DA questions the progress of the Fresh Produce Market

Anthony Benadie MPL

Spokesperson – Finance, Economic Development and Tourism

In reply to an oral question in the Mpumalanga Legislature on Friday 19 September 2014 the MEC of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) revealed the total lack of progress with regards to the establishment of the Fresh Produce Market.

The DA questioned the MEC regarding the role of the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) in the development of the Fresh Produce Market and the answers given fuelled concerns regarding the success of this project.

Taking into account the instability within MEGA and the recent departure of the CEO under questionable circumstances, it is astonishing that DARDLEA continues to show confidence in a failing parastatal. The department awarded MEGA a whopping R31 million for the development of the bulk infrastructure of the fresh produce market.

As the “Implementing Agent” for this project, MEGA is tasked with facilitating and appointing suitable contractors to establish the required infrastructure and given their dismal track record and history of tender rigging, the DA will closely monitor this process.

A further concerning factor is that the department spent over R51 million, more than a year ago on the purchase of the land, which is still a sugarcane field at present.

Follow-up questions posed by the DA revealed that the MEC cannot give an estimate on the number of jobs which will be created by this project, nor would the MEC commit to giving a timeframe for trade at the market to begin.

The DA is very concerned that these early warning signs are an indication that this vital project will end up being another ANC disaster, once again at the cost of the residents of Mpumalanga.