Nkwinti hails success of rural programme

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cape Town - Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti has hailed government's newly introduced Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP), describing it as one of the biggest steps to be taken to address the plight of the rural poor.

Nkwinti said since the implementation of the programme in Muyexe village, Limpopo, the department has expanded it to 21 districts in the country and these will increase to 160 districts by 2014. Delivering his budget vote in Parliament, Nkwinti said as from April the War on Poverty strategy which has prioritised 1128 wards across the country, will be moved from the presidency to the department.

"Of importance is that in each area where the CRDP is being implemented, a new vibrancy has been created around working together, involving communities, the three spheres of government and the private sector," Nkwinti said. This has enabled government to channel resources from all sectors to enhance delivery, he said.

The 2010 budget, tabled recently by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, supports several programmes for rural development.

Government expenditure on agriculture, forestry and fishing will amount to R17.1 billion in 2010/11, while R6.2 billion will be spent on environmental protection.

Nkwinti said an inclusive CRDP stakeholder participation model has been developed to assist planning, implementation and monitoring. "Communities themselves have become central to their own development".

Housing developments, multipurpose centres, renovation of schools and clinics were just some of the initiatives undertaken through the programme. Nkwinti said this has brought a sense of dignity among rural people who have been victims of "neglect" for a very long time.

About 85 percent of South Africa's poor are said to reside in rural areas. These people face economic marginalization and high unemployment.

Government has set aside an additional funding of R860-million for research, planning and design of rural development projects. In addition, the Land Bank will spend R1.5-billion to improve its liquidity and its ability to support emerging farmers.

There are around 780 000 commercial farm holders in the country and government wants to increase the number to 800 000 over the next three years.