under a DA government from 1994 till now more than a third of all commercial farms would have been successfully transferred, at no extra financial cost or emotional expense to anyone, into the hands of the historically disadvantaged. If successful commercialisation of government and communal land is added in South Africa would have been a world model of successful land reform in a short space of time.

The ANC failed South Africa in land reform and is failing Gauteng. It is time for a party with a real track-record in land-reform to take over.