/ 14 September 2012

Faceless, nameless sources not truthful

Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The report alleges that R800-million was donated to the Masibambisane project. It is a misrepresentation of what occurred at Qhumanco during the Masibambisane rural development initiative event in July.

At that event, the minister made no mention of finances, let alone R800-million being "donated" to the programme. We wonder who your sources are and why a reputable paper such as the Mail & Guardian continues to use faceless, nameless sources to tell the public half-baked stories.

To clarify, R800-million is the cumulative contribution of the government to the programme and includes the purchase of food parcels from rural smallholders, acquisition of land, provision of inputs such as seed and fertilisers and the rebuilding and refurbishment of dilapidated infrastructure.

This is not new money or a set of new programmes. It is simply a commitment that existing schemes, such as the school-nutrition programme and the purchase of food parcels by the department of social development, be reoriented to take up excess produce grown by Masibambisane participants. As the lead department, agriculture, forestry and fisheries will make a contribution depending on the resources necessary for the initiative and these will be funded from our agricultural support programmes. This contribution is estimated to be in the region of R100-million, although that figure could change.

In brief, the figure of R800-million is what the Masibambisane rural development initiative is expected to generate – a massive injection of resources into our poorest rural communities to ensure food security, job creation and the development of small businesses in these areas. This is consistent with the goals of this government and should be supported by all. – Palesa Mokomele, spokesperson for the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries