Deputy President David Mabuza. File photo: ANA/Motshwari Mofokeng

MBOMBELA - Land reform is intended to ensure economic growth and continued support to farmers, acting President David Mabuza said on Saturday,

Speaking at the 2019 Mpumalanga Show at the Mbombela Stadium, he said the annual event showcased "the best we can offer in agriculture, forestry, wildlife, tourism, and related sectors". 

Mpumalanga was known for its agricultural sector and the contribution that this sector made to the broader economy of the country. He thanked all those involved in the agriculture and forestry sectors for ensuring that the country remained food secure. 

"As we embark on the land reform programme, which has gained traction with the resolution of parliament to amend section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, we do so to ensure economic growth and continued support to farmers," Mabuza said. 

"Our agriculture continues to be a pivotal part of our economy. Our forestry gives us timber that supports other sectors like mining, rail and road construction, housing construction, furniture manufacturing, paper and pulp, ecotourism, and all other opportunities of an agricultural nature," he said. 

Linked to this, was the role of tourism sector. Apart from the landscape, the flora and fauna was complimented by the beauty of the wildlife, hence the globally known Kruger National Park. Because of this landscape, Mpumalanga continued to attract a number of foreign and domestic tourists that came to enjoy the beauty of this province. 

"That is why the protection of our wildlife and the environment should always be of primary concern and importance to ensure that sustainable growth of this sector is achieved. We cannot allow the poaching of our endangered species, as it robs the potential growth of tourism and future inheritance of rich heritage by our future generations. 

"Ours is to always seek to grow the competitiveness of our economy and all the sectors being showcased here. It is in their sustainability that they will produce economic and job opportunities," he said. 

Government would continue to drive interventions aimed at the diversification of the economy so that capabilities were strengthened with a focus on increasing value-addition, skills development, localisation, and employment creation. 

The show should build a platform for sustainability of these economic sectors through growth and cohesion among the people, resulting to a winning nation. 

"Our unity in diversity must be felt during the show and not just be words or slogans. The people of this province must embrace this and make it one of the signature events that will continue to draw people from around the country and neighbouring countries. Let's join hands in building our country and make it a better place to live in. 

"Let's continue to live together in harmony with other citizens of our region. This province of Mpumalanga is full of economic potential to benefit all our people. Together let's continue to build a better future for our children," Mabuza said.

African News Agency