Premier of KZN Senzo Mchunu says:
We are keenly aware of the challenges facing KwaZulu-Natal, particularly the high levels of poverty. As Nelson Mandela aptly asserted, poverty is human made and therefore it can be defeated. This is the approach of thinking we have adopted as KwaZulu-Natal, which is guided by our master plan on poverty eradication that we launched this past October. We are clear in our approach that poverty is a human rights issue – and that its eradication is at the heart of the realisation of a people’s right to development. Our role therefore is to develop programmes and interventions that will get to the core of this challenge. Each progress we register in changing the lives of the citizens of our Province (most importantly those in the margins of society), significantly undermines the legacy of under-development that we inherited whose impact remains prevalent.
The master plan is an outcome of our Poverty Lab, which pointed us to specific areas that are hardest hit by poverty. The product was to outline specific interventions needed to defeat extreme poverty in the province, and these are stated as “gamechangers”. The master plan is a holistic approach that talks to our Provincial Growth and Development Plan. Our October launch, was an extension of our R100-million plan initiated in May this year. At the heart of this programme is agriculture and proper land use.
There are massive tracts of land already available to our rural communities. We have tasked the Department of Agriculture to ensure that despite prevailing drought conditions and the temporary setbacks this present to the sector, the available land must be put to effective agricultural use.
We are making discernable progress in this regard. We will work with our social partners and those concerned with attainment of equitable society to achieve our intended objectives. The nexus between commerce and development requires that government, academic institutions and business work closely as development partners to end poverty. It is possible to eradicate poverty by 2030 and it is possible to eradicate poverty in our lifetime.