DA demands a retraction and apology on misleading remarks made by a DALRRD official

Issued by Thandeka Mbabama MP – DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
09 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please see attached soundbite by Thandeka Mbabama MP. 

The DA takes great exception to the misleading claims made by Mr Terries Ndove, the DDG responsible for Land Redistribution and Tenure Reform in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), when he appeared before the Parliament portfolio committee of Agriculture. During his presentation, he appeared to insinuate that the Expropriation Bill, currently before the NCOP, will help the Department to overcome ‘organised forces’ in the Western Cape who stand in the way of resettling emerging black farmers.

Mr Ndove’s remarks on land reform in the Western Cape are not only false, and he knows it – they were deliberately meant to create a narrative that emerging black farmers were being excluded in the Province based on their race. The DA has subsequent to this, written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Land Reform and Rural Development, Inkosi Mandla Mandela, requesting that he asks Mr Ndove to retract his incendiary comments and apologise for making inflammatory race remarks on land reform in the Western Cape.

Mr Ndove’s comments are an insult to hundreds of emerging farmers in the province and the dedicated staff in the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) who have worked tirelessly to increase participation in the sector. The WCDoA’s Agricultural Producer Support and Development programme provides active support to emerging farmers and equips them with ongoing support to commercialise their operations. A total of 81 projects were supported under the commodity approach strategy in the 2020/2021 financial year, while 35 projects were linked with mentors to help facilitate access to markets.

For a senior civil servant to descend into the gutter and make inflammatory statements with no evidence to substantiate them, is testament of the unprofessionalism that continues to afflict South Africa’s public service. If anything, Mr Ndove’s department has previously tried to evict farmers from land reform farms in the Western Cape. In March 2021, the DA successfully intervened to stop the eviction of Mr Ivan Cloete from his Colenso farm in Darling, Western Cape.

What is even more concerning about Mr Ndove’s presentation is that he chose to perpetuate the ANC’s campaign on the Expropriation Bill by claiming that it will be used to expropriate land without compensation. Following the failure by the African National Congress (ANC) to obtain the required majority to pass the Constitution 18th Amendment Bill, which sought to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, there has been a deliberate attempt to create a false narrative that the Expropriation Bill is an instrument that will promote land reform. It is not.

Public servants are supposed to be impartial and to conduct themselves with probity at all times. Instead of launching baseless political attacks, Mr Ndove and his Department should answer for its violation of section 25 (6) of the Constitution through its failure to provide secure land rights to the millions of people still living without secure property rights in communal areas. The DA has already lodged a complaint over this matter with the South African Human Rights Commission. Mr Ndove was out of order and Parliament should demand an immediate retraction of his irresponsible comments which were meant to cause racial friction in the Western Cape’s agricultural sector.