R365 million for tea estates

Jacques Smalle (MPL)

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

The tax payers of Limpopo have subsidised the Makgoba and Tshivhase tea estates with more than R365 million over the past 7 years. In addition more than R1.4 million has been spent on wages through the EPWP Programme just last year.

The Makgoba tea estate was part of 35 farms bought for R104 million in 2006 as part of the land restitution programme and handed over to the Mamphoku-Makgoba communities. Initially an amount of R15 000 000 was budgeted for upgrades on the Makgoba tea estate.

 

However, a project intended for the upliftment of the community has been left dysfunctional and in disrepair as a result of infighting.

 

A forensic investigation into the affairs at the estate indicated that assets worth over R121 million have gone missing.

Subsequently, the Department of Agriculture became the caretaker of the Makgoba tea estate, since it became non-sustainable. The Mamphoku-Makgoba community agreed to hand over control of the tea plantation on condition that once it is up and running, control will revert back to the community.

 

The DA supports a land reform process that achieves redress in rural communities, that promotes economic inclusion to lift rural people out of poverty, and supports growth and prosperity in the agricultural sector.

 

The Makgoba tea estate is but one of many examples of government’s failed attempts in land reform.

 

The DA is calling on the MEC of Agriculture to initiate a remedial plan that would ensure that this project becomes economically viable alternatively to return the non-profitable estate to the community.