Mbombela – Some 148 rural community members have been appointed to renovate the Marapyane Educational College following government’s decision to convert it into an agricultural college.
The community members, most of whom are young people, were introduced during the launch of the roll-out of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) to six additional municipalities in Siyabuswa on Friday.
“These young people are currently receiving training in various trades such as painting, bricklaying, plumbing, welding and others. The entire upgrading of the college is going to be done by these appointed people,” said Premier David Mabuza, who gave the keynote address.
The CRDP is an integrated programme that focuses on the provision of water, electricity, housing, agrarian projects and job creation, among others, in rural areas.
The roll-out of the programme to additional municipalities follows a pilot phase that was launched in the Mkhondo local municipality in Piet Retief in 2009.
During his state of the province address in February, Mabuza promised that the programme would be rolled-out to the Nkomazi, Chief Albert Luthuli, Pixley Ka Seme, Dr J.S Moroka and Thembisile Hani local municipalities.
Siyabuswa town is in the Dr J.S Moroka municipality.
Mabuza said as part of the programme, the provincial government would build 960 houses in three wards that have been identified within Dr J.S Moroka municipality.
“These houses must be built by local people. The material to be used in the construction of these houses must be procured locally, like bricks, doors and window frames. Road construction and other infrastructure development plans are all going to follow this approach,” he said.
Mabuza said the government would use the Masibuyele Emasimini Programme (Back to farming) to encourage people to make use of fallow land for the sustenance of their own families.
“Even in this programme, government will support small scale farmers with tractors, implements, seeds and fertilisers, including infrastructure development. I have handed over a maize mill project where the small scale farmers will be producing their own maize meal,” he said.
“This maize meal will benefit their own households first and the surplus will be sold to members of the community at a reasonable price.”
Mabuza said there were vegetable projects benefiting from the programme. He handed over food parcels to 30 impoverished households and mentioned that these were produced from farming projects within the programme.
“As the JS Moroka municipal area has been identified as also suitable for livestock farming, I have again handed over 20 bulls to the small scale livestock farmers within this area. This project will assist the farmers to grow this industry with a view that later they will become commercial farmers,” said Mabuza.
He said the provincial government would also support the livestock farmers with fencing, boreholes to help with water for their animals and other handling facilities.
The premier said the provincial government was also in the process of assisting aspiring entrepreneurs formalise their businesses through registering as small scale companies and cooperatives.
“These are entities that will be utilised in the various CRDP activities that will be taking place within this municipality,” Mabuza said. – Eric Mashaba, BuaNews