‘Agriculture Department wasting money’

Henry

Words are starting to dry up to describe the mismanagement with which South Africa is bombarded daily, believes TLU SA.

The misuse of funds in the agriculture department exposed by the portfolio committee in their budget review and recommendation report has yet to be considered by the national assembly.

The report points out that wasted expenditure of R33 000 in the 2021/22 financial year has risen drastically to R30 million in 2022/23. Most of it due to payment for services not rendered. Theft and corruption are still rampant.

“It is becoming a norm and it seems that people get used to it over time. This is completely unacceptable,” says Erika Helm, chairperson of TLU SA’s local government committee. “The taxpayer can no longer support a government that shows no responsibility for the management of funds. This while there are people who don’t have food to eat.”

Helm says the main objectives of the agriculture department are to help create and support an environment within which successful farmers can farm profitably in order to ensure food security for all South Africans. TLU SA is concerned that these goals are not in the interest of all farmers, and that they only serve as a front for more theft and corruption.

“Determining who is guilty should be a simple exercise and criminal charges should be laid against them. However, the punishment for this type of behavior is light, because there are no punitive measures to deter offenders from this type of behavior.”

Bennie van Zyl, TLU SA’s general manager, says the department of agriculture is now facing an integrity test. “The political head of the department should be responsible and accountable for her department’s actions. The question of what happened to the oversight role is likely to hang in the air like many other corruption and self-enrichment cases. However, if it is assumed that these kinds of reports are the norm according to which our country is governed, it is a slap in the face of every taxpayer. The price of the current policy direction has indeed become too expensive for South Africa.”