The Fetsa Tlala programme of the Department of Agriculture and Rural development is nothing more than a plan to buy votes for the ANC using government money.
This is according to DA Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle who has raised concern over the mysterious removal of seven tractors to the value of R8,4 million from Leboeng in Tubatse where they served the community for only a year.
Smalle, in a press statement released yesterday (Wednesday) stated: “The department pays between R10 000 and R12 000 per hectare to be ploughed and provides 25 kilograms of seeds for two hectares. The DA is deeply concerned about shoddy work provided by the department to the farmers of Lebueng in Tubatse.
“The programme aimed to benefit more than 200 000 families and creating more than 300 000 jobs in Limpopo, but this never happened due to mismanagement of funds and other irregularities.
“The DA condemns this abuse of state resources, and poor management of the programme leaving our people further from achieving economic success and freedom from poverty.”
He further stressed that the national government has allocated a whopping R1,6 billion for this programme, but with the ploughing examples at Leubeng community, it illustrates that the ANC led government does not have an interest of subsistence farming at heart. “The Fetsa Tlala funds are a bottomless pit for plundering government funds without accountability. The DA believes that this inefficiency by the department has posed a serious threat to the food security of the poorest of the poor in Limpopo,” Smalle further stated.
He added that, to make matters worse, Fetsa Tlala has caused a massive public outcry by farmers across the province over the significant waste that has been incurred due to agricultural officers distributing seed and fertiliser late during the last planting season and never sent tractors and other necessary implements to plough and prepare the fields.
“The DA will seek an urgent meeting with the MEC for Agriculture, Joy Matshoge, to discuss her plans to get Fetsa Tlala working, so that the people of Limpopo can benefit, rather than the programme being nothing more than a tool for the ruling party to garner votes,” the statement concluded.
At the time of going to press, Sipho Dikgale, Spokesperson for MEC Joy Motshoge, said the department is in the process of soliciting information from Sekhukhune district.