Despite a R1 billion allocation, DALRRD registers a 63% failure rate on Agri-hubs rollout

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
10 Sep 2023 in News

In a response to a DA parliamentary question, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has revealed that, since 2019 it has allocated close to R1 billion towards Agri-hubs but has only managed to get 23 of them fully functional out of a total of 61. This represents a 63% failure rate on facilities that are meant to act as key enablers of the agriculture value chain across the country.

When they were introduced, Agri-hubs were touted as agro-processing centers that were going to provide operational support to farmers and market access for their produce. The fact that only 37% of them are fully functional is an indictment on the DALRRD’s continued failure to build capacity within the agriculture sector for employment creation and the overall sustainability of the sector.

This revelation comes after DALRRD admitted that, since 2006, the government has spent R12 billion of taxpayers’ money on land reform, resulting in a 75% failure rate. South African agricultural graduates face a bleak future of unemployment, while the DALRRD has wasted R9 billion on land reform and R1 billion on AgriPark programs.

The DA will utilize all parliamentary processes, including portfolio committee meetings, debates, and appearances in the house, to demand that Minister Thoko Didiza be held accountable for her government’s failures and wasteful expenditure on these promises. The DA has had enough of lip service; it’s time for the Minister and her Department to be accountable for their failures.

Many Departmental programs have yielded no return on investment for South African taxpayers, despite the clear need to support the agriculture sector, which has the potential to create numerous job opportunities.

Even more concerning is the fact that 21 Agri-hubs in KZN remain non-functional, despite one-third of the total budget being spent in the province. Therefore, the DA believes that Minister Didiza must provide detailed reports on all Agri-hub projects in KZN to the Portfolio Committee and outline corrective measures to ensure a turnaround. There is anecdotal evidence pointing to potential lapses in DALRRD’s internal controls, resulting in the loss and wasteful expenditure of taxpayers’ money.

The DALRRD’s financial performance is a persistent problem that has always been flagged by the Auditor-General in her annual audit finding presentations for government departments. This latest revelation of big spending on non-functional Agri-hubs is clear evidence that this problem is far from being resolved.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at