by Ismail Obaray – DA Spokesperson of Agriculture, Rural Development & Land Reform
Date: 25 May 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA hopes that the current threat to the overgrown Onseepkans vineyards is taken seriously by Premier Sylvia Lucas, who made a commitment during Tuesday’s House Sitting to go and weed the vineyards herself. This comes after I asked the Premier whether she was aware of the pitiful state of the vineyards during a formal question time session, to which she responded that she was not.
The DA will appreciate an intervention by the Premier on the matter, given that the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture has rubbished our concerns.
The department says the weeds are normal. To the contrary, we have received expert advice from a seasoned grape farmer who has indicated that the photos indicate that no actions have taken place to control the weeds and that this will in actual fact stunt the growth of the vines, which will in turn have a negative impact on the ultimate success of the project.
The department also stated that the DA doesn’t recognise all the effort and money that has been invested in the vineyard development project. But this is exactly why we are urging the Premier to intervene in the Onseepkans vineyard project, to ensure the success of it. We acknowledge the success of the department’s Blocuso vineyard project, which furthermore puts the Onseepkans project to shame.
The DA cannot sit by and allow millions of rands to go to waste at the expense of job creation and food security. We sincerely hope that Lucas will indeed pay a visit to the vineyard development scheme en route to Namibia next week, as she has promised.
I, too, will be embarking on an oversight visit to Onseepkans and other agricultural projects in the area within the next couple of weeks, in order to assess the challenges being experienced at certain projects and to identify practical solutions that I will then present to the department.
The DA believes that successful land reform projects are critical towards building a unified nation and a thriving economic sector. We value all initiatives that have the potential to provide our poorest citizens with opportunities to improve their lives. However, these initiatives must be protected and nurtured by their respective department, and not neglected.
DA Spokesperson of Agriculture, Rural Development & Land Reform
082 380 2128
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387