Agri SA President Johannes Möller is sceptical after government announced it has made R149 million available for agricultural flood support.
“Announcements of massive amounts of money have been made since February and I don’t know of any funds that have reached the flood victims yet,” he pointed out.
“President Zuma announced an amount of R800 million in February, followed by finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s R600 million and another R200 million by agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson in April. Over R1 billion has been pledged before this R149 million, but its another thing to see it reaches the people who need it.”
Kosie van Zyl, Agri SA’s consultant for disaster risk management, explained that the R149 million “follows the agricultural sector’s application for R1,14 billion earlier this year. It is expected that Gordhan will make an announcement in his February budget speech on the outstanding claims from the agricultural sector. The R149 million will be channelled to the provincial treasuries for distribution to the claimants.”
There is no system in place yet to distribute the money, said Johan van Rensburg, Agri Northern Cape CEO. He said a meeting in this regard was held in Upington recently between organised agriculture and the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture and Land Reform. Organised agriculture asked that repairing embankments be top priority, followed by irrigation systems and road access to farms. – Annelie Coleman
Although government has pledged over R1 billion in flood relief to farmers so far, the money is not being distributed to claimants.