Department’s unqualified officials threaten agriculture and land reform

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
04 Nov 2022 in News

It comes as no surprise that the department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is burdened with one of the highest numbers of unqualified senior officials, as revealed in a parliamentary question posed by the DA earlier this year.

The high number of unqualified personnel is mirrored by the number of challenges that the department faces.

We have witnessed the dismal failure of managing Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiatives (PESI) vouchers, several outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in six out of the nine provinces, poor management of overall bio security in the country, lack of animal vaccines, the Department’s continuous decline in meeting their targets and dismal failures of land reform that has led to many land invasion across the country.

While Minister Thoko Didiza is crisscrossing the country making empty promises to farmers, launching programmes year after year with poor results on the ground, the severe lack of competence in this department contributes to poor implementation of corrective measures on the ground.

Policy uncertainties and the weakened role of agricultural colleges in strengthening the DALRRD, have left the Department unable to manage the basic elements of agriculture and land reform. Instead of empowering and utilising these colleges under their helm to support land reform and agriculture transformation, the department opted to abdicate the responsibility to the Department of Higher Education.

Agriculture and Land Reform is at the heartbeat of food and tenure security. Failing these two entities will be disastrous for the country’s agriculture economy and land administration.

I will be writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio to request that she invite Minister Thoko Didiza to brief the committee regarding the actions she has taken to address this problem of unqualified officials because this goes against the grains of Agriculture and Agroprocessing Master Plan.