Parliament, Sunday, 23 July 2023 – The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development heard that agricultural production in farming, in particular, has decreased in the North West’s Ngaka Modiri District due to mismanagement of land by the Communal Property Associations (CPAs). The committee heard about this during public hearings on the Development of Agriculture Land (PDAL) Bill that were held at Lonely Park Multipurpose Centre in Mahikeng yesterday.
In supporting the Bill, participant after another told the committee that the agricultural land that was productive in the past is unproductive now due to mismanagement by the CPAs. Farmers told the committee that if the issue of the CPAs was managed with due diligence in their district, production in the agricultural sector in all the areas of farming, crop and animal farming, could have progressed and reached higher heights.
The participants expressed that they wish the Bill could have been introduced in 1994 when the level of governance was at a normal and acceptable level in their District. The committee heard that farmers are experiencing a lot of challenges and they pleaded with the committee to play its role over the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to implement the Bill adequately.
The farmers alleged that the Department of Agriculture has a tendency of providing assistance to people who are not in the agricultural sector and who do not have capacity to produce food. The farmers also raised a number of problems that affect them directly including stock theft, unavailability of grazing land for their livestock and the fact that there are no veterinary officers for their livestock. They said they use risky indigenous methods to heal their livestock.
A representative of the House of the Traditional leaders told the committee that they won’t say whether they support the Bill or not, because they have a stand-off with government which they expressed during the 2017 traditional leadership indaba. The representative told the committee that 87% of prime agricultural land is in the hands of the minority. He said traditional leaders requested the government to transfer the remaining 13% in the hands of tribal authorities in 2017.
The committee was further told that the willing buyer – willing seller principle was also discussed at the Indaba and the traditional leaders indicated that it was not working and it is very costly and expensive. According to the representative the land is not returned to the rightful owners because of the existence of the willing buyer willing seller principle which should be scrapped.
Traditional leaders also enquired about what the government is doing about the Lamosa Judgement which had stopped the restitution of land and which ordered that all the land restitution backlog must be cleared. The committee was told that a lot of communities had not claimed their land by the cut-off date of 1998.
The committee heard that traditional leaders have reservations about
the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act of 2013, known as SPLUMA. They told the committee that they have an issue with the Act and have made a submission on it.
The committee asked a senior official from the North West Department of Agriculture to respond to all the concerns that were expressed by the farmers. The official indicated that he was unable to provide answers at that time, but promised to respond in writing. He indicated that every district in the province has a Farmer Production Support Units which are responsible for all the needs of farmers.
The Chairperson of the committee, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, appreciated the participation of the people of the district in the hearings. He said: “I must state that the committee will be holding these hearings on the PDAL Bill in all the provinces to ensure that the final Bill reflects the views of all South Africans.”
Details of the public hearings programme at Dr Kenneth Kaunda District are as follows:
Date: Sunday, 23 July
Time: 10:00 – 14:00
Venue: Ballroom Hall, Klerksdorp
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, NKOSI ZWELIVELILE MANDELA
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact:
Name: Malentsoe Magwagwa (Ms)
Cell: 081 716 5824