The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) welcomes the recent appointment of Mr Siza Sibande as permanent Head of Department (HOD) within the province’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.
Mr Sibande comes with a wealth of experience in government and has accolades of good governance behind his name. Mr Sibande’s appointment comes just a few weeks after the appointment of a permanent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) within the same Department.
The DA in KZN is committed to working proactively with Mr Sibande to turn this disastrous Department around and we urge him to adopt the following measures without delay:
- To place a strong focus on building the Department’s capacity to deliver services and strengthen control mechanisms in order to stop irregular and wasteful expenditure. This after more than R230 million was not spent during the previous financial year – this is money that should have been used to improve the lives of the citizens of KZN and it is unacceptable that this did not happen and;
- To urgently addresses the more than 145 vacancies that exist in the Department. These posts must be filled with dedicated and skilled agriculture and development professionals who will rapidly move our province forward. In this regard, Mr Sibande must resist pressure to deploy more unqualified and unexperienced cadres which will further paralyse the Department.
The DA also remains concerned by governments slow and insufficient response to a number of issues, namely climate change, bio-security control, droughts and increasing input costs. We urge Mr Sibande to work with all political parties in addressing these issues as a matter of urgency.
Agriculture is a crucial component in the economy and future development of our province. Advances and developments in agriculture are vitally important in developing rural areas, providing jobs, providing food security and growing revenue from exports.
The DA is proactively working to find solutions to the various challenges affecting agriculture and our rural communities and will work with all who share the same vision.