DA slams Free State dairy projects as 'vehicles for milking taxpayers'
By ANA Reporter
Bloemfontein - Land reform projects, specifically dairy projects, in the Free State have become special vehicles for milking taxpayers as land reform continues to fail because of the long outdated and mostly abandoned models of collectivism, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
The DA recently carried out an oversight visit to the Maluti Dairy Project in the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality to assess the current state of the project, and found only a shell of a dairy building with equipment and infrastructure missing or vandalised, leader of the official opposition in the Free State legislature Roy Jankielsohn said in a statement.
In 2011, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) visited this project, which was an initiative of the local municipality based on two state-owned farms. The dairy project was clearly doomed from its inception, as it was planned that a mere 53 cows would be milked to financially support 97 people, he said.
The Free State agriculture and rural development department spent R860 000 on this farm in the 2006/07 financial year. During the NCOP visit, the project was already static due to borehole blockages, the loss of machinery, and a breakdown of relationships among beneficiaries. The cattle were later split up between beneficiaries and the dairy came to a halt.
The department indicated to the NCOP that they would supply training, reopen the borehole, and use the farm to house cattle for the Diyatalawa Dairy Project in the same municipality. After R15 million was spent building the dairy at Diyatalawa, this had also come to a standstill. Both projects were static, and while the Maluti project was beyond repair, the Diyatalawa project still had some of its equipment, Jankielsohn said.
"It is clear that land reform projects, specifically dairy projects, in the Free State have become special vehicles for milking taxpayers and dashing the hopes of better lives for the intended beneficiaries and their families. The Maluti dairy, Diyatalawa dairy, and Vrede dairy projects are examples of this.
"Land reform continues to fail because of the long outdated and mostly abandoned models of collectivism that are only practised by the ANC government as it attempts to implement its archaic National Democratic Revolution," he said.
These dairy projects also proved that corruption and the lack of management, monitoring, training, and other support to beneficiaries remained significant reasons for their failures. Many such derelict projects exist on state-owned farms in the Free State and remain relics of government’s failures regarding land reform.
Expropriation without compensation would not remedy this situation, and only served to risk investment in productive food producing privately-owned commercial farms.
The DA had a sound land reform alternative that promoted partnerships between emerging and commercial farmers, relevant training to beneficiaries of land reform, ownership by beneficiaries, and sound agricultural extension support. Emerging farmers had to become viable and sustainable commercial farmers who contribute to job creation and food security, Jankielsohn said.
African News Agency (ANA)