9 November 2011
President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the launch of the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative in Mkhondo local municipality in Mpumalanga province on Sunday, urged emerging farmers to use their farms to help create jobs and alleviate poverty in the country.
He told community members that through agricultural projects initiated in the area, people could get jobs and poverty could be alleviated.
“If you stand firm and make sure that these projects don’t fail in your hands, poverty can be alleviated and job creation can be high,” Zuma said. “We need to wake up and do things ourselves. Government is here to help you. People must not rely on [social] grants for a living when they have land.”
Zuma co-founded the nationwide Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative with KwaZulu-Natal businessman Daebo Mzobe.
On Sunday, he visited various agricultural projects that fall under the initiative around Piet Retief, handed over five houses, and also handed over the newly built Ezakheni Combined Boarding School in Donkerhoek. The school will accommodate children from child-headed families.
‘Let the supermarkets buy from them’
Zuma was accompanied by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.
He promised that offices of the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative would be built in Mpumalanga soon.
“We have taken a resolution to build offices here in Mpumalanga, where Mpumalanga people can access them easily. We want people, including businessmen, to volunteer and boost projects in their communities.
“We do not want the community to buy food from supermarkets, but let the supermarkets buy from them.”
Mabuza promised that his administration would support the Masibambisane famers by buying food from them.
“We will make sure that to sustain these projects, as government, we will buy food and vegetables for schools, hospitals and other government institutions. We will also help process them,” Mabuza said.
Five houses handed over
A recipient of one of the five houses handed over by Zuma at eThandakukhanya township, Nelisiwe Mbokazi, 37, who cares for 10 children, including six of her own, couldn’t hide her joy when she stepped into the solar-powered house.
“This is something I will never forget in my life. I’ve been staying in a shack all my life, but having Zuma give me this house has changed all our lives,” she said. Mbokazi’s house was fully-furnished.
Gigaba told the community that his department would spend R1-million electrifying 63 houses in eThandakukhanya township.
He said R300 000 would also be spent electrifying agricultural projects that have been initiated in the area to boost their irrigation.
“All the aforesaid help, especially the electrification of the houses, will start this week,” Gigaba said.