Farmers’ group refuses to join ‘second Nkandla’

2013-07-16 12:42

The Masimbambisane Rural Development Initiative, a partially state-funded project aimed at improving food security, will not have the support of farmers’ group TAU-SA.

The project seemed to be “a second Nkandla” and there were concerns it could be “tainted by possible nepotism”, TAU-SA president Louis Meintjes said in a statement today.

City Press reported on Sunday that President Jacob Zuma’s cousin Deebo Mzobe would run the project.

Zuma is the chairman of the nongovernmental organisation in charge of the initiative, and Mzobe is deputy chairman.

Meintjies said the project aimed to develop a million hectares of land for food production, but no indication was given of how the allocated funds, reportedly R900 million, would be spent.

There were also concerns at the lack of information which could be used to measure the project’s success, and that it appeared much of the land would not be ready for the summer planting season.

TAU-SA general manager Bennie van Zyl said that the government had approached organised agriculture to help mentor emerging farmers.

“But they need to be clear about the rules for that mentorship.”

He said transparency was needed about how taxpayers’ money would be put to use.

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