It has been almost 13 years since I wrote my first stories for Farmer’s Weekly as a freelance journalist, and now, as we start a new year, the time has come for me to start something new.
South Africa’s local government elections will take place on 1 November. One of the core functions of municipalities is to provide services such as refuse removal, the upkeep of certain roads, and the provision of water and electricity.
I know ignorance is a poor and cowardly excuse. However, as someone born in the early 1980s, I was oblivious when growing up of the terrible and unfair reality that most South Africans were subjected to at the time.
One of the enviable things about South Africans is that just about every one of us speaks at least two languages, while many speak and understand three, four or even more.
Property rights or, more specifically, the power of the state to deprive a person of these rights, have been high on Parliament’s agenda these past few weeks as committees heard oral submissions from the public on the Expropriation Bill and also on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, which concerns amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution in term of expropriation.
You might have read, in media reports that have been circulating on social media these past few weeks, about the case of Western Cape farmer Ivan Cloete, a land reform beneficiary who was facing eviction from a farm he was previously granted access to by the state.
Food and farming are increasingly gaining prominence on national and international economic, political and research agendas.
It is a theme I remember well from the children’s tales and Bible stories my mother used to read to my sisters and me when we were girls. Aesop’s loafing grasshopper procrastinated until it was too late to gather food for the long, dry winter months and then ended up having to beg for something to eat from the hard-working ant who spent his whole summer diligently gathering food.
There isn’t much left to say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said. It was one of those years that will punctuate our generation’s brief time on this planet in the history books.
In a recent presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee for Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, the Auditor-General reported that the department of agriculture and related entities had R46,3 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the 2019/2020 financial year.
I was 10 or 11 years old when I saw, for the first time, a grown man cry. Back then, the only veterinarian in town had an office across the road from the library.
Land reform has, for the most part, been somewhat in limbo since Cyril Ramaphosa became president in 2018. But the recent announcement by Minister Thoko Didiza of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (agriculture department) that 896 farms, measuring 700 000ha, of underutilised or vacant state land would be made available to the public has certainly got the ball rolling on land reform.