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DRDLR & Commission on Land Restitution 2016/17 Annual Report, with FFC input, and Minister and Deputy present

The Financial and Fiscal Committee (FFC) said the rural economy was no longer just a farm economy, and the role of agriculture as an engine of growth within rural provinces was plummeting. Rural development had evolved over time to focus on space-based interventions and diversified economic activities. While growth in agricultural output had poverty-reducing effects, non-farm sectors were proving to be more powerful tools for reducing poverty. Therefore a multi-functional policy approach was needed to attain rural development objectives and also to deal with the prevailing narrow interpretation of rural development in budgeting.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) said its performance against set targets had increased, from 71% in the previous year, to 79% as a result of improved planning and performance monitoring within the organisation. At present, South Africa was facing many challenges within the economy and to drive inclusive growth, the nine-point plan was adopted which included the initiative of revitalising agriculture and the agro-processing value chain. Although significant progress had been made, much still had to be done to address the needs of the poor and marginalised communities.

The Chief Land Claims Commissioner also briefed the meeting on what the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights had done in the past financial year. All their annual targets had been met, the allocated budget had been fully expended, and a clean audit had been achieved.

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