Address delivered by Mr Tsengwa in the Provincial Legislature

Honorable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Honorable Premier and the Executive
Honorable members of the legislature
Kings and Chiefs present here
Chairperson of the house of the traditional leaders
Ladies and Gentlemen

Madam Speaker the UDM wishes to welcome the state of the province address as the step in the right direction, we cannot disagree with spirit of the speech especial the need to reactive the economic activities in the rural areas, we welcome the commitment to plough 300 000 hectares of land, we also believe that when the premier refers to ‘’WE’’ in the speech does not necessarily refer to government as actual implementer rather as a facilitator. Our understanding is that late 2009 government had initiated a program in partnership with Prof Raatz from University of Fort Hare that was called Ilima program- this program Madam speaker had the following objectives as outlined in the founding documents

Among the key aims of the Programme was therefore to establish and build such community enterprises to rank among government’s preferred quality providers for certain determinate goods and services, in line with guidelines of the state in this regard[1].  This intended bias in government procurement, it is felt, holds significant potential for

i)                contributing to a community-anchored economic development and growth,

ii)            the creation and enhancement of local capital, employment creation and attendant multipliers for boosting local investment potential,

A societal reorientation towards a more collectively-owned and moral economy, and

iii)         a deepening and consolidation of the democratic and egalitarian sentiment in the functioning of the political economy in this province and beyond

We do not want to assume that this project was abandoned; however the lack of mentioning of this program in the address is worrying us especially when you referred

To the support that government wants to give to smallholder farmers because we thought that such program responds to the following issues.

1) Difficulty of accessing markets by small-scale farmers

2) Insufficient scale for meaningful sustainability and growth

3) Lack of necessary integrated support from government and other institutions

We shall await Madam Speaker with keen interest for the premier response in this matter.

The UDM appreciates the fact that the premier has tasked the MECs concerned to come up with the plan to address government capacity to construct and maintain rural roads within three months and we have begun the count down. The UDM understands this directive from the premier as more than just building the roads, we understand this instruction as saying that there is an urgent need to link rural economy with main stream economy, this has become urgent because the migration of people from rural areas to urban areas is posing a serious threat to social cohesion. We say this because we know that those who go to urban areas with intention to get jobs get disappointed to realise that there aren’t enough job opportunities as perceived and resort to other survival tactics such as crime and some get subjected to different levels of abuse because of vulnerability. We need serious economic activities as a matter of urgency to encourage rural economy to be vibrant through infrastructure development; I’m expanding this point premier deliberately to amplify the urgency of your call.

Lastly on this point we wish to appeal to the MECs designated for this task to consider in their planning to broaden participation especially on the maintenance of the roads, that local labourers must be empowered enough to maintain those roads even after the contractors have left. The cost benefit analysis is likely to be in favour of those communities in the medium to long term.

UDM welcomes the budget of 70 million that has been allocated for the new milling hubs in Lady Frere and Mbizana, we hope and trust that these will be  bankable projects that will have economic spin offs, we shall await on the relevant department to pronounce on the business plan of the project

Madam Speaker the UDM wishes to call upon the premier to reintroduce or intensify the services of the Agricultural extension officers who have been of great value in the past with knowledge in this field but we also to propose that a mentorship program must introduced for black farmers, Madam speaker ifarming ayifani nokulima isitiya sakho ekhaya, we need all the support in this regard. We also wish to call upon for the re-introduction of agricultural shows where small farmers are displaying their produce, this gesture Madam Speaker will motivate our people and promote the spirit of Uzenzele as against this phenomenon of food parcels and dependency syndrome. Khulula abantu bakho endlaleni premier weliphondo.