20 July 2017
AFASA worried about service delivery following the suspension of both DAFF and DRDLR Director Generals
Following the recent suspension of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) Director General, the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) would like to express its discomfort over having two main government departments at the centre of farmer development and support being leaderless.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Mr Senzeni Zokwana announced Mr Mike Mlengana suspension this week, pending an investigation. The suspension of Mr Mlengana follows that of Mr Mdu Shabane, Director General of Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s (DRDLR) in December 2016.
“We are deeply concerned with this. We are now having two most important departments responsible for farmer development and support without leadership. This cannot be a good thing as it destabilises the running of these departments and how they will deliver their services,” said Mr Aggrey Mahanjana, AFASA Secretary General. “The department of rural development and land reform has been without a permanent DG for over six months now, and we are not sure how long DAFF will run without one”.
According to Mr Mahanjana, Minister Nkwinti had made a promise that his department would improve or increase lease agreement terms for those farmers occupying government land on short term leases to a maximum of 30 years lease period or be given an option to purchase by end of June 2017. He added that farmers were still in the dark with regards to the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP) from DRDLR. “The minister announced more than a year ago that he would move the programme to DAFF without any budget. We’ve not heard a word since as to what transpired following that announcement. We’d like to know if the recapitalisation programme, a very important post settlement farmer support programme, has been moved and how will that affect us as smallholder farmers,” Mr Mahanjana said.
AFASA calls for the two ministers to speed up their investigations to bring back and maintain stability in these departments. “We need a stable leadership to ensure that important programmes such as the commercialisation programme (DAFF) and AgriParks (DRDLR) are properly run and ultimately delivers desired results,” concluded Mr Mahanjana.
Mr Aggrey Mahanjana
African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA)
Tel: +27 (0)12 492 1383
Cell: +27 (0)82 556 7297