KZN reviving controversial project
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Ladysmith - The KwaZulu-Natal government is reviving its controversial Nguni cattle rehabilitation programme, the agriculture MEC said on Wednesday.
"We have done all the planning and we are ready to revive the Nguni cattle project because we believe that it is an important project," Lydia Johnson told farmers in Ladysmith.
The Nguni project was stopped in 2008 after it emerged that it had handsomely benefited the wives of politicians and government officials.
The wives of former transport department head Kwazi Mbanjwa and head of the provincial treasury Sipho Shabalala had received Nguni cattle and grant-in-aid well over R500 000.
Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele was also accused of having benefited from the project when he was KwaZulu-Natal premier.
Johnson said her department had reviewed the Nguni cattle policy to ensure that many people would benefit from it.
She said the new policy, drafted in 2008 and approved in 2009, stipulated that recipients would be limited to livestock associations and not individuals.
"The department then embarked on a work-shopping exercise with the prospective recipients to inform them on the new policy requirements."
Johnson said her department had already received a number of applications.
"Some are in the process of being approved and in some cases distribution has already taken place. We want to start before the end of the 2010/11 financial year."
The department still held around 400 Nguni cattle awaiting distribution. During the 2004/05 financial year, it procured 1 393 Nguni cattle but only distributed 783 animals to various community recipients.
The KwaZulu-Natal government has also embarked on a campaign to promote goat farming to make it part of formal commercial livestock production in the province.
"Goats are largely confined to communal farming areas and do not form a major part of formal commercial livestock production in the province, although their numbers are increasing," said Johnson.
The first goat farming project was launched in Somshoek in Ladysmith on Wednesday.
The farmers raised concerns about the high rate of stock theft in the area.
They also asked the department to help them to fence off their livestock to prevent them from being stolen or hit by cars.
Johnson said her department would provide advisers to help farmers to prevent livestock diseases.
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