REPORT BY KWAZULU-NATAL PREMIER SIHLE ZIKALALA TO THE KZN LEGISLATURE ON PLANS AND PROGRESS TOWARDS WOMEN’S ACCESS TO LAND AND PARTICIPATION IN AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ECONOMIES, PIETERMARITZBURG, 15 OCTOBER 2020

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Deputy Speaker;

Honourable Members;

Compatriots and Friends;

THE ANC’S CIVILISING MISSION AND THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR RURAL WOMEN

As we meet today on International Day for Rural Women, I greet you all in the name of all the powerful, resilient, and death-defying mothers and daughters of our beautiful province who live in the rural parts of our province.

Since the 15th of October 2008, the world has been putting more attention on issues affecting rural women and galvanising leaders and stakeholders to improve the status and wellbeing of women living in rural areas.

The ANC-led government is in office not for its own sake but to create a National Democratic Society that is non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous.

In the ANC Strategy and Tactics we assert that, “The NDR seeks to build a society based on the best in human civilisation in terms of political and human freedoms, socio-economic rights, value systems and identity.” We also emphasise that, “if there were to be any single measure of the civilising mission of the NDR, it would be how it treats the most vulnerable in society.”

As we gather here today, we know how Covid-19, and our struggling economy has increased the vulnerabilities of rural women who are often at the periphery of the national discourse.

We know that, despite tremendous successes in improving the basis lives of South Africa since dawn of democracy and freedom, there are still many KZN rural women who struggle to access water, decent sanitation, and adequate health care. Like all the women of our country, they are also exposed to abuse and gender-based violence.

The ANC-led government is seized with these challenges and make a solemn pledge that we will never rest on our laurels until we attain the full emancipation of the women of our land and achieve gender equality in our lifetime.

As the ANC, we take heed from late ANC President-General, the revolutionary OR Tambo who said in 1981:

“The mobilization of women is the task, not only of women alone, or of men alone, but of all of us, men and women alike, comrades in the struggle. The mobilization of the people into active resistance and struggle for liberation demands the energies of women no less than that of men.

A system based on the exploitation of man by man can in no way avoid the exploitation of women by the male member of society. There is no way in which women in general can liberate themselves without fighting to end the exploitation of man by man, both as a concept and as a social system”.

WE ARE CHANGING THE LIVES OF RURAL WOMEN IN OCTOBER 2020 AND BEYOND

Compatriots, I wish to appraise Honourable Members that today, the Spousal Office in the OTP and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and other stakeholders are commemorating October 15 with the rural women of uMkhanyakude under the theme, “Realising Women’s Rights for Economic Emancipation of Rural Women Today.” Part of the programme includes providing help to women in agriculture and tackling social ills of GBV, abuse of elderly women who suffer dementia, teenage pregnancy, and the skilling of women.

During this month, the Office on the Rights of Senior Citizens in the OTP will be honouring two women centenarians from our rural areas as part of the annual commemoration of the 2020 Senior Citizens Month. The centenarians are 105 year old Gogo Shazi from Sontombe Homestead at the Umuziwabantu Municipality. We are also honouring 106 years old Gogo Mokoena from Eskobhareni Homestead in Danhauser.

Gogo Mokoena has been living with her granddaughter in a corrugated shack that serves as a bedroom, lounge and kitchen. Plans are afoot to ensure that on the 31st of October 2020, Gogo Mokoena moves into her new decent home befitting of her dignity and age. In this regard, we applaud the leadership our Director-General, Dr N Mkhize, and the provincial Department of Human Settlements (DHS). The OTP, DHS, and Ugu District Municipality are also ascertaining whether the house of gogo Shazi in Harding should be renovated or rebuilt altogether.

ACCELERATING LAND REFORM IN FAVOUR OF WOMEN

Honourable Members, in line with Freedom Charter demand that the land will be equitably shared by all those who work it, the ANC government is making strides in redressing the land injustices of the past.

In his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that “to date, we have released 44.000 hectares of state land for the settlement of land restitution claims, and will this year release round 700.000 hectares of state land for agricultural production.”

In this regard, government is prioritising youth, women, people with disabilities and those who have been farming on communal land and are ready to expand their operations for training and allocation of land.

Given the challenges of the past where land restitution resulted in land becoming fallow and unproductive, government has now introduced a new beneficiary selection policy which includes “compulsory training for potential beneficiaries before land can be allocated to them.”

Recently, on 1 October 2020, the Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza, announced that the state is ready to release this land and fulfil the undertaking made by President Ramaphosa in the SONA. This process has identified 21 farms in KwaZulu-Natal measuring approximately 9307 hectares. The criteria includes the prioritization of women, youth and people living with disabilities. This land will be advertised by the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development before the end of October 2020. All women in agriculture are particularly encouraged to apply.

This particular project of allocating state land will complement other existing programs of government that provide access to land for women. The program of land tenure which aims to secure long term tenure for people living on farms has delivered land to1521 women out of 4149 beneficiaries in KwaZulu-Natal.

The redistribution program which provides access to agricultural land to subsistence, small holder and commercial farmers has benefitted 1258 women out of 2419 beneficiaries. These figures exclude land that is under the custodianship of the Ingonyama Trust and is accessed through its own instruments. It also exclude beneficiaries that may have benefitted through the restitution or land claims program.

In accelerating land reform, the ANC- government is continually ensuring that women amongst other historically disadvantaged groups are prioritized to benefit. In the Strategic Plan of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development it is stated that, “while the majority of land distributed has been in the Northern Cape, the highest number of beneficiaries from redistribution have been in KwaZulu-Natal, indicating that smaller pieces of land may have been distributed to more individuals.”

Honourable Members, government data shows that there have been 8 381 beneficiaries on KwaZulu-Natal between 2009 and 2017, which constitutes approximately 39% of the total beneficiary population. Of the total 21 517 beneficiaries, only 40,7% (8 763 beneficiaries) have been women, and only 30,3% (6 517 beneficiaries) have been youth.

Government is cognisant of the fact that these demographic dimensions illuminate a potential challenge regarding the ability for land reform to create substantial economic transformation and equity in the country. Government therefore recognize that in order to substantially transform the country’s economic structure, land reform must be conducted in a gender-sensitive manner that provides the economically active population an opportunity to improve the agricultural productivity of land in our country.

Compatriots, a number of women farmers from KwaZulu-Natal assisted by the state have won the Female Farmer of the Year competition. They include:

Name of the Farmer Area Category Year

  1. Mrs Ntombifuthi Ngeleka Ugu District-RNM Municipality in Ward 09 Subsistence Farmer 2016
  2. BBS Farmer Ugu District, RNM Municipality Commercial Farming( Tomatoes and Macadamia Nuts 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018
  3. Mampontshi Farm Vryheid Commercial Farming

(Piggery) and

MEC special Award Youth

2nd Runner Up 2018

2015

  1. Maureen Magubane Mooi River- (Nyamvubu) Commercial 2009
  2. Thami Zimu Commercial
  3. Zandile Sibiya Ilembe Commercial (Sugar Cane
  4. Gugu Zondi Amajuba, D332 Brakspuit Farm eMadlangeni Local Municipality Small Holder

Emerging Livestock Farmer 2016

2017

  1. Makhosi Xhakaza Mooi River Commercial 2014
  2. Nozuko Cezuka Kokstad Import category 2014
  3. Irene Majola
  4. Zamekile Shozi Pine Town (Savanah Park) Youth 2015
  5. Khanyi Mkhanyayo (Skhuthele Farm) Ugu District (Sugar Cane 2014
  6. Simba Mabhele Ugu District (Piggery) Commercial 2007 Runner up

2016 winner

SUPPORT FOR WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE IN KZN

Honourable Members, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is a crucial department within the economic cluster in stimulating growth and job creation, and revitalising the rural economy.

We can report that in 2020/21, there are no less than 27 women operated agricultural projects that are being supported from a budget of R82-million, 269-thousand 678-hundred and 00 cents (R82 269 678.00).

When we commemorated Women’s Month under the theme, “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Society Now!”, DARD launched infrastructure and natural resources projects. These include the handing over the following projects:

Ø YamaNdosi Feedlot at uMtubatuba in uMkhanyakude district,

Ø Masisukume Tunnel Project at uMlalazi in King Cetshwayo district,

Ø KwaGwebu diptank at AbaQulusi in Zululand district,

Ø Bumbanani MaNtimande Irrigation System at Alfred Duma in Uthukela district,

Ø Siphiwayinkosi grazing camp at Msinga in uMzinyathi,

Ø Khulakahle Goat Project and Hlubi irrigation system both at Alfred Dumal Local in uThukela district.

Apart from these projects, DARD in collaboration with Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) launched Aqhamile Agri Enterprise (Pty), a start-up business operating on 16.5ha farm focusing on vegetable production in the Weenen area. Over and above this, the project is assisted with working capital, equipment and business management support and mentorship services which is ongoing at the farm until February 2021.

Another Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRD&LR) and ADA project is the TSAR Beef trading which is 100% black female-owned project, which produces timber, grazing and grain.

We reported on Women’s Day that DARD has committed to unlock 10 000 direct and indirect jobs for youth, out of school, unemployed graduates and those young people who have a passion for agriculture. The programme undertakes to deliberately target young women into the agricultural sector.

In the current financial year, the Department is implementing community-based projects under Land Care to rehabilitate agricultural land and create over 1100 EPWP job opportunities. Many of the people in the programme are women.

We also note and applaud the Covid-19 relief support which was provided by the Department to 1165 women farmers who are involved in poultry farming (230), vegetable farming (725), and livestock farming (208).

WOMEN ADVANCING RADICAL AGRARIAN ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION (RASET)

Honourable Members, South Africa’s agricultural sector is still skewed in favour of established, white private sector. Black farmers and women small scale famers often lack resources which deprive them of opportunities to participate in agricultural food value chain due to the fact that they can’t meet demand requirements in terms of volumes, quality and consistency of supply.

To change the status quo, the KwaZulu-Executive Council in 2016 adopted Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) to empower historically disadvantaged people to participate in the food production value chain.

A number of women in KwaZulu-Natal have benefitted immensely from the programme. Famers are supported on moving their produce to different markets.

HIGLIGHTS OF THE SUCCESSES OF RASET PROGRAMME

  • Fifteen (15) refrigerated trucks and ten (10) vans were procured to assist farmers to be able to move their produce. This was to ensure that produce is transported safely, properly and delivered in good condition.
  • Since the inception of RASET programme, over 3500 farmers have been assisted to access both public and private sector markets.
  • Seventy-five (75) percent of these farmers are disadvantaged women and youth from rural areas like Umkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo, Ilembe, Harry Gwala, Ugu, Uthukela, uMzinyathi, eThekwini, and uMgungundlovu.
  • In the first three months of implementing the programme, farmers were able to sell their produce to the value of R44 Million. Much of this demand was from the School Nutrition Programme.
  • In the Dukuduku area, about 200 female famers were assisted with market access. They successfully sold their banana produce at the value R4 million to National School Nutrition Programme. Before this intervention, these farmers did not have proper market for their produce, resulting to most of it getting rotten in the field or eaten by wild animals such as monkeys.
  • Since the April 2020 lockdown till to date, about 200 famers were able to sell their produce at a value of R7 Million.
  • We insist as government that these opportunities should not last only during lockdown but should continue even after lockdown. Working with Department of Agriculture and EDTEA, we should create dedicated support for these niche commodities to be able to meet demand even post Covid-19. We should ensure that government leads by example by buying these commodities like beans from our women farmers in particular.
  • Numerous private markets have been secured through the RASET programme because of its model where produce are aggregated and delivered on time.
  • Partnerships with some of the private sector businesses have been entered into to coordinate and enhance the programme and sharing of skills and resources. The main partners are Dr John Langalibalele Dube Institute, UKZN, and the Land Bank.
  • We have successfully capacitated and included four additional districts to the programme. These are Ugu, uMzinyathi, uMgungundlovu, and Thukela. Through RASET, we seek to change the socio-economic status of women in these additional districts.

FUTURE PLANS FOR THE RASET PROGRAMME

  • Moving forward, there are plans to install agro-processing equipment in all DDAs for cleaning, sorting, grading packaging and weighing. These facilities will also assist in adding value to the primary produce.
  • There are plans to construct a Banana ripening and storage facility in uMkhanyakude.

Honourable Members, addressing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday, the KZN leader of Government Business and MEC for EDTEA, the Honourable N Dube-Ncube, outlined plans to support SMMEs and co-operatives in the Oceans Economy.

As we speak, KZN is establishing fishing processing facilities along the entire coastline for 43 fishing communities. All these plans on the oceans economy should do more to bring on board women from the rural areas. They must also participate in fish processing and the entire value chain in the maritime sector.

CONCLUSION

Honourable Members, there can be no doubt that future of our province and the world is female.

Women constitute more than half of our population, and we cannot think of building a new, just society by leaving them behind.

On International Day for Rural Women, we are all called to ensure that we urgently mainstream gender budgeting and accelerate rural development.

Our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters in the rural areas should be prioritised in land reform programmes and farming initiatives. They should not be left behind in digitalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As we make advances in agriculture using drones and robotics and deploying technologies that predict the weather and climate change, let us ensure that rural women also benefit from such technological innovations.

We commit that the ANC –led government will not rest until rural woman enjoy peace and taste the fruits of freedom for which they sacrificed much.

We will continue to answer the call to selflessly serve and to create a new civilisations that protects human dignity and the most vulnerable among us.

Together, Let Us Create Our Common Future!

And Let Us Grow KwaZulu-Natal!

I thank you!