Speech by Nomhle Dambuza, Chairperson for the Human Settlement Portfolio Committee, during the debate on the President`s State of the Nation Address

15 February 2011

Honorable Speaker
Honorable President of the RSA
Honorable Deputy President
Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honorable Members
Distinguished Guests

Hon. Speaker

It is worth noting that South Africa, as a nation, faces a number of developmental challenges, of which poverty and unemployment remains our most critical as a result of Colonialism and apartheid that were rooted in the dispossession of the African people of their land, the destruction of African farming and the super-exploitation of wage labourers, including farm workers and their families. Furthermore, poverty, inequality and joblessness are the consequence of centuries of underdevelopment and exploitation consciously perpetrated on the majority of the population. Consequently, the structural faults that characterised the apartheid rural economy remain with us to this day.

While the ANC led-government has implemented a number of initiatives to address the scourge of poverty and unemployment in South Africa, it has to be acknowledged that these can only be achieved if integrated service delivery remains a priority. This means that rural areas should receive equal attention. We should, however, note that reference to a "rural area" does not necessarily imply villages, but also includes rural towns.

Research cautions us that a narrow focus on income and financial assets denies other dimensions of poverty, which are indeed determinants of deficiency and need. In this regard, it points to the importance of considering issues such as food security, education, health, levels of service and infrastructure, etc.

Interventions such as the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme have made significant, but insufficient progress.

Hon Speaker and Hon Members

It is a reality that social grants are also making a significant contribution to pushing back the frontiers of rural poverty, fighting hunger and improving potential for economic growth in rural areas. To date, nearly 15 million South Africans are benefiting from social grants. However, in the struggle to build a better life for all, grants are no substitute for a broader strategy of rural development and employment creation.

It is important to note that high levels of rural poverty and inequality inhibit the growth of the country`s economy and undermine Governments efforts to ensure that growth is more equitably shared amongst our people.

To respond to the latter, the 2007, 52nd ANC National Conference identified rural development and Agrarian reform as one of the key priorities. The conference drew its inspiration from the prime source of its policy orientation - the 1955 Freedom Charter.

Hon. Speaker

South Africa, being declared as a developmental State, has a central role to play in leading and sustaining rural development. This includes leading the process of land reform, promoting sustainable change in social and economic relations and supporting the goals of growth and development in the rural economy. Therefore mobilization of communities is central to all of these objectives.
As we are aware that South Africa`s rural areas are characterized by deep levels of poverty and exclusion from the provision of services, on an almost daily bases, and food insecurity. Over and above the backlog of water, sanitation, health service, high schools etc is predominantly located in rural areas. In addition the rural population experiences severe difficulty to locate any form of employment, and faces high transport costs to the nearest urban centres.

Therefore, the commitments made in the 2009 ANC election Manifesto, placing rural development, and land and agrarian as one of the five key priorities for the government in the 5 year term, is more than welcome. The ANC manifesto commits the ANC government to promote food security with affordable food prices, rural development and security of tenure for farm dwellers. On rural and agriculture development the manifesto commits government to intensify land reform, and give more land to the rural, therefore and provide technical skills and resources for productivity on the land. All these commitments provide necessary foundation to drive rural developments for the benefits of the overwhelming majority of our people.

We can however be proud of the fact that in our predominantly rural-in-character provinces, with a majority of towns and villages, we have promoted the development of sustainable human settlements. This is illustrated by following achievements to date:

  • In KZN, we have serviced 72 384 sites and built 433 853 houses.
  • In Limpopo, we achieved 69 209 serviced sites and built 189 261 homes.
  • In the North West, we managed to service 91 006 sites and built 226 007 houses.
  • In the Northern Cape, we have serviced 19 955 sites and built 52 813 houses.
  • Our performance in the Eastern Cape exceeds that of the other provinces listed above. In this province, we managed to service 105 316 sites, and constructed 266 796 houses to eligible households.

Our focus of attention is that in our towns and villages our people must have sustainable livelihoods and an improved quality of life.

Hon. Speaker
The Hon President in his State of the Nation Address correctly mentioned that the country is making a significant progress in the provision of basic services. Coupled with that the 2010 review of the South Africa`s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG`s) suggest progress in accelerating access to basic services to the poor. For example:

  • The proportion of the population using an improved drinking water source increased from 61.1% (1996) to 92.4% (in 2009)
  • The proportion of the population using an improved sanitation facility increased from 58.5% (2001) to 72.2% (in 2009)
  • The proportion of the household with access to electricity increased from 76.8% (in 2002) to 82.6% (in 2009)

It is evident that as a country, South Africa has either already achieved these MDG targets, or may possibly do so by the required target date.

Hon. Speaker, in 2009, the government conducted a review of capacity of local government to deliver to the people and published "The state of Local Government Report". The report provides an honest and sobering review of achievements, as well as challenges hampering service delivery. The ANC government acknowledges that some provinces and municipalities still experience infrastructure backlogs, of which these challenges are currently receiving priority through the rural development programme.

The ANC work to intensify the land reform programme, has taken huge strides to ensure that more land is in the hands of the rural poor. This includes providing the rural poor with technical skills and financial resources to productively use the land, and to create sustainable livelihoods.

In response to the challenges identified in rural areas, government have undertaken the following interventions:
The Recapitalisation and Development Programme was introduced to respond to the challenges of collapsing land reform projects, defunct irrigation schemes in the former homelands, as well as distressed farms by private individuals. Some of the irrigation schemes identified include: Ncora (in the Chris Hani District Municipality), Thaba-Nchu (in Motheo District Municipality), Taung (in Dr Ruth Mompati District Municipality), Makhathini Flats (in Umkhanyakude District Municipality) etc. The core principles of the programme are mentorship, co-management and share equity. The objectives are to increase production to guarantee food security, to graduate small farmers into commercial farmers and create employment opportunities within the agricultural sector.

Other initiatives achieved to date are:

  • Muyexe (Limpopo), Access roads , Clinics were upgraded in Building of houses, and establishment of cooperatives and 478 rain water harvesting tanks were installed and an early Childhood Development centre completed in Muyexe, also crèche completed Muyexe
  • Work in progress in Myexe:
  • - 10km grazing fencing
    - Fencing of buffer zone between Kruger Park and the villages
    - Reservoir and drinking troughs
    - Plunge dipping tanks and animal handling facilities
    - Construction of 1000 bird poultry house
    - Paving and brick- making machine/ 1000 units a day

  • Construction of Dairy and Milking Parlour , purchased 240 cattle , 3,2 km of roads were constructed - at Diyatalawa (Free State) as well as in Msinga , Mkhondo, Mhlontlo and Riemvasmaak
  • Construction of 2 Broiler units in Vyrheid (KZN)
  • (Northern Cape )Water improvement project and Livestock sales pen
  • (Free State), while another is in the process of construction in Riemvasmaak, and 900 cattle procured in Vrede
  • Moses Kotane (North West),
  • (Eastern Cape) 1200square meter agro-processing factory at Mhlontlo and Idutywa and a river crossing at bridge in the process of construction in Mvezo
  • (Western Cape) Agro-processing industrial zone.

The Nguni cattle project is an initiative which aims to re-introduce the Nguni Cattle in rural communities. Its long- term goal is to turn emerging farmers into commercial Nguni beef farmers and establish Nguni stud breeders amongst the rural poor. The project entails the loaning of cattle to committed beneficiaries on the understanding that they will return the same within five year to be lend to the next beneficiaries. Prior to receiving cattle, and during the five-year period, the beneficiaries receive training and support to ensure proper handling and care of the cattle. The project is currently operational in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape and Free State. The project is implemented in partnership with provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and universities. To date, over 100 farms have been established, and a total of 2 500 cattle distributed.

Intetha kaMongameli siyiqhwabela izandla, kuba icace gca, yaye inika umhlahlandlela namandla , ngakumbi kumalungu alendlu ahloniphekileyo. Loonto ke incedisa kakhulu xa sidlala indima ekuqapheleni ukuthi iinkozo, kwakunye neentlelo zikarhulumente ziyangqo ebantwini kwaye kananjalo impilo zabo zibangcono. Uba besisenkoonzweni, ngeba sithi itekisi
(key message) inye, noba ukurhulumente wesizwe, ukurhulumente wephondo okanye kurhulumente wasemakhaya ithi "Makwakhiwe amathuba okudala imisebenzi nophuhliso lwezakhono (Job creation and Skills development) qwaba.
Siyavumelana noMongameli xa esithi iingxaki ziseninzi kodwa masilitsho litsole ukuba azinguwo umqobo neze kwindlela eya empumelelweni, nto nje kufuneka ugqozi, inyameko, nenzondelelo.

Responding immediately to issues whenever possible is very important rather than deferring for a later period. This is in itself an important method of convincing people about the ANC-led government commitments to a better life for all.

Ukuzalisekisa iimbophelelo ezikhankanywe kwintetho yeLizwe kaMongameli, sinxusa oomasipala ukuthi baqinise iintlelo zokuxhasa uhlelo olubizwa phecelezi (LED Support Programmes).

Urhulumente nenkampani zabucala kufuneka benze utyalo-mali kwiprojects, ezandisa, zixhobise uluntu ukuze lukwazi ukuzimela... Communities should be trained to become proficient in such essential skill, such as food gardening, baking, sewing etc. The key is self-help projects that expand communities without making them dependent. The fruitfulness of the initiative can be related to the old proverb; "Give a man a fish you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime"

The Hon. President placed emphasis on the establishment of cooperatives. The following initiatives can be undertaken to accomplish the call by the President:

Abantu mabakhuthazwe kwaye bancediswe ekwakheni amaCooperatives, ukuze bakwazi ukungenela iintlelo zokwakha:

  • Imigaqo nezokuyigcina ikwimo entle (and bridges).
  • Uhlelo lokondliwa kwabantwana ezikolweni.
  • Ukuvelisa iimifuno kwiigadi ezikolweni, ezicaweni, ezicliniki, ukanti naseziibhedlele.
  • Ukuthunga impahla zasezibhedlele kwakunye nasemaJele
  • Ukutyalwa kwemithi namahlathi endalo.
  • Uhlelo lokuvelisa izimbiwa emakhaya (small-scale mining).
  • Utyalo lwemithi yeziqhamo kunye noveliso lwezitena zokwakha. Njalonjalo.
  • Ukusatyalaliswa kolwakhiwo lwezindlu zangasese (sanitation).
  • Ukwakhiwa kwamadam amancane.
  • Housing cooperatives, which can also enhance the resource base in poor rural communities.
  • Access to funding is most critical to this effect.

Hon. Speaker,

Abantu mabakhuthazwe ukuba mabathathe inxaxheba nakwezinye intlelo zikarhulumente ezifana:

  • Siyadlala (Mass participation programmes).
  • Inqubo ezifundisa ngakumbi ukubanesakhono soku fundisa (coaching and referee skills).
  • Inqubo zokufundisa ukubiyela (installation of fences).
  • Indigenous games.

We also have to acknowledge that small-scale mining serve as an example of what can be achieved through the application of homegrown resources, capacities and self-reliance. Small-scale mining has led directly to job creation for the poor in rural areas in all nine provinces. Across all nine provinces, we have a total 1,270 small-scale mining operations, which has created about 10,160 jobs. In addition, these small-scale mining operations contribute to further economic activity through the procurement of goods and services from local suppliers.

In terms of visible policing, there have been noticeable strides made in fighting crime in rural villages. Progress is particularly evident, for example, on the border between South Africa and Lesotho where attempts to reduce stock-theft through the deployment of the Operational Response Services (ORS) Unit have reaped considerable reward. In this regard, we have to acknowledge that the practical collaboration between community and police through the CPFs structures are indeed working. However, we need to strengthen to the availability of transport at rural police stations, as well as further deployment of police officers in areas where it is required.

In conclusion, Hon. Speaker

In order to achieve the significant growth and development that the ANC desires, we need to emphasise the importance of well coordinated and integrated planning. We strongly believe that Planning Commission in the Office of the President is well suited for this task. We also need a competent administration to serve our people, as well as strong and effective partnerships with all stakeholders, including labour, traditional leaders, private sector, and civil society, etc.

Isithwalandwe ubawo uMandela once remarked that "the time is always right to do right."

Today we are also saying ke nako.