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Visit to areas affected by unrest lays bare ANC’s ability to govern

(Debate in Parliament: Agriculture committee’s oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal)

The oversight visits that various parliamentary Portfolio Committees paid to the areas that were affected by last month's unrest and violence once again shone the spotlight on the ANC's utter inability to govern.

A harsh reality that has become abundantly clear is that ordinary South Africans do not have the luxury – like ministers, MECs and other high-ranking officials in government do – of hiding from criminals and looters in their safe houses surrounded by armed security forces.

It also became evident that an entire month after the unrest and despite the fact that a state of disaster had been declared in the area, the necessary aid and relief had still not been provided to those who were affected.

This is particularly relevant to the agricultural sector, which has been plagued by foot-and-mouth disease for a long time in addition to the pandemic, restrictions and violent riots.

A person who owns a butchery situated in an area affected by foot-and-mouth disease and who offers support to emerging farmers recently informed the FF Plus of his immense struggle to keep his business afloat under these challenging circumstances.

Every single animal slaughtered must first be tested for the disease. Because state veterinarians are not readily available, these tests must be conducted by the private sector at a cost of approximately R1000 per test. Needless expenses like these are ultimately collected from consumers, which results in less turnover and inevitably leads to layoffs – which is the last thing one can afford under the current economic circumstances.

This is just a single example of how the public is being punished for the failures of an incompetent government that is allowing the vicious cycle of decline to grow uninterrupted.

In addition to these extremely difficult circumstances, the public must also deal with the destructive consequences of riots that should have been prevented. Crops were burnt, a port and produce markets were looted and then closed down. The real victims are the general public who are at the mercy of an incompetent government.

The truth is that the government does not grasp the seriousness of food security in the country; it is failing to see the bigger picture of putting food on the table for every ordinary family in the country.

The disaster at United Phosphorous Limited in Cornubia, just North of Durban, is considered to be one of the greatest chemical disasters in the history of South Africa and it resulted in widespread pollution. And yet it seems that the government is more concerned about its BRICS partners than the people and environment of South Africa.

The irony is that the problems in KwaZulu-Natal (from the unrest to the foot-and-mouth disease), like elsewhere in the country, could have been avoided with proper planning and being proactive.

The unfortunate reality is that the ANC is still in power; it is time for the ruling party to address South Africa's pressing problems.

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