DEVELOPMENT the key

Rural development was the key to fighting poverty, ANC president Jacob Zuma said at a May Day celebration in North West.

Rural development was the key to fighting poverty, ANC president Jacob Zuma said at a May Day celebration in North West.

"Women in particular, who form the majority of residents in rural areas, face the burden of poverty more than men, especially in the former homelands and bantustans," Zuma said at the James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney, near Klerksdorp, on Thursday.

He said the ANC had adopted a resolution in Polokwane that all its branches would work with government agencies and civil society to promote the rights of farm workers and ensure the implementation of laws that protect farm workers and dwellers.

He said the land redistribution programme had not achieved the results initially envisioned.

"We have only succeeded in redistributing four percent of agricultural land since 1994, while more than 80 percent of agricultural land remains in the hands of fewer than 5000 farmers and agri-businesses," Zuma said.

"We resolved in Polokwane to redistribute 30 percent of the land by 2014 and to provide subsistence farming and food security, while maintaining a productive agricultural sector."

He said access to land for subsistence farming was critical.

He had met with members of the white farming community and they had supported the land reform programme and broad-based black economic empowerment.

Zuma said the energy crisis, food security and crime also negatively affected workers, who had a responsibility to fight crime.

"Today we call on our people to stop buying stolen goods and to influence all those who do to stop," Zuma said.

SA Communist Party secretary-general Blade Nzimande said workers needed to support the call to disband the Scorpions.

Cosatu acting president Sdumo Dlamini said the mining accident in North West, where nine miners lost their lives on May Day, had saddened him. - Sapa

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