The Democratic Alliance will be asking questions of the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, after we witnessed the complete vandalisation of an agri-park in Dutywa, Eastern Cape.
On Tuesday, 20 November 2018, I did an oversight inspection at this agri-park and was shocked to find it in total disrepair. More than R10 million rand has been invested in this project. The equipment has never been used, but is now systematically being vandalised and carried away.
The agri-parks initiative was launched in 2015 as one of the cornerstones of rural economic transformation. These parks were conceptualised as one-stop shops for agro-production support, processing, logistics, marketing and training within district municipalities. The basic idea is to develop rural development hubs linked to district gateways/growth points and to assist smallholder farmers to access land and local markets.
What we witnessed is a clear indication that the failing ANC government did not take the communities on board with the plans and development of the Dutwya concept. The brand new building is stripped and vandalised and soon the equipment that is left, will not be usable anymore.
My visit to the park was almost blocked by officials who initially did not want to provide me with information. It is almost impossible to find these parks as business plans does not include full details of plans or proposed budgets. This situation leaves the door wide open for corruption.
After insisting that I will visit the Dutywa park, I was given the contact details of the district manager. He immediately told me that there is a problem at the park. He also informed me that three tractors have been stolen from the site.
A DA government will ensure that growing our rural economy will be linked to access to opportunity and that the needs of communities be taken into consideration to build One South Africa for All.