Thabo Mothibi, Managing Editor, email@example.com
Hordes of livestock farmers in the Northern Cape’s Namaqualand district which is gripped by the worst drought ever might soon be provided with relief. A high-powered government delegation led by Deputy President David Mabuza arrived in the drought stricken area’s town of Aggeneys today, Friday 4 October.
Deputy President Mabuza, accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform Thoko Didiza are engaging organised agriculture in talks that might result in Namaqualand and other parts of the province being declared disaster areas. An assessment of the affected farms is also to be undertaken by the leaders of government.
According to the province’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation the visit follows a commitment made by Deputy President Mabuza in the National Assembly: “That government working together with various stakeholders in the agricultural sector, should urgently find solutions in dealing with the persistent challenges of drought in the Northern Cape, Free State and the North West provinces.”
Livestock fatalities have been reported and farmers have also had to exponentially reduce herds to stay in business. The fodder help from government and other stakeholders has not been sufficient.
“Almost 15 500 farms with a carrying capacity of 613 447 large stock units, covering more than 20 million hectares are severely affected. Therefore, the situation is estimated to escalate to 1 million large stock units if above normal rainfall is not reached during summer rain season,” explained Zandisile Luphahla, a spokesperson of the provincial department.
Luphahla added: “The Deputy President will provide a platform to evaluate rapid response mechanisms available in providing the necessary support to farmers during this difficult period of drought.
“Furthermore, as part his visit to the province, Deputy President Mabuza will also interact with the representatives of the Khoi San Communities to evaluate progress achieved in addressing issues such as government support for emerging farmers, land reform and provision of adequate housing for the needy, amongst others.”
The province’s Premier Zamani Saul MEC, the department’s MEC Nomandla Blom and a number of MECs are representing the provincial government. Organised agriculture is represented in the main by Agri-Northern Cape and emerging farmer bodies National African Farmers Union (NAFU) and African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA).
By Thabo Mothibi
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Thabo Mothibi is a former broadcast journalist (TV and Radio) – with specialist reporting experience; SABC Political/Parliamentary and TRC Teams over a period of five years (1995 to 2000).
One key foreign assignment - is the 11-nation African Connection Rally – overland journey from Africa’s northern-most pole in the coastal Tunisian city of Bizerte to the southern-most pole in South Africa’s Cape Agulhas. From the journalistic years, Thabo then delved into Government media liaison and serving two former Ministers and three MECs. He became the Northern Cape Provincial Government’s first department based Communications Director at Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development - 2008-2010 – where he also served as Head of Ministry from 2003 – 2008.
As a former anti-apartheid activist, his political background and professional training aided him in spearheading the Northern Cape ANC’s 2004 National Elections media and publicity campaign and that of the 2006 Local Government Elections.
Whilst based in Waterkloof in Pretoria -2010 to end 2011, he consulted for Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence, then returned to the Northern Cape in 2012 to date, to consult independently and pursue other entrepreneurial interests in media and communications through KwaVuko Communications and Marketing.
Thabo Mothibi obtained his NQF7 through Wits University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg, a Unilever Mandela Rhodes Academy for Marketing and Communications Academy (UMRA). The goal of the NQF7 programme was to educate and train public and private sector professional communicators and marketers in government communications..