Speech notes by Athol Trollip, MPL, Rural Development and Agrarian Reform budget vote debate — 23 July 2014

Honourable Speaker,

Today we are considering the Eastern Cape budget for Rural Development and Agrarian reform. This is a critical budget as we are essentially a rural province that relies heavily on Agriculture, forestry and Agro processing.

Another important fact is that the majority of people living in the rural areas of the former Transkei and Ciskei as well as the former CPA platteland are poor and dependent on the State.

The DA is on record, and let me again place our position on the record, that the legacy of the 1913 Native Land is one of deprivation and disadvantage that no one in South Africa can be proud of.

This deprivation and disadvantage is based on race! Yet despite this fact, the ANC, according to the Premier in his SOPA and Honourable Martin and Honourable Nqatha in their response to the Premier’s address, all reminded us about the preamble to the ANC’s freedom charter.

“We the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know that SA belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people”.

This is really encouraging for South Africans of all races to know and I am glad to hear that these esteemed members are so proud to quote such non-racial commitments.

However when one considers what the Honourable Martin and Honourable Nqatha go on to say in order to contextualize and justify their own prejudices, one cannot help but notice that they use the concept of non-racism as their argument yet they then proceed to posit racism and racist epithets to make their argument.

A colleague of mine once gave me really good advice when he said “one should never wrestle with a pig because you will both get full of filth with the exception being that the pig enjoys it.”

I think though that despite this advice that the time for a wrestle in this regard has finally come in this institution.
I never said that any MPL’s existence here should be “based on race and from which area you brought people”

I said that it was an interesting irony that the people who make the most noise here are those that bring less and less votes to the ANC in each successive election.

The Honourable Martin then goes on to make factually inaccurate statements and presents them as facts. He says for example that the “umlungu is growing double and others are just here”. The facts are that the DA’s colored representation has doubled. We now have two colored MPL’s out of 10. (The ANC has declining representations – 2 out of 45). Our black membership has doubled. We now have 2 black members – both women – the ANC has no white members.

Honourable Martin quotes the racial composition of the Western Cape Legislature – always the Western Cape! But let’s humor him and consider the facts. There are approximately 2,94 million registered voters in the Western Cape. The DA got, with an increased majority, approximately 1, 25 million votes. Approximately 43% white votes, 1.6% Indian votes, 54% colored votes and 2% black votes. Our Caucus representation is representative of this demographic support:

11 White MPL’s = 42%,
5 Black MPL’s = 19.5 %,
And 10 Colored MPL’s = 38.5%

But let’s look closer to home, in fact where Honourable Martin comes from, the Nelson Mandela Metro. The DA caucus composition before the ensuing by-elections is as follows:

18 white councilors = 39%,
20 colored councilors = 43%,
And 8 blacks councilors = 17%.

The ANC composition on the other hand is:

51 Black = 90%,
4 Colored = 7%,
1 White = 1.5%,
And 1 Indian = 1.5%.

I think we can put this sick argument to bed once and for all. There is no other party in South Africa that represents all South Africans better than the DA.

The racial representation in Buffalo City is worse for the ANC and outside the Metro’s it is for all intents and purposes a homogenous party. So I assume therefore that SA is for all who live in it, but the ANC is for black South Africans.

As for rudeness Honourable Speaker, I would encourage anyone in this legislature to spend a day in a debate in the Western Cape legislature to experience uncouth and rude behavior by the ANC towards the Premier of the Western Cape. This is politics after all.

What’s more, I want to remind Honourable Nqatha that what he knows about the DA candidate selection process and how we elect leaders is shown to be negligible by the use of his illustration that the DA Parliamentary Leader can be elected as such after only joining the party in 2011. You Sir, should ask Honourable Martin how long it took him to become an MEC after crossing the floor from the UDM to the ANC. He says he joined the ANC “for its progressive principles and ideology which is a non-racist, non-sexist organization”. It is amazing how meteoric promotion almost always is accompanied by “deep ideological conviction”. They say there is a special place in hell reserved for floor crossers.

The very person who made you an MEC, Nosimo Balindlela, left the ANC because it paid only lip service to non-racism and non-sexism. I am more inclined to believe her account of things in the ANC than yours.

Honourable Speaker, the late Honourable Nelson Mandela never ever referred derogatorily to Helen Suzman and Molly Blackburn as “friends of the natives”, he embraced them and valued them as fellow human beings.

Honourable Speaker, the Honourable Nqatha shouldn’t talk about candidate selection as it was his party that only submitted their lists at the last minute and they couldn’t even announce their Premier candidates until after the elections. Kiesers was gevra om vir ‘n kat in die sak te stem.

Rhodes University invited MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane and me to an election debate to debate Dr Eddie Maloka’s book entitled: “Friends of the Natives”. Apart from the fact that the MEC did not pitch up for the debate, the book was exposed for what it is – a thinly veiled, venal and subjectively bigoted diatribe, typical of an ANC cadre deployed to advise a national minister in a plump departmental post.

The DA, Honourable Speaker, is not threatened by majority rule, to the contrary, Honourable Nqatha, we embrace it as it has brought us to power in one province and 28 municipalities and will do so in more municipalities in 2016, including NMMM, Kouga, Koukamma, Camdeboo and Baviaans.

No Honourable Members, it’s not a threat as it will bring us to power, noba uyathanda Honourable Nqatha noba awuthandi!!!
Allow me to repeat the scripture verse that my colleague, Honourable Mvenya, so aptly quoted in her response from Mathew 7 verse 1 – 5 in the new international version:

“Do not judge or you too will be judged, for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”.

The DA’s nonracial support base is growing in every election whereas the ANCs nonracial base is shrinking, Siyaqhuba!!!

Bathi ngesixhosa, izinja zikhonkotha imoto eyihambayo! Mhlawumbi yiyo lento kungxolwa kangaka nge DA …
About the measure of judgment, let me use the Thandi Modise example of how not to treat your brother nor your animals.

This disgraceful story has exposed her and others in the ANC for their shallow hypocrisy. She and Honourable Martin and Honourable Nqatha should climb hastily down from their grubby ivory towers and start doing what they say or practicing what they preach.

Friends of the natives? Hon Speaker? What kind of a friend talks about Ubuntu, about unfair and prejudicial labor practices, yet allegedly pays their staff R50 per day like the new Minister of Agriculture, Senzeni Zokwana, or worse allegedly doesn’t pay their staff at all like the Chairperson of the NCOP? Let me tell you what kind of people do this – ANC leaders who say one thing and do the opposite.

Madam Speaker, the prospectus of this department should focus with lazerlike intensity on three key areas in order to achieve success:

  • Proper support for and partnership with a thriving commercial agricultural sector that can protect South Africa’s food security.
  • Promote and support emerging and small scale farmers.
  • Alleviate poverty and support household food security through appropriate support or subsistence agriculture.

However, one of the biggest problems facing this department is that it has been working without a proper plan and it has lurched from the repercussions of one poor MEC’s adhocracy to another.

Extension support, research and development are critical to the success of agricultural transformation. In this regard there is a deficiency of farming experience and practical capabilities of our extension officers. This needs to be urgently addressed. In addition to this, the research and development capacity needs to be improved to ensure that we can protect ourselves from the effects of climate change as well as ensure that our sector is at the cutting edge of modern agricultural techniques. The 75th celebrations of DOHNE Agricultural College are indeed an important milestone in this regard, however, we need to be constantly at the cutting edge of innovation and research to remain relevant and competitive.

The department of agriculture could certainly assist emerging farmers with liming and soil improvement to address the phosphate levels in the soil. Without this, vast tract ‘s of both communal land and land worked by emerging farmers will remain low yielding and will never be transformed into sustainable and productive agricultural operations or turn a profit and contribute to food security.

Uncertainty around land reform and land ownership is a major concern.

The department places food security as one of its apex priorities. This will not be achieved in the long term unless the uncertainty around land reform is addressed once and for all. Commercial farmers will not invest in more modern technologies and crops unless certainty is created in this sector.

There needs to be far more synergy between the departments of Agriculture and of Rural Development and Land Reform. It is untenable to have the national minister of agriculture trying to create calm and certainty amongst commercial agricultural stakeholders while his counterpart in rural development and land reform is destabilizing the sector. The national minister of agriculture clearly understands this, where in a recent article in Farmers Weekly, he indicated that, “stability and certainty in the agricultural industry are key to ensure that we improve productivity”.

Again, what the ANC says and what it does needs to be coordinated.

The success of land reform should be determined by the number of livelihoods created and supported, economic value created, and the number of small and emerging farmers who have been transformed into commercial farmers rather than the number of hectares of land transferred.

The continued demonization of farmers in our country must come to an end. It is essential that government recognizes that the goals that it wants to ach