LIMPOPO – Mbalula addressed the ANC election manifesto stakeholders forum at Bolivia Lodge outside Polokwane on Saturday and urged the Limpopo ANC to equip youths with technical and entrepreneurial skills in agriculture and food production.
He said Limpopo was rich in agriculture and had an abundance of fertile soil. The articulate leader, also known in the political circle as Mr Fear Fokol, said Limpopo’s fertile land could best be utilised to thwart the country’s escalating unemployment rate.
“Empowering the youth with entrepreneurial and technical skills will not only help the youth in Limpopo, but the youth across South Africa to enter the mainstream economy,” Mbalula said, urging the ministry of agriculture and land reform to open agricultural colleges in the country so the youth can be trained in agriculture-related fields to help government fight unemployment.
Mbalula said the dwindling ANC membership in Limpopo was another concern for the party and added in an effort to increase the party’s membership, the ANC should use President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina campaign to create employment.
“The Thuma Mina campaign is aimed at addressing people’s issues on the ground and deal with service delivery related issues.
“This should include the issuing of title deeds, revamping streets and community roads, help fight crime, fix leaking taps and pipes, help the disgruntled and the disenchanted with home affairs related issues and other aspects which plague our communities.”
Last month, AgriForum announced about 139 farms had been earmarked for expropriation. The farms belong to farmers who previously rejected offers under the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ model.
The newly appointed MEC for Agriculture and ANC Provincial Secretary, Baisekopo Makamu, told CV his department has programmes in place to cater to youths, especially women and people living with disabilities, to use grow the economy through agriculture.
“We are ready for the expropriation and to use agricultural lands to swell the economy by employing young people in food production and agriculture,” Makamu said.
ANC Provincial Secretary, Soviet Lekganyane, said the party would not be complete without winning back Mookgophong, Modimolle and Thabazimbi municipalities, which are currently run by a coalition of the EFF and the DA, through the Thuma Mina campaign to win next year’s elections.
Political analyst, Prof Lesiba Tefo, said Mbalula’s plea could not be ruled out as an election gimmick.
“There is no question about the urgent need for land distribution to those who own the land and those who want to venture into agriculture and food production.
“It must be clear, however, the same land should not go to a connected few and the elite but should be distributed to those who would use it to change their lives, that of their families and communities in an endeavour to better the lives of all,” Tefo said.