The overall purpose of the Rural Development Programme is to coordinate the developmental programmes by stakeholders in rural areas.
Our work comprises and is centred on integrated service delivery, working with different stakeholders towards developmental initiatives inclusive of rural agricultural areas, the facilitation of access to government services and the promotion of rural safety for a safer and secure agricultural environment for a sustained food supply.
The Programme has three (3) sub-programmes namely:
- Rural Development Coordination
- Social Facilitation
- Farm Worker Development
The purpose of this sub-programme is initiate, plan and monitor development in rural areas across the three spheres of government, in order to address needs that have been identified.
A key functional output for this sub-programme is the institutionalisation of the Regional Coordination Committees (RCCs) that provides a platform for all government departments (national and provincial) as well as district and local municipalities, together with agricultural stakeholders and community representatives, to meet on a quarterly basis to discuss opportunities, challenges and solutions to developmental initiatives within the rural areas and across the agricultural sector. This approach links directly to the Joint District Approach (JDA) model for joint planning and implementation of governmental services.
The purpose of this sub-programme is to engage and support communities on priorities identified.
The key focus is on empowering the agricultural community, inclusive of the youth, agri workers, etc through targeted skills and capacity building interventions so to improve the socio-economic conditions of the agricultural community. These interventions are rolled-out during specific quarters and include programmes, i.e. financial literacy, job readiness, development of a CV, entrepreneurship, amongst others, etc.
WESTERN CAPE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PARTNERSHIP WITH DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT AND PUBLIC WORKS: PEDALLING EMPOWERMENT IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
This project ties in with the Rural Youth Intervention (RYI) initiative, a strategic project of the Programme, which seeks to meaningfully contribute to the overall wellbeing of youth in rural communities.
The” bicycle” often is seen as a symbol of mobility, a tool of empowerment and advancement to improve transport means for a betterment of socio-economic conditions. In this instance, this collaborative initiative had identified potential students in the Swartland area, as beneficiaries of the rural youth bicycle project. These students are currently studying at the West Coast College and are reliant on public transport, the latter is often very erratic and or unreliable given the context of Covid-19. These students are also from relatively poorer families, where income levels are severely impacted upon due to Covid-19 and or the families are dependent on social grants. In view of the above, these students now have access to a bicycle…a personal empowerment tool to assist them getting to the West Coast College, thus bring stability to their need for a reliable transport mode, whilst they diligently pursue their tertiary level education. As per the words of the Deputy Director –General, Mr. Darryl Jacobs, ‘you ride a bicycle forward, not backwards’ …..this statement further symbolises government’s efforts to assist and support the youth with enabling tools to contribute to their development and ultimately a better citizen.
A hand-over ceremony of the bicycles at the Chatsworth Path Onto Prosperity ( PoP) Centre on 18 September 2020 took place. The POP Centres functions as a developmental hub for various community groups such as service centres for senior citizens, disability groups, dance groups and community meetings.
The purpose of this sub-programme is to enhance the image and the socio-economic conditions of agri workers and their families, through facilitation of training and development initiatives, in order to improve their quality of life.
Collaboration with industry partners and other government departments has been pivotal in ensuring access to government services for agri workers and rural communities, addressing and stabilsing potential volatility related to labour matters as well as promoting ethical practice on farms, ultimately contributing to international market accessibility. The sub-programme also investigates housing conditions and unfair labour practices of agri workers on farms, as well as ensuring access to services through the referral system.
Agri's Got Talent 2020
Agri’s Got Talent (AGT) was established in 2013 as a singing talent competition and life skills initiative for agri workers within the fruit and wine industries. The initiative provides workers with a platform to showcase their musical talents/ gifts, and includes voice and stage training, a singing competition and life skills workshop. It also provides the workers with a chance to broaden their horizons and build new relationships between co-workers on farms. Apart from singing, the initiative provides participants with the opportunity to develop various life skills which they can plough back into their communities, and exposes them to other career avenues.
Since 2016, AGT finalists have been hailed as achievers in their respective farming communities and regions, whilst continuing with their singing talent, mostly to provide to supplement their income. AGT is a joint venture between representative organisations of the agricultural industry i.e. HORTGRO, the Vinpro Foundation, the Citrus Growers’ Association, SATI and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), this serves as an example of the commodity approach whilst the partnership demonstrates the multi-dimensional nature of agriculture and rural communities as a whole and the contribution that this sector can make to unlock the potential of this country.
Agri’s Got Talent was hosted for the seventh time this year (2020) and the goal is to give workers in the citrus, deciduous fruit, table grapes, and wine industries, respectively, the chance to showcase their singing talents. To date, 420 agri workers have participated in the Agri's Got Talent competition, since inception.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its regulations prohibiting social gatherings, the initiative could not continue as per standard practice. The representative organisations needed to adhere to the regulations, guidelines and protocols as set down by government in terms of social distancing, limitations on number of people at social gatherings, etc., to mitigate the spread of the virus. Therefore, alternative ways were explored and as a result AGT 2020 initiative was implemented through social platforms e.g. Facebook, Youtube, WhatsApp, SMS and the AGT webpage to showcase the talents of agri workers. This ensured the aim of the project was reached, which was to provide recognition to agri workers with music talents and abilities.
Entries opened in March 2020, followed by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the National Lockdown, which resulted in the near cancellation of the competition. The AGT team, supported by the various sponsors, decided on a different strategy to continue with the initiative in the form of a mostly digital event, still affordable to the target group by utilising well-known and accessed social media platforms. SATI sponsored each of the top 10 finalist with a cell phone, to utilise for the training aspect as well as to access social platforms to showcase their abilities as well as the aftercare programme. Contestants were partly coached via cell phones with the AGT team visiting them on-farm to complete the training. The finale held on 9 October 2020, where the overall winner was announcement, was broadcasted live via Facebook. The AGT initiative directly speaks to uphold and acknowledge the dignity of our Agri workers rendering an essential service.
Roshdene Sampson from Sandhoek, De Doorns was announced as the winner during a live broadcast via Facebook. In her words, “I am so proud of myself and really look forward to what is going to happen next. This is the first time that I win a competition,” an overwhelmed Roshdene said. “I am so grateful for AGT and the team, and for everything that they have done for us. In the past weeks I have really developed as a singer and also as a person.” The winner received a cash prize as well as opportunities to perform at future agricultural events.
Winner - Agri's Got Talent 2020 - Roshdene Sampson, Sandhoek, De Doorns
Message from DDG: Mr Darryl Jacobs re Agri Got Talent 2020
"The Department of Agriculture is excited to again partner with Hortgro in the 2020 edition of the Agri Got Talent competition. This competition highlights and showcases the exceptional skills and talents of our Agri workers. Over the years we have been spellbound by the vocal artistry of these workers, and recognised their ability to overcome challenges and circumstance. We have even seen agriworkers like Karen Kortje rise to the top to be crowned the winner in the third season of South African Idols. The celebration of our agriworkers also recognises the massive contribution that the sector has made to food security and economic stability over these difficult few months of lockdown. The fact that we have had food to eat is largely due to our producers and agriworkers. It has been confirmed that the agriculture sector is the only one to have made a positive contribution to the country’s gross domestic product. At the same time this competition responds to the call by the Provincial Government to elevate the dignity and well-being of our people. As poverty and inequality worsens, the celebration of talent within the agricultural sector is a timely reminder that we all have something special to contribute to lift the gloom brought about by Covid-19.
A further word of gratitude to the organisers, who, despite the lockdown brought about by Covid-19, seized the initiative and continued to roll-out this event on a virtual platform. In this way Hortgro have demonstrated the resilience to not allow circumstances to dictate the future. This is, after all, the message that we want every agri worker and every individual to grasp: rise above your circumstances; and allow your natural talent to guide your pathway into the future. Aan al die deelnemers, alle sterkte in hierdie kompetisie. Mag julle deelname die trapsteen wees vir ‘n blink en opwindende toekoms in die musikale bedryf. Well done and may your stars shine bright".
Minister Ivan Meyer, upon his appointment as Minister of Agriculture, outlined his five priorities for his term of office. The Department then set about institutionalising these in order to determine what the intended outcomes are for each, the outputs attached to each, and more significantly the assessment of what constitutes success in relation to each of these priorities.
The realisation of safe and cohesive communities is an imperative, as crime and fragmented communities reduce the life chances and opportunities of individuals, further destabilises communities in a vicious cycle, and hinder socio-economic and personal development. The lack of economic opportunities and high youth unemployment levels, for instance, increase the risk of a young person succumbing to criminal behaviour. Improvements in safety, on the other hand, can reduce personal risks to the workforce, encourage investment, and boost tourism that would support the economy.
Education and freedom from violence are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Safe and cohesive communities would allow learners to attend school in a safe context, and a reduction in violence experienced by learners would allow them to fulfil their true potential. Violent crime places a heavy burden on state-funded health, criminal justice, and social welfare systems. A reduction in violence would pay societal dividends by negating harm to individuals’ physical, emotional, social, and cognitive health and well-being. The impact of a lack of safety across all sectors and all levels, whether it be individual, relationship, community or societal, is substantial. Creating safe spaces, however, goes beyond sectors and levels. It speaks to the very core of our foundational values of dignity, equality, and freedom. A person’s freedom and dignity cannot be fully realised if she/he lives in fear for their safety. The Constitution places an obligation on all spheres of government to protect, promote, and realise an individual’s right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources. The national government, through its responsibility for courts, administration of justice, and the security services, plays an important role. The role of the provincial government is that of oversight and facilitation. Equally, the local government has an obligation to promote a safe and healthy environment through law enforcement, town planning, and creating a safe and enabling environment for people to live, work and play. Our farmers and agric workers, as the agents to enable our food security, deserve to be acknowledged, appreciated and protected. As long as our producers live in fear, and are attacked without reason, the nation will suffer. Sustainable agriculture is dependent on sustainable production. That is why Rural Safety is a Ministerial priority within this Department.
B. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM
Inadequate rural safety and security
Prevalence of crime/lawlessness in general and a declining rural safety environment
High crime levels and an increase in farm attacks compromises and undermines the safety of producers and agri workers
Inadequate and or weak rural safety structures to deter criminal activities has an adverse impact on the ability of the sector to create jobs, enable a sustained food supply and to sustain a growing agricultural economy
C. WHAT IS OUR EXPECTED OUTCOME AND OUTPUTS
|OUR EXPECTED OUTCOME||OUR ANNUAL OUTPUTS|
D. WHAT ARE THE RISKS
Competing mandates regarding law enforcement and lack to effectively drive rural safety by stakeholders
Structural challenges and limitations of rural safety mandate between SAPS and DoCS
Uncoordinated responses to rural safety or crime.
Breakdown of trust amongst producers, agri workers and oversight bodies
Dysfunctional safety structures.
INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON RURAL SAFETY
The recently held Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on rural safety, firmly laid the foundation for an integrated approach to a safer and more secure rural environment in the province. Stakeholders had exchanged information on neighbourhood watches, farm watches, budget allocations made to municipalities towards their rural safety plans, as well as the key issues raised through proposals received from citizens to the Department on their views regarding rural safety.
The Department had its Technical Rural Safety Committee meeting on 31 July 2020, where stakeholders, amongst others, SAPS, DoCS, City of Cape Town, AFASA, Agri- Weskaap and other partners, deliberated as a collective on all matters relating to rural safety.
The Department is also in the process of establishing a Rural Safety Desk within the Programme: Rural Development and has started discussions with the Provincial Data Office (DotP) as to the modalities regarding the envisaged dashboard to be hosted by CEI-DotP, as a tool for the tracking of all reported rural safety related cases.
The buy-in and commitment from all stakeholders will go a long way to ensure an overall improved and protected agricultural environment
TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON RURAL SAFETY
Furthermore, at the Technical Rural Safety Committee meeting held on 31 July 2020, stakeholders also engaged on the importance of relevant safety structures such as neighbourhood watches and farm watches and their role and valuable contribution to a more safe rural agricultural environment.
Minister Ivan Meyer hands over Starter Kit to Redelinghuys Farm Watch
The meeting also discussed the call for proposals on rural safety as received from the public and agricultural stakeholders.
A total of twenty-nine (29) proposals were received from the public via email and social media. These proposals differed vastly in terms of suggestions and ideas and were mainly in terms of:
improving law enforcement and visible policing;
placement of bodyguards and “army soldiers” / law enforcement on farms;
create a database of all people working and living on farms;
“Information-sharing app” which can be accessed by all farmers/farming community;
to improve communication between farmers and law enforcement;
investigate reasons for increased crime in rural areas;
put interventions in place to assist with drug and alcohol abuse;
interventions to uplift education levels;
entrepreneurship interventions to aid the employment of people in rural areas; this may help to reduce crime;
CCTV cameras to be placed on farms and along roads in the areas;
to use drone technology as part of security surveillance; and
no releasing of prisoners on parole
The proposals were discussed with a view to determine proposed actions and to make recommendations. The proposed actions will take cognizance of and be aligned to the Provincial Rural Safety Strategy and the National Rural Safety Plan within the context of related policy frameworks insofar rural safety.
For more information on Neighbourhood Watches:
- Members of the public can email Neighbourhood.Watch@westerncape.gov.za to make an appointment.
- Operating hours are from 07:30 - 16:00
- Appointments will be scheduled on a first come first serve basis.
- No walk-ins will be allowed as meeting rooms must be arranged in advance.
Technology solution to improve rural security
The Programme Rural Development is currently developing an internal digital platform for the reporting and tracking of rural safety crime incidents which will feed into the proposed spatial dashboard of the Department of Community Safety. This partnership will ensure that an integrated management system is put in place in order to expedite investigations of reported crime incidents, whilst providing critical data on to identify crime hotspots.
Rural Safety Monitoring Dashboard
On 10 November 2020, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) hosted a WOW Day at the Percheron Hall which was aimed at highlighting the latest innovations and technologies developed for the agricultural sector of the Western Cape.
In his opening address, Minister Ivan Meyer mentioned that “We are seeing many farmers embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution (IR) and using innovation and technology very successfully in their business operations, with good results. Agricultural stakeholders should embrace the 4th IR and its technology and innovation as this is the future of agriculture in South Africa.”
Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, Head of Department, explained: “The world as we know it has become intelligent; we need new and innovative technologies to remain competitive and solve new problems that the sector faces. It is motivating to see the out of the box innovations we are developing to ensure growth and jobs in this sunrise sector.”
Technology Solution to improve Rural Safety
The Rural Development Programme exhibited the newly developed Rural Safety Monitoring Dashboard, which was developed in conjunction with Enterprise GIS-solution, for the purpose of monitoring rural safety incidents reported within the agriculture environment. This brand new interactive digital platform will make use of a combination of technology tools i.e. mobile-and web-mapping applications. It aims to improve rural safety within rural and agricultural communities across the province - all towards an overall improved, protected and safe agricultural environment.
The mobile app, ArcGIS Survey 123, will be primarily used by the Community Development Officers (CDOs) in the Rural Development Programme, who will use the APP to report crime related incidents in the rural areas. The Rural Safety Project Coordinator, in the Rural Development Programme, will be responsible for the monitoring, verifying and tracking of the information logged by the CDOs, and will ensure the following;
- The smooth functioning of the Rural Safety Desk.
- Collating and record data as received from CDOs and other sources of various farms and rural communities regarding crime;
- Escalating cases to the appropriate Law Enforcement agencies i.e. via Department of Community Safety (DoCS) for investigation by SAPS officials;
- Monitoring and tracking of incidents reported;
- Provide feedback to WCDoA management regarding rural safety incidents;
- Providing feedback to the Inter-Ministerial and Technical Rural Safety Committees in the form of statistics, progress, reports, etc.;
- Facilitate sharing of valuable information with rural communities, agri workers and farmers via relevant institutional safety structures; and
- Updating the web-based online reporting platform with relevant data as received from credible sources.
Through this new innovations and technology, the WCDoA aims to ensure a safe, protected agricultural environment for sustained food supply and security. The newly developed leaflet, Rural Safety Western Cape, was provided to participants at the WOW Day. The leaflet contains safety tips and guidelines, as well as the contact details of SAPS cluster commanders in the districts. Rural safety is a collective responsibility of all sector roleplayers promote dignity and wellbeing for all agricultural stakeholders, in the Province.