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Kwanalu

The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

Rouwatertarief-konsultasie moet inflasionêre impak op kos in ag neem | Raw water tariff consultations must consider inflationary impact on food

English to follow:

22 Augustus 2022

Agri SA gaan hierdie week deelneem aan die nasionale konsultasies oor die rouwatertarief met die Departement van Water en Sanitasie om die koste van water vir die landbousektor te bepaal. Hierdie kritieke besprekings volg op die sektorspesifieke konsultasie van 16 Augustus 2022 en die uitkoms sal ’n beduidende impak hê op die lewensvatbaarheid van menige boere aangesien ’n beduidende verhoging in die tarief kan bydra om grensplase tot op die randjie van verbrokkeling te dryf. Dit sal op sy beurt ’n negatiewe impak op verbruikers hê aangesien dit ook sal bydra tot hoër voedselkostes.

Agri SA en sy lede besef dat die sektor die grootste gebruiker van waterbronne is en dus sy aandeel van die nasionale verbruik moet betaal. Maar dit is ook van kardinale belang vir die land se voedselsekerheid en die sektor se indiensneming dat die tarief op so ’n vlak bly dat die sektor finansieel volhoubaar sal bly.

Die nasionale konsultasies sal op 26 Augustus 2022 plaasvind en Agri SA sal die belangrikste punte wat hy is sy voorleggings aan die departement oorgedra het, herhaal.

Die konsultasie vind plaas op ’n tyd wat boere hard getref is deur verskeie prysstygings in belangrike insette soos brandstof en kunsmis. Hierdie prysstygings het die totale waardeketting geraak, veral wat betref die koste van die vervoer van voedsel na verbruikers, en dit word weerspieël in die stygende koste van voedsel vir Suid-Afrikaanse huishoudings. ’n Hoër as inflasiekoers styging in die rouwatertarief sal die inflasiedruk op reeds sukkelende verbruikers vererger.

Voorts moet die regering die deurlopende swak lewering van waterverwante dienste aan boere, ten spyte daarvan dat hulle die tarief betaal, aanspreek. Die tekortkominge in dienslewering sluit in die onderbesteding op dienslewering in sommige areas, swak vraagbestuur in Nelson Mandelabaai tot nadeel van boere en die stygende tarief in KleinKaroo, ten spyte daarvan dat die boere die las van instandhouding van infrastruktuur en onderbroke beskikbaarheid van water self dra.

Besprekings is tans onderweg om die huidige rouwaterprysstrategie te hersien en Agri SA neem deel aan die proses om seker te maak dat die land ’n volhoubare landbousektor bly. Die veranderings aan die strategie moet die uitskakeling van die nul-gebaseerde begrotingsmodel wat ondeursigtigheid van die begroting veroorsaak insluit.

Agri SA is verbind tot die ondersteuning van ’n regverdige rouwatertariefstelsel wat die landbousektor in staat stel om te floreer. Ons sal voortgaan om deel te neem aan die regering se raadplegende prosedures om die land se voedselsekerheid en die lewensbestaan van Suid-Afrikaanse boere en plaaswerkers te beskerm.

Navrae Janse Rabie

Agri SA, Regs- en Beleidsuitvoerendebeampte

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22 August 2022

Agri SA will this week participate in the national raw water tariff consultations with the Department of Water and Sanitation to determine the cost of water for the agricultural sector. These critical discussions follow the sector-specific consultation on 16 August 2022, and the outcome will have a significant impact on the viability of many farmers as a significant increase in the tariff could help push marginal farms to the brink of collapse. This would in turn impact negatively on consumers as it would also contribute to more expensive food costs.

Agri SA and its members appreciate that the sector is the largest user of water resources and must therefore fund its share of the national consumption. But it is also vital for the country’s food security as well as the sector’s employment that the tariff remains at a rate that keeps the sector financially sustainable.

The national consultations will take place on 26 August 2022, and Agri SA will be reiterating critical points it has conveyed to the department in its submissions. The consultation takes place at a time when farmers have been hit with numerous price hikes in important inputs including fuel and fertiliser. These price increases have affected the entire value chain, especially regarding the cost of transporting food to consumers, and this is reflected in the rising cost of food for South African households. An above-inflation increase in the raw water tariff would only compound the inflationary pressure on already squeezed consumers.

Moreover, government must address the ongoing poor delivery of water-related services to farmers despite payment of the tariff. The service delivery shortcomings include underspending on service delivery in some areas, poor demand management in Nelson Mandela Bay to the detriment of farmers, and the rising tariff in Klein Karoo despite farmers shouldering the burden of infrastructure maintenance and intermittent water availability.

Discussions are currently underway concerning the revision of the current raw water pricing strategy, and Agri SA is participating in that process as well to ensure that the country maintains a viable agricultural sector. The revisions to the strategy must include the elimination of the zero-base budgeting model that introduces opacity into the budget.

Agri SA is committed to supporting a fair raw water tariff regime that enables the agricultural sector to flourish. We will continue to participate in government’s consultative procedures to protect the country’s food security and the livelihoods of South African farmers and farmworkers.

Media Enquiries

Janse Rabie

Agri SA, Law and Policy Executive