The Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Judith Tshabalala, has called on the Northern Cape provincial government and the Dawid Kruiper and Kai ǃGarib local municipalities to work together to assist local emerging vineyard farmers, particularly in Kakamas and Upington.
THE DEPUTY Minister of Water and Sanitation, Judith Tshabalala, has called on the Northern Cape provincial government and the Dawid Kruiper and Kai ǃGarib local municipalities to work together to assist local emerging vineyard farmers, particularly in Kakamas and Upington.
Tshabalala made the call during her recent visit to the Northern Cape where she interacted with established vineyard farmers and heard about their challenges, which are mostly caused by a lack of service delivery in the area.
There are also five Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI) projects that produce grapes in Kakamas and have been allocated a total of 936 hectares of water use entitlements and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Farms area.
As the custodian of national water resources, the Department of Water and Sanitation has given support to the local farmers and the HDIs with its Water Allocation Reform (WAR), which ensures that South Africa’s limited water resources are shared equitably in the best interest of the country.
However, most of the HDI projects have closed down because of a lack of sufficient skills support and the service delivery challenges that they experience from their local municipalities.
Three of these projects, which received 261 hectares of water use rights, were in a productive state when they were bought by the government and handed over to the new HDI owners.
Two of the three produced export table grapes and the third produced wine grapes for the local cellars.
After the handover, all these projects collapsed and came to a standstill, resulting in no production of any kind at any of the HDI projects.
Tshabalala therefore called on the provincial government and the local municipalities to have a closer working relationship to ensure that the HDIs take off and become successful for the benefit of local economic growth in the area.
She said this is part of the government’s Economic Recovery Plan to build a resilient, inclusive and sustainable economy.
The department’s deputy director-general responsible for compliance, monitoring and evaluation, Xolani Zwane, said the department is working on a revised
memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform.
The MoU promises to look into the water pricing strategy for the HDI projects in the area and to strengthen the relations between the two departments.