The practice by government to give a single farm to a group consisting of up to 40 individuals as part of land reform and economic empowerment has been critised by the public who said it was flawed and part of the reasons for collapsing farms.
“How do you give one farm that was owned by a single white man to 40 people and expect it to be a success, it will fail because of infighting and other reasons,” said Mr Kleinbooi Gqirhana.
Residents of the Eden District Municipality also told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) about the slow pace of the land reform programme and continuing farm evictions in some parts of the Southern Cape region.
On the third day of the NCOP’s Taking Parliament to the People, currently under way in Oudtshoorn, residents asked why transformation in the agriculture industry was so far behind in the Western Cape compared to other provinces?
In addition to reports of farm evictions and exploitation, the citizens also made allegations that the ostrich farming industry excluded black people in the Oudtshoorn area.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, said the Western Cape MEC for Agriculture had admitted last year that the province had not yet transformed the agriculture industry.
“In November last year the MEC told me that black people constituted only 1% of those who run agriculture in the province. We need to assist small-scale farmers so they can grow their businesses and employ more people,” the Minister said.
The Provincial Minister of Finance in the Western Cape, Mr Ivan Meyer, said the agriculture industry was fully transformed in the province and that the provincial administration would continue to support land reform.
“The National Development Plan wants us to create one million jobs in the agriculture sector, we have to cooperate and work together to create these jobs and alleviate poverty in rural areas,” said Mr Meyer.
He said the province was committed to land reform and will continue to provide support to young and emerging farmers in the province.
“This year an amount of R250m will be made available to emerging and small-scale farmers, we have also set target to increase agricultural production by 10%,” he said.
Source : Parliament of South Africa