The Premier of Limpopo, Mr Cassel Mathale,
The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Kwinti,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Our Honourable Traditional Leaders,
Mayor and Councilors of the Greater Giyani Municipality,
Community of Muyexe,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the election campaign, we made it clear that rural development and land reform would be one of our key five priorities, and that we were determined to change the face of rural areas.
In the State of the Nation Address on the 3rd of June this year, we said we would develop and implement a comprehensive rural development strategy linked to land and agrarian reform and food security.
We announced that we had chosen the Greater Giyani Local Municipality in Limpopo as one of the first pilot projects for the Comprehensive Rural Development programme.
We are pleased to be here today to bring that undertaking into fruition, to launch the Giyani project.
The former homeland areas will become a central focus of the the rural development programme.
You will also remember that during the inauguration address we made an undertaking that we would not rest for as long as there were communities without clean water, decent shelter or proper sanitation.
We said we would not rest for as long as there were rural dwellers who were unable to make a decent living from the land on which they live.
Being born in a rural area or the countryside should not condemn people to life of poverty and underdevelopment.
As we said also in the State of the Nation address, our vision for the development of rural areas arises from the fact that people in the rural areas also have a right to basic necessities.
They have a right to electricity, water, flush toilets, roads, entertainment and sport centres.
They have a right to shopping centres, good schools and other amenities like their compatriots in urban areas.
They too have a right to be helped with farming so that they can grow vegetables and raise livestock so that they can feed their families.
Working together with communities, traditional leaders and councilors, we will be able to speed up this work.
In order to realize our goals of developing rural areas, we have established the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Affairs, as a key coordinating Ministry.
Obviously the work is criss-crossing and requires many other departments, which will work with the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform to achieve these objectives.
The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme is our national collective strategy in our joint fight against poverty, hunger, unemployment and lack of development in our rural areas.
It is an embodiment of our unshaken commitment that we shall not rest in our drive to eradicate poverty.
A number of interventions are in the pipeline. Over the medium term, government has pledged over R2.6 billion in conditional grants to provinces.
This will be used for agricultural infrastructure, training and advisory services and marketing, and for upgrading agricultural colleges.
One of our priorities is to ensure that land reform through redistribution and restitution, is more coherently linked to the creation of livelihoods for the poor.
Land is linked to development in rural areas. We have recognised that in order to move forward decisively with the land redistribution programme, significant changes will have to be made to the Willing-Buyer Willing-Seller model of land redistribution.
Government will have to investigate less costly alternative ways of land acquisition, by engaging with all stakeholders within the sector.
The general view is that the Willing-Buyer Willing Seller model does not work. We will be seeking a much more pragmatic formula to land redistribution.
It will be a formula that should address the issue as part of our country's ongoing effort at national reconciliation. It should not be seen as a super-profit-making business venture.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A critical part of the rural development strategy is to stimulate agricultural production with a view to contributing to food security.
In this regard, Government will support the provision of agricultural implements and inputs to support emerging farmers and households nationally.
We must also make agricultural loans accessible and ensure agricultural extension services of a high quality.
Over the medium term, the aim is to bring about a measurable increase in agricultural output.
Therefore, the Ilima/Letsema campaign to enhance household food security will be intensified.
To promote food security, government will also work to protect valuable agricultural land from encroachment by other developments.
While we focus on encouraging communities to grow their own food, measures will also be put in place to ensure access by poor households to basic foods at affordable prices; and generally to improve the logistics of food distribution.
We speak about changing the face of rural areas. In this regard, Government has to improve the delivery of services - including education, health, housing, water, sanitation and energy.
Departments that are responsible for the delivery of these services will develop spatially targeted strategies to respond to the diverse needs of rural areas.
Improving rural service delivery will ensure that South Africa meets her development targets for 2014, which are linked to the Millennium Development Goals.
Government will also intensify the implementation of the Rural Transport Development
Programme. The objective is to promote rural transport infrastructure and services.
This will include non-motorised transport infrastructure, provision of rural transport passenger facilities and rural freight transport logistics.
It pains us to see women carrying groceries walking long distances from the taxi drop off point to their homes. Many rural school children also walk unimaginable distances to schools due to lack of proper roads and lack of transport.
Transport is critical for enhanced socio-economic activity and, broadly, a better quality of life.
We must also invest in future agricultural development and training. Dedicated resources will be set aside to revive agricultural training colleges to ensure that they develop and run appropriate training programmes to support rural economies.
Agricultural colleges will be turned into centres of excellence and access by emerging farmers to professional mentoring services will be enhanced.
Moreover, government will ensure that skills development and training services are accessible to farm workers.
Rural Further Education and Training colleges have to be strengthened and equipped to address a range of relevant rural development skills challenges.
We said in the State of the Nation address that evidence from various studies shows that
common among all dynamic regions - urban or rural, is always the presence of a vibrant centre or service node.
In this regard, spatially targeted grants such as the Neighbourhood Development Grant programme will be provided for the revitalisation and development of rural towns.
This will make rural towns serve as service centres of rural economies.
As part of the rural development strategy, Government will also support initiatives that promote other forms of economic potential of rural areas including tourism, light manufacturing and cultural work.
Various cultural activities such as traditional music, arts and crafts, traditional sports can be useful income generating activities in our rural areas and should be harnessed.
Clearly to achieve our goals we must ensure better cooperation between all three spheres of government. We will achieve this through better coordination.
We are on the way towards that goal. I met with Premiers and Metro Mayors last week and we agreed to improve working systems to promote better service delivery.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to say that because of this programme we are launching today, every household in Muyexe Village will have at least one person employed, for a period of two years.
This will be through job opportunities that the CRDP would have created during this piloting.
This will apply equally to all rural areas where the project is being implemented. In this period of two years, those contracted in the created job opportunities will be provided with training.
There will also be an exit strategy as well, implemented six months before the two year contract ends.
This will ensure that participants in the programme are able to get jobs or start a business enterprise to sustain themselves when the contract ends.
The indicator of the measure of the success of the comprehensive rural development programme will, amongst others, be the level of social cohesion and development facilitated in the rural areas.
The extent to which our rural communities have the infrastructure you find in urban areas as well as possibilities of income generating activities, will also be a good performance indicator.
The programme must ensure the delivery of clean water, decent shelter to proper sanitation and enterprises development support.
Our collective developmental interventions will initially focus on meeting our people's basic needs especially food security. The next step is the entrepreneurial stage and large scale infrastructure development.
The intervention will finally, culminate into the emergence of small, micro and medium enterprises and village markets.
We are very optimistic about this programme.
I am therefore most pleased today to officially launch the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme today in Muyexe Village, Giyani.
Let us all work together to make it a success. What you do in this village will serve as a lesson to other communities.
We will take what we learn here to other villages in other parts of the country, as these will be tried and tested interventions.
Together we must succeed. Working together we must do more to improve the quality of life in rural areas.
I thank you.