In the mid-2000’s, when Merafong was still part of the North West Province, the then provincial government invested millions of rands in establishing this project – with the expectation of creating viable small scale farming.
When Merafong was incorporated in to Gauteng 2009, this project was lost under the radar.
As time has gone by, broiler houses, water tanks and fencing has been stolen while the crash pen has been damaged, rendering it unusable.
In reply to a written question I posed to the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile, it has been revealed that despite this farm belonging to the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) for nearly six years, funding of R1.5 million was only secured from the National Department of Development and Land Reform last year.
80% of this funding was spent on conducting feasibility studies in to the suitability of the land on which the farm is located – remarkable considering that the North West Provincial Government conducted these studies before initially purchasing the land.
Currently, there are no sanitation, ablution and accommodation facilities for these farmers to make use of.
In his reply, the MEC makes no mention of investing in infrastructure to ensure that working conditions are acceptable or that accommodation is developed to house these farmers.
It is unacceptable that nearly ten years on, this farm and the beneficiaries of this project are still in a state of limbo.
There has been a complete breakdown in relations between project beneficiaries and GDARD officials.
MEC Maile must prioritise this farm if it is to be a success; otherwise he is setting these beneficiaries up for failure.
Failure to do so will fly in the face of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s vision to grow agriculture in the province.
Ina Cilliers MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong
060 556 4344