DA motion on tea estates to be debated

Athol Trollip (MPL)

Leader of the official opposition

A motion tabled by the DA yesterday (Tuesday, 2 Dec) to ensure the sustainability of the Magwa- and Majola tea estates will be debated by the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

My motion is in response to the more than R300 million in additional state funding that has been poured into these two estates over the last decade.   Previous resolutions by the Provincial Executive Committee, which called for Eastern Cape government departments to procure their tea from Magwa and Majola, have been ignored.

The DA believes that the provincial government’s purchasing of this truly home-grown, Eastern Cape product will go a long way towards making these estates more sustainable instead of being a burden.

In 2007 the then premier, Nosimo Balindlela said during her State of the Province Address that “I wish to announce that…Exco took the decision for government to procure its tea from Magwa and Majola Tea Estates”.

During his policy speeches in 2007/08 and in 2008/09 former Economic Development and Environmental Affairs MEC Mbulelo Sogoni stated that “The department…has been inspired by the government’s commitment to promote local procurement of goods and services, as has been demonstrated in the Executive Council resolution to procure tea from Magwa and Majola Tea Estates” and “…It also takes into account the Executive Council decision to promote the consumption of Magwa tea in the domestic market, particularly in the public sector”.

During yesterday’s sitting I pointed out that Magwa produces loose tea as well as tea bags, which should be used in all departments, including this legislature, but sadly only other well-known commercial brands are being procured.

The DA welcomes speaker Noxolo Kiviet’s ruling that due to the substantive nature of my motion, it needs to be debated in the legislature.

This shows that if the executive says one thing and does another, that opposition parties like the DA can influence them to do as they say.