Budget Vote No 32 -
Rural Development and Land Reform

 

By Inkosi Cebekhulu MP
 

National Assembly: 24 March 2010

 

Honourable Chairperson

 

When President Zuma announced upon his ascension to the Presidency last year that he would be establishing a new department called Rural Development and Land Reform, the IFP complimented him. It concluded that this was a serious effort to fight the poverty which afflicts people in rural areas.

 

The department has its challenges given that it cuts horizontally across a number of other vertical departments with their own timetables and programmes, but the IFP always surmised that these challenges could be overcome through carefully considered strategic planning.

 

Regrettably, developments since then have run contrary to the above expectations and the IFP is subsequently viewing the departments budget with at least two serious reservations.

 

The first pertains to budget allocation as it focuses on Rural Development.

The second pertains to land acquisition and focuses on land reform.

 

Commencing with the rural development budget allocation, the IFP was confounded to learn that at the Medium term budget policy last year; this all important department received only a 256 million rand budget. It became worse when we were informed by the Auditor Generals office that by March this year only 5% of the meagre budget had been spent. To add fuel to the fire the budget for 2010/11 has been fixed at 256 million. This is a far cry from the urgency and seriousness of the situation.

 

The Question is: Does the government take rural development seriously?

 

When allocating budget, the department of Rural Development and Land Reform should prioritize, focus and allocate funding  to the areas which require the greatest assistance; in other words, areas which are in dire need of comprehensive rural development programmes.

 

In 2009 the department identified certain areas in need of development and funds were allocated to development programmes and projects within those communities; however, the department did not reach all areas and some communities were not assisted at all.

 

The IFP hopes that in this financial year that the Minister will task his department with an equitable distribution of funds for all municipalities within our Country. This is imperative because we now have a situation wherein we have people across the country who are breadwinners who have lost their employment because of the recession and who have no other form of income.

 

Turning now to our second reservation on land distribution, the IFP notes with disbelief that the government has reneged on it's promise to transfer 30% of agricultural land to black farmers. How long will the black people of our land remain landless? With land prices escalating the way they are, it will cost the government double or triple the amount to purchase and transfer this land sometime in the future, probably proving to be unaffordable.

 

 To us in the IFP, rural development and the resolution of land acquisition remain top priorities and we accordingly support this budget in spite of our reservations.

 

Contact:
Inkosi Cebekhulu MP
0829755107