Didiza explains delay in annual reports for agri entities

Didiza explains delay in annual reports for agri entities
Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza has denied recent claims made by the EFF that she had failed in the execution of her statutory and routine duties. Photo: FW Archive
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The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, said she had noted with concern claims by the EFF regarding the submission of annual reports from the former Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and its entities.

This followed claims by the EFF that it was “outraged and deeply concerned” by Didiza’s alleged incompetence demonstrated in relation to her statutory and routine responsibilities.

According to the EFF, the department’s mandatory annual reporting deadline was on 30 September 2020, but so far, the annual performance report for 2020 had not yet been submitted.

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A statement submitted by Didiza said that the 2019/2020 annual reports for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development were to be submitted separately from the erstwhile departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform and their respective entities.

The report for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its four entities was submitted within the stipulated timeframe.

The Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development was tabled on 27 November 2020.

Meanwhile, Didiza’s request to table the annual reports of the former DRDLR and its entities on 31 January 2021 was granted by the Speaker of Parliament.

The reports for all the entities except for the Agricultural Land Holdings Account (ALHA) had been audited by the Office of the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA).

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development was briefed by AGSA on its findings on 25 January.

Once AGSA had concluded the ALHA audit report, the DRDLR annual report would be concluded.

Since the AGSA could not announce a date for the final audit report, Didiza proactively approached the Speaker to outline the challenges, and requested a further postponement.

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