National Assembly: 24 March 2010
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
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
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
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.
Inkosi Cebekhulu MP