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MINISTER FALLS SICK AMID FARMING CRISIS

By Mbono Mdluli | 2017-12-07

Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilakati has fallen sick amid the current farming crisis in the country.

The under fire minister was reported sick yesterday during a sitting of the House of Assembly where he was supposed to respond to the MPs concerns over the current farming crisis.

The bad news of the minister’s sickness was shared by Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs David Ngcamphalala.

The MPs wanted the minister to sort out the non-availability of farm inputs and diesel at the Rural Development Areas (RDAs).

Nkwene MP Sikhumbuzo Dlamini yesterday moved that the House should first start by concluding the farming crisis that has left farmers stranded and fuming over fertilisers and tractors.

He said the matter was very sensitive, hence it was important for the House to start by concluding it.

That was when Ngcamphalala told the lawmakers that Vilakati went to see his doctor because he was not feeling well thus he could not make it to parliament.

It could not be ascertained what is troubling the minister but chances of a stress related illnesses cannot be ruled out given the pressure Vilakati has been under lately. This happens at a time when the farmers are now becoming aggressive as they demand their farm inputs.

On Monday, farmers allegedly vandalised property at Motshane RDA as they could not get their farming inputs. They became frustrated because no one addressed them regarding their farming inputs, especially the fertiliser, which had not been given to the farmers.

confusion

Motshane MP Phesheya Hlatshwayo, Nkhaba MP Menzi Dlamini, Maphalaleni MP Mabulala Maseko, and Hhukwini MP Saladin Magagula are said to have witnessed the confusion that happened at Motshane.

The MPs, together with officials from the ministry of agriculture, agreed that inputs should be distributed straight to constituencies to avoid the RDA confusion. On Tuesday, Ludzeludze RDA workers were held hostage by farmers from Ludzeludze, who were angry because they had not been given fertiliser. What made them angrier was that there was a truck reported to have been directed to Luve from Ludzeludze.

The farmers resorted to blocking the entrance to the RDA as they demanded their fertiliser.

In all the areas, farmers would arrive at the RDA in the morning and spend the whole day without getting help. Some of the farmers, particularly in Motshane, would sleep at the RDA, in an effort to be the first ones to get their fertiliser.

However, there is now a glimmer of hope as farmers have started receiving their inputs. In Ludzeludze, the farmers started receiving their bags of fertiliser, relieving many of the farmers who now have hope that they will be able to do their farming.

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