PRESS RELEASES


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PRESS RELEASES BY RETIEF ODENDAAL


The Eastern Cape could lose out on any drought relief funding requested from the National Government, should premier Oscar Mabuyane not extend the provincial disaster declaration by Wednesday next week. I have therefore written to the premier to request that he extend the declaration, as per the Disaster Management Act. See Letter I have done so to prevent the ongoing chaos within the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, which shows that there is no coherent plan in place to deal with the drought. The province has requested R643 million from national government for drought relief and has made R74 million available provincially. Even if the national government provides all the requested funding, there is still a significant shortfall, with organised agriculture estimating the actual relief needed to be closer to R1,8 billion. In terms of the Disaster Management Act, the declaration of a provincial state of disaster lapses three months after it was declared, but it may be extended by the Premier a month at a time, but only if this is done before the original declaration lapses. Section 41 (5) of the Disaster Management Act 2002 reads: “(5) A provincial state of disaster that has been declared in terms of subsection (1) (a) lapses three months after it has been declared: (b) may be terminated by the Premier by notice in the provincial gazette before it lapses in terms of paragraph (a); and (c) may be extended by the Premier by notice in the provincial gazette for one month at a time before it lapses in terms of paragraph (a) or the existing extension is due to expire.” The extension of the declaration is a crucial step in ensuring the province remains eligible for the disaster relief funding from national government that we have applied for. Despite the recent rains, the province is still in the midst of a prolonged drought which has the potential to financially destroy hundreds of farmers, both emerging and commercial. These farmers are looking to the provincial government to support them in their time of need, just as they have supported the economy of the Eastern Cape for decades. Towns and cities are on the verge of collapse as water sources are drying up. With no water these urban settlements will not be able to survive, and we will see mass exoduses of residents and businesses. It is therefore vital that the provincial government does everything in its power to secure drought relief for those affected

January 24th, 2020

The Eastern Cape could lose out on any drought relief funding requested from the National Government, should premier Oscar Mabuyane not extend the provincial disaster declaration by Wednesday next week. I have therefore written to the premier to request that he extend the declaration, as per the Disaster Management Act. Download: Letter I have done so to prevent the ongoing chaos within the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, …


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Chaos and uncertainty reigns with distribution of drought relief funding

January 20th, 2020

The Democratic Alliance is determined to fight for a vibrant commercial and emerging agricultural sector. This is why I have launched a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application relating to drought relief in the Eastern Cape. This has been done because of the great uncertainty over the distribution of critical drought aid to farming communities in the Eastern Cape. The Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) …


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Shocking livestock death toll on EC Govt’s experimental farms a grave concern

January 16th, 2020

Shocking revelations that hundreds of animals have died at the Eastern Cape Government’s six experimental farming facilities, have come to light. This raises serious questions around the care and possible neglect at these facilities. The province currently has six experimental farms, focusing on animal, pasture and crop sciences, namely the Dohne A.D.I; Bathurst R.C; Adelaide R.F; Cradock R.C; Wolwehoek R.F; Jansenville R.F and the Mthatha Dam. All these facilities, except …


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Where is the Eastern Cape drought relief funding promised?

December 11th, 2019

There is still no sign of the drought relief funding promised by the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR), with farmers in drought-stricken areas still in the dark as to whether their applications for assistance have been approved. If we are to save our rural economy and jobs, the funds need to start flowing as a matter of urgency. When the funding was announced, exactly a month ago …


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Concerns over New Rural Development HOD following theft allegations

December 5th, 2019

The DA is shocked and outraged by the new appointment of the Head of Department for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Siphokazi Ndudane, after theft allegations have come to light against her. Ndudane, the former Deputy Director General of Fisheries at the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), was announced as one of four new HODs appointed by Premier Oscar Mabuyane earlier this week. It has now come …


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Farmers in crisis as goal posts shifted for drought relief applications

November 22nd, 2019

Farmers in desperate need of drought funding were dealt another blow this week, with the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) changing the criteria for drought relief applications midway through the application process. With the extended deadline for applications closing today, farmers are now in a panic that their applications might be rejected, as the supporting documentation required has been changed. The changes, which were communicated by DRDAR …


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The Eastern Cape gravy train still fully operational

November 21st, 2019

The tabling of the Adjustment Appropriation Bill in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature today made it clear that the Eastern Cape Gravy Train is still fully operational, with no bold plans for cost cutting measures. The message was clear that it is still business as usual, with the acting MEC of Finance, Nonkqubela Pieters, not pronouncing on any stringent cost containment measures. The province continues to spend money on frivolous, …


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Eastern Cape government needs to cut costs to survive

November 20th, 2019

There needs to be a strong focus on cost cutting measures and financial responsibility from the MEC for Finance, Mlungisi Mvoko, during the tabling of the Adjustment Appropriation Bill in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature tomorrow. Last month Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, made it clear that it cannot be business as usual, and that significant cost cutting across the board is in the pipeline. The Eastern Cape government needs …


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No comprehensive drought plan in place, response woefully inadequate

November 18th, 2019

There is no comprehensive, interdepartmental plan in place to combat the crippling drought that has gripped the Eastern Cape, as the crisis affecting the province deepens. During a feedback session to the Rural Development and Agrarian Reform portfolio committee on Friday last week, it was revealed that the province has only applied for R643 million in drought assistance from National Treasury, of which R455,3 million has been requested for fodder. …


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War Room needed to fight drought

November 11th, 2019

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the fact that the province has now been declared a disaster area, but we remain concerned that the province does not have a comprehensive drought plan that will enable us to deal swiftly and effectively with all drought related disasters. All authorities need to be on high alert, to identify critical areas where intervention is needed, to tackle the drought head on. The Eastern Cape is …


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