Mpumalanga farm dwellers commission proposes formation of ‘unit’ in Mabuza’s office

A commission of enquiry established by Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza a year ago to investigate farm dwellers’ socio-economic conditions has recommended the establishment of a ‘unit’ in his office.

The commission found the violations of human rights in the province’s farms, unequal access to basic services like electricity, water and housing and issues of security, healthcare, justice and illegal evictions.

And handing over the report to Mabuza on Wednesday morning at the Riverside Government Complex, Commission chairman Adv Gerhard Louw told the Premier and journalists that a unit was needed in his office to solve those problems.

Mabuza had established the commission of inquiry in September 2015 and investigators completed the work this week and handed over the report to him today.

“I don’t want to go through each and every recommendation in the report, there are many recommendations and there are many solutions, some of the problems are already known to the Honourable Premier, but I think the main thing and one of the main solutions that we actually recommend is the establishment of a unit with capacity within the office of the Premier to coordinate and specifically look into the farming communities, their challenges and their problems,” Louw said.

He said they found that the various departments of Mabuza’s Government had “different mandates and responsibilities and many a time they work past each other” and the unit was needed to ensure implementations of the solutions in the report.

“I think that this one solution will basically form the basis for all of the recommendations and the solutions going forward,” said Louw.

Mabuza thanked the team and told journalists the unit would be launched.

“Well, the proposal that we create a unit to coordinate the implementation I accept it.  And we will decide who must be part of that unit,” Mabuza said to a thunderous applause from MECs at the government complex on Wednesday.

He told Louw, who is Afrikaner, that he might decide to select him to the unit “because you will understand that South Africa is a very difficult country”.

“If I send Ben Nkambule to a white farmer he will close a door and say ‘don’t come here’, but if I come I’m white to the white farmer and issues are resolved easily.

“So there are some other issues of perception that we must deal with and give confidence to our people that South Africa belongs to all of us, black and white. But this will also give us an opportunity to deal with the agricultural sector which is a backbone of the province.

READ ALSO: Mabuza launches Lekwa farmers forum

“Some years ago this province was a basket of food for the entire country and over time production fell to lower levels, and probably we can utilise this opportunity to get all those who are involved to work together as a leading province in terms of agriculture,” said Mabuza at a press briefing in Riverside.

(edited by MLM)

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