Department splurges over R17 million

The Agriculture Department spent R3,6 million on the provincial farmworker summits earlier this year and an extra R13,5 million on the National Farm Worker Summit in Somerset West in July.

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The provincial summits were attended by 1 969 farmworkers and cost between R300 000 to R500 000 per summit. The national summit was attended by 2 030 delegates and of this total, 1 400 were vulnerable workers from all nine provinces. These figures were given as part of a written response by minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to parliamentary questions by DA MP Lourie Bosman, a member of the agriculture portfolio committee.Bosman said the national summit was superfluous after the provincial summits.

“It’s clear from the feedback we received that the department gathered all the necessary information in the provincial summits. But then the department decided to spend more to host a national summit, which wasn’t constructive or necessary.” Bosman said the national summit failed to take into account many of the outcomes reached in the provincial summits, and that with the national summit R2,3 million was paid for the venue and an extra R2,81 million to rent a large marquee tent.

Agri SA walked out of national summit after rejecting its resolutions, which didn’t reflect the well-considered inputs of preceding provincial summits. Agri SA president Johannes Möller added that the outcomes of the summit didn’t accommodate any of the suggestions put forward by Agri SA. 

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