The two most important departments for the development and support of farmers, are without leaders. This is a crisis, says Afasa.
The African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa) expressed its displeasure over the suspension of Mike Mlengana, director- general of Agriculture, Forrestry and Fisheries.
The suspension of Mlengana – a former chairman of Afasa – earlier this month, follows the suspension of Mdu Shabane, DG of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in December 2016.
“We are quite concerned about the situation,” said Aggrey Mahanjana, Secretary-General of Afasa.
“The two most important departments with regards to farmer development and support, are now without leadership.
This situation is worrying because the management of these departments and the delivery of services are disrupted.”
Mahanjana said Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Rural Development and Land reform, promised that his department will extend or improve farmers’ short term lease agreements on government land to a maximum of 30 year, or provide them with the option to buy the land before the end of June 2017.
Farmers are also still in the dark over the department’s recapitalizing program (Recap).
“Over a year ago, the minister announced that he will move the program without any budget to DAFF.”
Afasa, however, have heard nothing since. The organisation wants to know if the program was moved and how it will affect small farmers.
Afasa also appealed to the ministers of the departments to speed up their investigations of the two DG’s to ensure permanent leadership in the departments.
“We need steady leadership to ensure important programmes, like the commercialising programme and agriparks, are managed properly and show results in the end,” said Mahanjana.
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