R10m Libode project lies in ruins, says local leader

A R10m poverty alleviation agricultural project launched by Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle has fallen into ruin, a traditional leader has claimed.
A R10m poverty alleviation agricultural project launched by Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle has fallen into ruin, a traditional leader has claimed.
Image: File

A R10m poverty alleviation agricultural project launched by Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle has fallen into ruin, a traditional leader has claimed.

For four months equipment worth millions has lain unused.

The equipment was meant to be used as part of a maize and soya project, launched as a collaboration between the office of the premier, the department of rural development and agrarian reform and a Mexican company, on 21 hectares of land at Maqanyeni village in Libode.

And Chief Pumla Hlwatika claims the government has also stopped paying a stipend to workers, and that no one was monitoring the project.

In 2018, Hlwatika wrote to Masualle, requesting his office’s intervention. Hlwa-tika said the project had had a visible impact on the community. Hlwatika claimed 40 youngsters were trained and all received a R2,000 monthly stipend from November 2017 until April 2018.

The premier’s spokesperson, Sonwabo Mbananga, said a second phase would be launched soon. But when contacted for comment, department spokes-person Andile Fani distanced his department from the project.

“The only project that we know that was executed in 2017/18 at Nyandeni, was a green energy project,” Fani said.

The premier has since written to provincial director general Marion Mbina-Mthembu and the department to seek clarity on the project. – Times Select

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