The DA will submit a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) regarding the R3.1 billion Agri-Parks Programme, in which government committed to building 44 Agri-Parks in districts across South Africa. We need to know the state and progress of all 44 parks, how much money has already been spent, and how it was spent. A list of all farmers that benefitted from these farmer support units or Agri-Parks must also be provided as a matter of urgency, so that the necessary oversight can be undertaken.
The DA has submitted numerous parliamentary questions regarding the state of these Agri-Parks, with an answer from DALRRD revealing in 2019 that none of the Parks had been completed and that only four were partially operational.
Today, news reports revealed that over the past four years, DALRDD has spent R33 million on an Agri-Park in Westonaria in Gauteng that has been neglected and is broken-down.
This project was a golden opportunity to uplift the local community through food production and job creation, but once again people have been let down by government.
When the DA conducted an oversight visit to a similar project in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape, the local community had not even been informed as to the purpose of the structures, so it came as no surprise that they had not benefited from the project. (See pictures of our oversight visit here, here, here, here, and here.)
South Africa is littered with projects like these which are wonderful on paper and makes for great photo opportunities when they are launched, but are then left to fall apart without any beneficial development for local communities. A complete lack of political will, questionable spending, and projects for which the Department has nothing to show point to a serious problem in the DALRRD. The DA will get to the bottom of this.
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