13 May 2021
Today as we present this budget, we want to pay tribute to all the families who have lost their loved ones as a result of Covid-19 and we also want to salute health workers and people living in rural communities who had to face and fight the Coronavirus under conditions in which there were fewer health resources.
It has been inspiring to observe how despite these challenges, some rural communities have worked in partnership with government, private sector, non-governmental organisations and traditional leaders to spread the correct healthcare-related messages in relation to this pandemic.
This is what rural development should be about. Rural Development is a sustained multi-sectoral participatory process aimed at empowering those residing in the former homeland areas, in farming areas, in defined rural spaces within urban areas and metros, in peri-urban areas, in small rural towns and in villages.
It is about government intervening at all levels to ensure a people-driven and people-centered process of building sustainable communities through agricultural and non-agricultural interventions to achieve productive, healthy, economically vibrant, socially cohesive, equitable and sustainable spaces and livelihoods based on the unique conditions and attributes of the people’s material conditions and self-articulated needs. This is what this budget is about today!
National Integrated Rural Development Strategy
According to Statsa, the provinces with the highest headcount of adult poverty are Limpopo (67,5%), Eastern Cape (67,3%), KwaZulu-Natal (60,7%) and North West (59,6%). For these four provinces, significantly more than half of their population was living in poverty. It also says that almost two-thirds of agricultural households are in KZN (24,4%), EC (20,7%) and Limpopo P (16,3%) combined. It is, for this reason, the implementation of our National Integrated Rural Development Strategy will pay special attention to these provinces without downplaying the required intervention for rural development in other provinces.
This year we will be visiting our provinces not to ask what our people want because they have told us what they want since 1994. We are going there to work with them towards ensuring rural development on their own terms.
As the department, we are currently adopting an intergovernmental approach and we are re-strategising on how to optimally utilise existing government programmes and other funding to unlock economic opportunities in the various rural districts.
We have recently tested this approach when we had an interdepartmental collaborative intervention program in Eastern at Steynsburg and in a few months from now we will be working with young people on the Narysec programme, in ICT projects, work to support cooperatives in various projects which include poultry, piggery, the bakery project, water harvesting and we will be providing sewing machines and agricultural tools and implements including other different forms of support.
The revised National Integrated Rural Development Strategy considers the central thrusts proposed in Chapter 6 of the National Development Plan, which includes the following:
- Capitalising on agriculture as one of the main economic drivers of the rural economy through the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Master Plan (AAMP);
- Making land reform work through improved rural governance systems, improved land administration; land access for further economic opportunities, proper beneficiary selection processes utilising existing rural and farming networks and improvement in the living conditions and rights of farm dwellers and other rural citizens;
- Developing non-agricultural activities with key sectors including technology, mining and tourism;
- Building human capital, social security, food security and basic services;
- Revitalising rural towns; and Improved rural governance.
Part of the practical work we will undertake as part of our Rural Development strategy will include :
- Linking emerging rural producers (especially women and youth) of farm and non-farm products to markets and appropriate value chains through the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Master Plan (AAMP) and the implementation of Farmer Production Support Units;
- Facilitating business development services for rural enterprises through programmes such as the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP); and
- Assisting rural women, people with disabilities and youth through targeted capacity building and enterprise development support and actively promoting a procurement policy that favours women and youth.
In the last financial year, several consultations have taken place within government, through the South African Local Government Association network and via a multi-stakeholder policy platform coordinated by civil society on how to effectively implement these objectives over the MTSF period and beyond in support of Vision 2030.
We have conducted our studies , consulted our people both from inside and outside of government , it is now time for testing our policies and strategies in the court of real life.
Work undertaken in the 2020/2021 Financial year.
1. Farmer Production Support and Rural Infrastructure
Honourable Speaker, in the last financial year we committed to support 15 farmer production support centres with the necessary infrastructure to make them functional. We are pleased to announce that we have supported:
- One project in the Eastern Cape in Zanyokhwe;
- Three in the Free State namely in Odendaalrus, Springfontein and Kroonstad;
- Four in KZN in Pomoroy, Malenge, Mkhuphula and Hluhluwe;
- Two in Limpopo Vleischboom and Masalal, three in Mpumalanga at Sybrandskraal, Mkhuhlu and Kameelrivier;
- one in Taung in the North West and with irrigation infrastructure at Ebenheser in the Western Cape.
- A total of 64 infrastructure projects to support production and other socio-economic infrastructure we implemented.
2. NARYSEC work
The department created 800 rural jobs and provided skills development opportunities to 1 926 NARYSEC Youth through the District Development Model.
3. Flagship socio-economic projects
- One of our flagship socio-economic projects is Die Poort Primary School Development. The programme was aimed at constructing a proper learning facility in the Hekpoort area, Gauteng and was hatched to merge the two primary schools within the area. The learners from the FJ Kloppers Primary School moved to Die Poort Primary Farm School. The Department in collaboration with the Gauteng Department of Education was able to provide 16 classrooms, an administration block, Grade R facility, male and female ablution blocks, a caretaker house and a combination court.
- Another socio-economic project was the construction of houses and basic services using alternative building technology for the relocation of evicted farm dwellers in Donkerhoek, Mpumalanga. This led to the utilisation of off-grid energy solutions and solar geysers, an off-grid sanitation solution, water supply and reticulation as well as a 4km gravel access road.
- The Department in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) implemented the Mt Fletcher Spring Water Harvesting, Protection, Development, and Reticulation project between March 2017 and July 2020 in the Fairview villages of the Joe Gqabi District Municipality in the Eastern Cape. Local labourers were also contracted from the three targeted villages in the district and skilled by the service provider. Due to standpipes that are now closer to their homes, women and children do not have to walk far to collect water, which saves time for other activities.
- The department is also contributing towards the implementation of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative (PESI) in which 1434 former NARYSEC youth and agricultural graduates were employed on a three-month contract to assist farmers with applications for the PESI funding as part of the Covid-19 interventions by the department.
Programme for the 2021 /2022 Financial Year
For the 2021/2022 financial year we plan to undertake the following programs :
1. Farmer Production Support Units
- We plan to further support 25 projects that would lead to functional FPSUs. From these functional FPSUs rural households and villages in general will be able to obtain a wide variety of support to improve their productivity including mechanization (tractors), implements, inputs (seeds and fertilizers) and storage facilities etc.
- This includes the renovation of livestock auction facilities at Kwafene in the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality at Nkangala, Mpumalanga province.
2. Rural infrastructure
- We will implement a further 50 infrastructure projects to support production and six socio-economic infrastructure projects continuing from the Die Poort Primary School Development project mentioned above. A total of 500 jobs are projected to be created in such rural development initiatives and this speaks to our revised strategy of optimising intergovernmental resources.
3. Access to reliable and good quality water
- We will continue from where we ended in the Mt Fletcher Spring Water Harvesting, Protection, Development, and Reticulation project and in this financial year there will be an additional 5 innovative technology research projects which will be implemented.
- In the 2021/22 financial year, the National Rural Youth Services Corps (NARYSEC) programme will shift gear to place a greater emphasis on recruiting and skilling youth for workplace opportunities within and outside government, entrepreneurship and further education and skills opportunities as part of a basket of services offered to the youth exiting the programme. This change will position NARYSEC Programme to better contribute in dealing with the challenge of high youth unemployment.
- To this end, the programme has now committed to training 1409 youth across all 9 provinces and budget of R62.4 million has been allocated in this financial year. This youth was recruited during the 2019 and 2020 financial years, but due to Covid-19 the training programmes have been delayed. In addition, the following initiatives are underway:
- 188 NARYSEC youth will be trained as traffic ffficers in Mpumalanga and the Free State respectively. The intention is for the youth to be absorbed by their local municipalities and these municipalities have already signed commitment letters for employment of these youth upon the successful completion of the training;
- 93 NARYSEC youth from EC, GP, NC and WC are currently undergoing training with Clicks Pharmacy Group. These youth have been absorbed by the company which is a successful private-public partnership initiative;
- 98 (73 EC and 25 KZN) youth recruited as part of piloting the District Development Model (DDM) will be trained in Environmental Waste Management Qualification. The King Sabata Dalindyebo District Municipality has provided business opportunities for these youth and they will be absorbed in their waste management unit. The KZN youth will also provide similar services to the eThekwini Municipality. This means that 98 young people from the rural areas will have an opportunity to pursue their small enterprises leading to further socio-economic spin-offs.
5. Presidential stimulus initiative
In contributing to the second phase of the Presidential Stimulus Initiative project the department has extended the contracts of 1209 PESI verifiers for another 12 months (1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022) with a budget of R64 293 072,48 which will go towards paying stipends and allowances.
6. Improving spatial planning in rural areas
Honourable Speaker and members, rural development without ensuring spatial transformation will be equal to maintaining Bantustans and our approach to rural development is linked to ensuring spatial justice.
You are acutely aware that the Department as the custodian of the Spatial Planning and Land Use management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA) has embarked on various programmes, initiatives and activities towards its implementation. Significant progress has been made and the Department continues to support municipalities in undertaking their responsibilities in terms of the Act.
The NSDF is currently being finalised and will be presented to Cabinet for consideration in the first half of the year. The current Medium-Term Strategic Framework emphasises the need for spatial integration through Priority 5 focussing on Spatial Integration.
To address the Spatial inefficiencies and to promote Spatial Transformation, the Department, in partnership with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, had developed the Draft National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF) which has gone through the extensive consultation as per the requirements of the National Development Plan and the SPLUMA.
The Draft National Spatial Development Framework National Spatial Development Framework ( NSDF) has provided a national spatial schema to inform, direct, prioritize and guide all future infrastructure investment and development spending decisions by government, civil society and the private sector; to optimise place-based potentials and spatial interdependencies, and to realize the 2050-National Spatial Development Framework Vision.
Spatial planning remains key in guiding Departmental programmes and to further ensure that these are integrated into municipal Integrated Development Plans and the One Plan process as an outcome of the District Development Model approach being implemented by government.
Initiatives of spatial planning support for land reform include amongst others the implementation of a Strategically Located Land tool which encompasses a myriad of existing spatial planning tools and systems that assist the Department in identifying where Land Reform initiatives should be targeted.
The Department is also on a clear path to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of communities living in rural areas.
Employing a broad array of geospatial data provided for through the implementation of the Spatial Data Infrastructure Act, the department is performing innovative geospatial analysis, simulation and modelling to formulate spatially balanced and eﬃcient rural development plans that contribute towards accomplishing a low carbon and climate-resilient rural economy.
In consultation with Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, the department is also compiling Climate Change Response Plans for the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development sector.
We want to take this opportunity to announce to our people in the rural areas that this department cares for you. We want to see and hear every village and every rural community including everyone in South Africa talking about rural development. The real test will be in what we do to transform the rural economy and build sustainable rural communities.