The DA has written to the chairperson for the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development, Mandla Mandela, to request an emergency oversight visit to the rural parts of KwaZulu-Natal to assess the damages and needs of farmers and the communities there after nearly a week of devastating riots in the province.
While there has been extensive coverage of the damage done in urban areas, very little is currently known about how the riots affected the rural KZN communities and the difficulties they could now be facing in terms of access to food and other necessities and the damages they might have suffered.
Flow of food from farms to storage places, supply of operation equipment to farmers, supply of production inputs to farmers and the continued operation of farms needs to be assessed as a matter of urgency and a plan needs to be implemented to assist these farms and communities.
The DA has also written to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to ask for her to lobby her counterpart, the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, on behalf of farmers and rural communities to stop the proposed ban on the sale of fuel in portable containers. Subsequently he issued a letter reversing the ban without gazetting the reversal thereof.
However, we call on Minister Gwede Mantashe to gazette the letter that he issued to stakeholders.
The gazetted ban on purchase of fuel with portable containers was a direct violation of the Bill of Rights for citizens who require fuel in order to provide themselves with basic food necessities and medical care. This would be to the detriment of an already dire situation in KZN and might lead to more riots potentially spurring across the country.
Everything possible must be done to assist farming communities under pressure, in order not to comprise food security.
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