Minister Van Rensburg to Retire
Gerrit van Rensburg announced that he will retire as Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development after the 2014 elections.
“I will remain active in the public sector, but will serve the agricultural/public sector in a new capacity”. Van Rensburg said he will announce his future plans at a later stage.
Van Rensburg said he is satisfied and proud of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s performance during his term in office, which started in 2009. He said highlights included:
- Four unqualified audits.
- The Department was crowned by the Southern African Institute for Government Auditors as the department in South Africa with the best Annual Reporting, for three consecutive years (2011, 2012 and 2013).
- The Department of Agriculture was nominated as the best provincial research department in the country by the independent International Food Policy Research Institute. According to the Institute, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture dominates in South Africa regarding research capacity as well as research output.
- The Department was crowned as the most female empowered department in South Africa.
- 15 Rural Development nodes were established in the Western Cape.
- The Western Cape export profile for agricultural produce has grown. A focused drive towards China has seen wine exports double since 2009 in that market.
- The Department implemented successful land reform in the province. Van Rensburg committed his Department to a 60% success rate regarding empowerment projects.
- The Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year Competition, which is unique in South Africa, experienced growing numbers of entrants and regions partaking each year since 2009. Shoprite also joined this initiative through a sponsorship agreement. The Annual Gala Event, where farm workers are recognised for their work, is one of the most prestigious functions on the provincial calendar.
Van Rensburg said he remains passionate about agriculture. “I believe the agricultural sector can play a fundamental role in solving the challenges of South Africa. The South African agricultural community is made up of exceptional people, most of whom are true and committed nation builders.
Van Rensburg said agriculture is central to land reform and black economic empowerment in South Africa. “In the Western Cape we are proving that empowerment projects can be successful with the right design and support”.
He said agriculture can help solve unemployment challenges. Van Rensburg said investment in agriculture creates more jobs and generates more revenue than any other sector in the South African economy.
Van Rensburg expressed his gratitude to the agricultural community for its unwavering support during his term as Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Without a dedicated agricultural community of farmers and farm workers nobody will have food on their tables tonight.