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Dutywa Agri-park rendered 'irreparable' - tractors stolen and facility vandalised

Jan 31, 2019
Dutywa Agri-park rendered 'irreparable' - tractors stolen and facility vandalised

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape wants answers after the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform revealed that vandalism at the Dutwya Agri-park has caused irreparable damage to infrastructure.

"The fact that the Dutywa Agri-park has been allowed to be vandalised to such an extent that it is inoperable, has thrown emerging farmers to the wolves," said Nomvano Zibonda (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.

"DRDAR MEC, Xolile Nqatha, must account as to how officials could allow a valuable asset like this to degenerate to the extent that it has. Heads must roll."

Zibonda said that the Agri-parks initiative was launched nationally in 2015 as one of the cornerstones of rural economic transformation.

"These parks were conceptualised as one-stop shops for agro-production support, processing, logistics, marketing and training within district municipalities," she described.

"The basic idea was to develop rural development hubs linked to district gateways/growth points and to assist smallholder farmers to access land and local markets."

Extensive, irreparable damage done at Dutywa Agri-park

Zibonda said that in a response to a parliamentary question, MEC Nqatha, confirmed that extensive and irreparable damage had been done to infrastructure at the Dutywa Agri-park, which included:

  • Irrigation infrastructure (tanks and system stolen, pumps broken, and all cables stolen);
  • Wash Area (doors, taps tables, ceilings damaged or stolen);
  • Blanch Area (blanchers broken, and cables stolen);
  • Solar Area (Trays and trolleys broken or stolen, netting destroyed, cables cut, equipment stolen);
  • Ablutions and on-site farm house (doors, appliances broken / stolen, ceilings, walls and flooring destroyed, cables cut); and
  • Two tractors and equipment stolen.

"MEC Nqatha went on to say that the DRDAR had invested R2-million on upgrading the electricity at the Agri-park, as well as R216,000 on 4km of fencing and an additional R29,000 on seeds and seedlings."

She said that MEC Nqatha said a case of theft and vandalism has been opened, but no arrests have been made.

"This is a clear indication of how the ANC government has failed to look after investments bought with tax-payers money," Zibonda added.

"As a result, thousands of much needed potential jobs, that could have grown from a thriving emerging agricultural sector, have been lost."

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