Money poured into non-existent agricultural project – Ilembe

The Democratic Alliance in KZN is demanding answers after it was found that government had been pouring money into an agricultural project in Ilembe that does not exist.

Members of the KZN quality of life portfolio, which oversees empowerment projects in the province, were shocked to find that seven hectares of land in Mandeni which had been earmarked for the Kumile Agricultural Project were still standing vacant, two years after various government departments and the Mandeni municipality compiled a detailed report outlining the scope of the project and what funds would be spent.

DA health member of the provincial legislature and member of the quality of life committee, Imran Keeka, said the project was meant to empower local women to plant and sell madumbi (yams).

He said he did not know exactly how much had been spent.

“The report detailed issues that needed to be fixed. Money was approved to fix these issues and also for training people.”

Also read: Driefontein creche stands vacant for seven months

On arrival at the site for inspection, the DA found no evidence of any form of activity.

“The Mandeni municipality is also complicit in this sham and we want to know where the money allocated for this project has gone. It is little wonder that land reform under the ANC did not work.”

However, Mandeni municipal manager Sizwe Khuzwayo, denied these allegations saying the municipality was not directly involved in the project.

“I am aware of the project and the fact that it was earmarked for Mandeni does not make it a municipal function.

“It was headed by the agriculture department. We did not receive any money for this project nor did we compile any reports.”

Keeka, however, has called for Khuzwayo to be subpoenaed to appear before the committee and demanded answers from other provincial departments including economic development, tourism, and environmental affairs, cooperative government and traditional affairs as well as the agriculture department.

“The Kumile Agricultural Project was supposed to have empowered a community. Instead, it is a symbol of ANC deceit and the dysfunctional land projects that this government has rolled out.

“These departments compiled the phony report and had the audacity to present this to a standing committee of the legislature.

“In particular, we want to know where the money allocated to the project has gone.”

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  AUTHOR
Erica Abrahams
Journalist

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