Address by Mr ML Filtane, UDM Member of Parliament, in the National Assembly – Vote 33 Rural Development and Land Reform

Honourable Chairperson
Minister and Deputy Minister
Honourable Members

• Rural revitalisation and intervention in its economy is a priority matter as many rural areas remain in crisis with regard to resources and service delivery whilst the majority of people live in abject poverty after 20 years of democracy.

• One major flaw of economic policy in the last 20 years has been the failure to bring infrastructure in rural areas on par with that in the cities without urbanising rural settlement. The socio economic consequences of this flaw are what we continue to witnesses; chronic housing shortages, millions forced to live in shacks and many other social ills.

• The Untied Democratic Movement (UDM) supports aggressive and radical intervention in rural development, which will ensure that this matter does not become a political football.

• The post settlement land programme is not producing the desired effect.

• Questions raised by the public during public hearings on legislation are still outstanding and we are not clear as to when will the department submit its responses.

• The department shares a vision – “to create vibrant equitable and sustainable rural communities and food security for all” with the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. However, the latest statistics on food security reflect that over 11 % or 5.6 million South Africans still live in abject poverty, with no food security at all. What does the department propose to do to improve this situation?

• That the door has been opened for more land claims to be submitted, whilst the department is currently behind with the settlement of already validated claims, leaves one wondering how and when these new ones will be accommodated. The Annual Performance Plan of the Department for the financial season 2014/15, targets to finalise 239 claims out of 983 outstanding and yet it is quite on how and when the 744 is going to be finalised. The fact that the department has reported staff shortage and limited budged, the question remains – will this just be a populist statement or are there some pragmatic plans to address this apparent problem?

• The outstanding claim by the people of Baziya in the Eastern Cape leaves bitter taste in their months even to this hour. We invite the department to supply sufficient account of this prolonged delay.

• Land reform – my biggest concern here is that, there is no statistical report on the socio economic achievements over the previous term and yet funds continue to flow to this function.

• There is an urgent need for management to eliminate the inconsistencies between the department’s Annual Performance Plan and its own targets as well as to adhere to the prescribed reporting periods.

• The department’s model for economic development is not comprehensive enough hence it is lacking in sustainability, some critical basic elements are missing from the equation.

• Land acquisition by foreigners needs to be capped at a certain percentage of our land. Even so, we need to look at the value-adding factors which the acquirer will bring to the country’s broader objectives like; long term employment, skills development and provision of food security.

• The UDM notes with concern the huge transfers of public funds to the Ingonyama Trust and we hope the Department will report on this matter.

The UDM supports budget vote 33.

Thank you