Provincial growth and development strategy advisory council

Chairperson of TAU SA North, Dries Joubert, expressed his satisfaction with the discussions during the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy Advisory (PGDSA) Council meeting on Friday 20 July. TAU SA North agrees with most of the objectives of the PGDSA as stated during the meeting. Joubert said it is a pity that the racially based BEE policy is enforced. White people, as one of the minority groups in the province, are systematically and deliberately excluded from many economic activities. The discrimination against white people will have unfortunate results for the economy in the province but also in the rest of the country. Various statistics were presented. According to the Director General’s overview, the average growth from 1995 to 2005 was 4%. The provincial economy grew from R31.07 billion in 1995 to R103.7 billion in 2005 nominally. The programme made provision for three clusters to present their views to the Advisory Council namely tourism, Limpopo Department of Agriculture and mining. The tourism sector represented by the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, outlined the challenges and potential for the region. Joubert warned that the uncontrolled development of large golf estates put pressure on available water resources. Eco tourism should plan in such a way that the environment is not damaged or destroyed. Over utilization of water and other resources is a major concern. The change in land use from agriculture to eco tourism must be done in a sustainable manner without diminishing the ability of the agricultural sector to provide food security in the province. The MEC for Agriculture, Me D Magadzi, presented the LDA Programme of action. She highlighted the department’s objectives such as investing in Public Infrastructure (Horticulture Cluster). Three projects were discussed. The RESIS (irrigation) project, Black Tea Estates Rehabilitation and the Macadamia Production Development and Value Added Investment. Various other programmes were discussed. TAU SA North expressed their concern with some of the agriculture projects such as the RESIS project. Joubert said that the development of the Bio Diesel incubator is necessary but further research must be done to prevent the manufacturing of bio fuels made from products used for human consumption. He said other products are available and care should be taken not to undermine food security. The mining sector presented a useful map indicating the applications for the various rights and permits received up to date. Joubert warned that the uncontrolled issuing of permits and rights for prospecting, exploration and mining will further undermine the ability of the agricultural sector to grow. As the agricultural sectors is one of the more labour intensive industries, it is imperative not to destroy this sector. The mining industry is a low labour absorption industry. The devastating effects of mining on the environment must be addressed. Post mining ghost towns must be avoided. A concern was raised that more attention should be given to the culture of work. It is not how many people are employed but how productive employees are. No economy can grow as long as employees feel entitled to a job and little attention is given to productivity. Although the crime rate seems to drop in the province, it is still very high. The accuracy and the availability of crime statistics seem to cause some problems. The uncontrolled explosion of illegal immigrants entering South Africa from Zimbabwe is a major security concern. It can be expected that crime will rise unless the problem is adequately addressed. Sound economic principles are the best alternative to ideologically driven state control in the economy. Joubert said TAU S North will continue to form part of the PGDSA council. Agriculture is still one of the main sectors in the province and hopefully, the sector will grow and contribute further to the provincial GDP, regardless of BEE, affirmative action and ideologically driven policies.