Chairperson, the report is on Ncera Farms located in the Eastern Cape in an area called Kidd's Beach and its main purpose is to develop farmers in the surroundings of this centre. The Ncera Farm Centre has not been performing well for the past seven years. They have not been adhering to the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA, and therefore, the farms that were allocated to 10 beneficiaries through land reform were not necessarily benefitting from the centre because of its inability to perform its tasks.
The Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries decided to visit the area this term precisely to meet the stakeholders and the people who are supposed to benefit from the Ncera Farms Centre. There was a good engagement between the committee and those people and as committee we agreed there were still conflicts within the area that stemmed from the allocation of state farms. This was the main concern that needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The communities and the farmers around Ncera welcomed the proposal of incorporation because that was the decision of the previous term's portfolio committee. They welcome the incorporation of the Ncera Service Centre to the Agricultural Research Council, which is based in Pretoria so that we have that centre incorporated into and servicing the whole of the Eastern Cape for as long as it is going to assist and benefit the surrounding communities.
There is a need for continued monitoring of progress on deregistration by the financial management of Ncera Farms by the department and the process of transferring the 10 farms to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. The verification of land claims against the entity will also hamper the productivity of the farms and therefore, needs to be fast- tracked to ensure that farmers are able to farm as they are not farming at the moment.
If I may start with the key recommendation, which was agreed to by those people who were supposed to benefit, the key recommendation is that the Ncera Centre must be incorporated into Agricultural Research Council, ARC, as I said in our observation, and then service the whole of the Eastern Cape. However, the department must reinforce the capacity of that centre to do proper research in the area of Ncera for the benefit of the Eastern Cape. There are many researchers in the Eastern Cape who can assist with the work in that area.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries should ensure that Ncera Farms are not closed, as I said, but deregistered, because there is confusion about people thinking that it would be closed when it is under the ARC.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries should ensure that the Ncera Service Centre continues to assist surrounding farmers and communities, including the Eastern Cape province, with livestock improvement and food production programmes. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the ARC, which must be given a budget, should develop a master plan that will inform the way that the ARC would incorporate the Ncera Service Centre within its livestock improvement programmes. The plan should include budget allocation, as I said, to the ARC that will assist the programmes for the benefit of the province.
I then table the report. I thank you Chair. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
House Chairperson, I move:
That the report be adopted.
Chairperson, the DA would like to make a declaration, please. Thank you.
Declarations of vote:
Huis Voorsitter, Ncera is 'n openbare maatskappy in staatsbesit wat ten doel het om landbouondersteunigsdienste in sy breedste sin aan die kleinboere van Ncera en omliggende gebiede te verskaf. Sedert 1998 het die staat reeds sowat R40 miljoen in Ncera ingepomp.
Die Departement van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye, wat die eienaars van daardie entiteit is, beie duidelik getoon dat hy sy eie plase nie behoorlik kan bestuur nie. Dit blyk uit die volgende. Daar was minimale landboubedrywighede op die 10 bemagtigingsplase waaruit Ncera bestaan. Na 'n decade in die bedryf, is daar nog geen noemenswaardige vordering gemaak met die hervestiging van voormalige plaaswerkers op 'n 11de plaas nie. Daar was nog nooit 'n behoorlike ontwikkelingsplan of werkbare omkeerstrategie, soos wat deur die Nasionale Tesourie vereis word, ingedien nie.
Daar is toegelaat dat groot getalle plakkers, sommige van so ver as Limpopo, ongehinderd en sonder wetlike gevolge op die plase nesskop. Dit laat die vraag ontstaan hoe die departement die land se kleinboere wil bemagtig as hy nie eens daarin kon slaag om effektiewe opleiding en betuursbegeleiding aan die kleinboere van Ncera te gee nie.
Die DA steun nietemin die verslag dat Ncera ontbind en aan die Lanbounavorsingsraad oorgedra word. Hopelik sal ordentlike en effektiewe bemagtiging in die vorm van ontwikkeling en opleiding met hierdie raad se ondersteuning en insette geskied. Maar ek is bevrees daar het so pas 'n verslag verskyn wat toon dat die Landbounavorsingsraad in elk geval ondergefinansier word. Ek het hierdie verskriklike kommer in my hart dat Ncera onderaan die navorsingsraad se prioriteitslys gaan beland. Baie dankie. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Ms Z JONGBLOED: House Chairperson, Ncera is a public company owned by the state that is aimed at providing agricultural support services in the broadest sense to the small-scale farmers of Ncera and surrounding areas. Since 1998 the state has pumped approximately R40 million into Ncera.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which owns that entity, has very clearly demonstrated that it is unable to manage its own farms properly. This is apparent from the following. There have been minimal agricultural activities on the 10 empowerment farms comprising Ncera. After a decade in the industry, no noteworthy progress has been made with the resettlement of former farm workers on an 11th farm. A proper development plan or workable turnaround strategy, as required by the National Treasury, has never been submitted.
Large numbers of squatters, some from as far away as Limpopo, have been allowed, without hindrance and without legal consequences, to roost on these farms. This raises the question as how the department wants to empower the country's small-scale farmers since it has not even been able to provide effective training and management support to the small-scale farmers of Ncera.
However, the DA supports the report recommending that Ncera be dissolved and transferred to the Agricultural Research Council. It is to be hoped that decent and effective empowerment in the form of development and training will happen with the support and input of this council. But I am afraid that a report has just appeared that shows that the Agricultural Research Council is in any case underfunded. I have this terrible concern in my heart that Ncera is going to land up at the bottom of the research council's priority list. Thank you very much. [Applause.]]
Voorsitter, eerstens wil ek net aandui dat die EVV nie saamgestem het met die besluit om Ncera oor te dra aan die Landbounavorsingsraad nie.
Eerstens, en dit is baie eenvoudig, was baie swak leierskap en bestuur van die departement, sowel as van die vorige komitee, oorgedra aan die vorige Minister, om dit weer verder oor te dra. Die begroting van Ncera was onvoldoende. Daar was probleme tussen die bestuurslede by Ncera. Daar was probleme met die oordrag van sertifikate aan die tydelike eienaars of die persone wat die 10 plase bestuur, maar die departement - of die regering in sy geheel - het nie daarin geslaag om te verseker dat die plaasboere, of die tydelike plaasboere, voldoende toerusting, opleiding ensovoorts gekry het om te verseker dat hulle hul boerdery suksesvol kon bedryf nie.
Die omstandighede wat op grondvlak by Ncera geskep is, toon baie duidelik dat dit nie bedoel was om te verseker dat die plaasboere 'n sukses moet maak nie. Die probleem is ... [Tussenwerpsels.] ... in haar tydperk ... maar die probleem is hoe ons in die toekoms gaan verseker dat nie-blanke plaasboere en, meer spesifiek, kleinplaasboere, 'n sukses van die bedryf op die onderskeie plase maak.
Dit laat 'n mens sommer dink aan die Wes-Kaap self, maar ek wil my hou by Ncera. Dit is baie duidelik dat die regering nie 'n plan het om te verseker dat Ncera en ander soortgelyke plase suksesvol bedryf word nie. Dankie. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mr B D JOSEPH: Chairperson, firstly I would just like to point out that the EFF did not agree with the decision to transfer Ncera to the Agricultural Research Council.
In the first place, and this is very simple, poor leadership and management in the department, as well as the previous committee, was transferred to the Minister, to be transferred further again. Ncera's budget was insufficient. There were problems between members of the Ncera management. There were problems with the transfer of certificates to the temporary owners or the persons managing the 10 farms, but the department - or the government in its entirety - could not succeed in seeing to it that the farmers, or the temporary farmers, received sufficient equipment, training and so on in order to ensure that they could successfully manage their farms.
The circumstances that have been created at grass-roots level at Ncera give a clear indication that it was not intended to ensure that the farmers can make a success. The problem is ... [Interjections.] ... in her term ... but the problem is how do we ensure in the future that non-white farmers and, more specifically, small-scale farmers, can make a success in the industry on the respective farms.
It leads one to think of the Western Cape itself, but I want to stick to Ncera. It is very clear that the government does not have a plan to ensure the successful running of Ncera and other similar farms. Thank you. [Applause.]]
House Chairperson, in this day and age there is no place for state-owned farms; communities should be the beneficiaries of these farms. The hon House Chair, who is seated across there, hon Thoko Didiza, was the Minister of Agriculture, so is well aware of a very fertile region in KwaZulu-Natal, the Makhathini Flats.
She is very well aware of the Natal Trust Fund, which had ownership and control of thousands of hectares of prime sugarcane land in KwaZulu-Natal. Some of that land still exists today. I think it is quite correct for the hon members to say these farms need to be handed over to communities. But when these farms are handed over to communities, communities need to be empowered with funds and technical resources.
In many of these land reform cases what happens is that the farms are given to the beneficiaries. We then come here and brag about the fact that 30% of the land has now been given to new entrant farmers, but there is no support which is being given to them. These farmers do not even have a tractor or a plough to do anything on those farms. Unless we support them adequately, we are going to be standing here 10 years from now saying, we don't have capable black farmers.
So, the state must dispose of these farms but make sure that adequate support is given to the beneficiaries who have been waiting for this land for many years.
Like I say, the Natal Trust Fund and the sugarcane lands are still in the hands of people that it should not be. We need to ensure that the department plays its adequate role in this regard. Thank you.
House Chairperson, in our report I said, on behalf of the committee, that we went to the place in order to satisfy ourselves as to the recommendations of the fourth term committee. All the parties who participate in our committee were part of that oversight visit.
When we met the stakeholders, we all understood their problems, and we agreed that in order to ensure that that centre is capacitated properly by the department as an entity of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, it needs to be under a big entity such as the Agricultural Research Council, which is based in Pretoria.
The Eastern Cape, as a province, has not benefited from Ncera Farms, because the entity was focusing on those areas, not the Eastern Cape. Once the Eastern Cape is incorporated under the ARC, it will then benefit the people of the Eastern Cape and have more capacity.
In the Eastern Cape there are a number of university graduates and scientists, and those people will be utilised at that centre. The main problem of the EFF is that, as we understand in the committee, they were not part of the Fourth Parliament, when we discussed this matter. Therefore, they cannot support something which they were not part of. That was the main objection raised by the EFF, and we understand that they were not part of the Fourth Parliament. So, that's the only issue.
There are two things regarding the Ncera Farms issue. There is a centre which is supposed to provide services to the communities and the 10 farms that were given to the people of the Eastern Cape by the Department of Land Affairs. With the incapacity that they have, they were unable to support those 10 farms. Those farms were given to the people; 10 farms were given to 10 individuals. Now those people have farms, but the main problem is that they cannot utilise their land precisely because of the incapacity of Ncera Farms. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Thank you, ANC. The motion, to remind ourselves, is that the report be adopted. Are there any objections? There is a hand up. Hon Joseph, is that a hand for objection?
Yes, House Chairperson.
Motion agreed to (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report accordingly adopted.