Government agrees to DA’s proposal for adjusted Agriculture essential services permit
26 March 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is pleased that the Deputy Minister of Justice, John Jeffreys, has agreed to our proposal to amend the Annexure C permit to perform essential services - which was published as part of the national lockdown regulations - for the agricultural sector.
Agriculture is one of the sectors classified as providing essential services, however, unlike other industries, the nature of the agricultural sector makes it highly improbable for them to use the required Annexure C permit because this document is designed with public institutions in mind, and can provide an official stamp on the permit. See here
The DA has now written to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development, TokoDidiza, to urgently engage her Police, Defence and Justice counterparts on the new special format for the use of the agricultural value chain in order to avoid any problems at roadblocks. Other specific challenges would be movement across Provincial borders.
A further concern the DA has raised with Minister Didiza is the fact that in many cases, the agricultural sector requires more than 50 people at the workplace, many of them will be transported to and from the workplace. With the fruit and other industries currently in its peak harvesting season, clarification of the restrictions that might be imposed on agricultural workers’ movements is required urgently.
This will also go a long way in addressing the confusion regarding the harvesting and processing of primary agriculture commodities which have not been listed as essential food production, such as the wine and flower industries.
It is critically important for all of us to do our part to combat the spread of Covid-19 and to prioritise saving lives during this unprecedented time. Having said this, we also need to ensure that agriculture does not come to a halt, which is why it is important for Minister Didiza and her colleagues in the Executive to address any challenges that could potentially threaten the nation’s food security.
The DA has, therefore, also requested that the Minister provide urgent guidelines in order to ensure correct procedures are followed.
Issued by Annete Steyn,DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, 26 March 2020