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President Cyril Ramaphosa says as people adapt to new ways of working and as they make use of technology to do their work, the digital revolution should also happen in rural areas. 

The President said this when he addressed the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders at the Old Assembly Chamber in Parliament on Thursday.

He said COVID-19 has changed people’s lives – it has changed the way everyone does things and people have also adapted.

“We have adopted new ways of working, new ways of doing things. We have also adopted technology processes that enable us to be able to meet rather cost effectively, but to carry on doing the work that needs to be done.

“And it is in this regard that some of the more important economic recovery processes such as the digital revolution that must take place in our country also needs to be focused on rural communities because quite often, the temptation, and it is the temptation that even private sector companies that usually control this fall into, they will tend to focus on the urban areas and leave out the rural areas.

“But in our country, through the work that you do, through the focus on the important things that should happen to improve the lives of our people, to get us to move away from poverty, inequality and unemployment, we rely on you to be able to work with us,” he said.

Calls for partnerships to rebuild the economy

The President said, meanwhile, that the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to be around for some time to come.

He said the task of rebuilding the country is an immense one.

“The partnerships between government, traditional leaders, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders will be key to our success. We have demonstrated over the past year that when we work together we can achieve more,” he said.

Government committed to hosting Presidential land summit

At the opening of the House last year, the President announced that the Presidency would host the Presidential Land Summit. He said provincial engagements that were mooted to take place ahead of the summit had to be halted because of the pandemic.

“I am, however, pleased that even under these difficult circumstances, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform chaired by the Deputy President has continued to do further work on the key issues.

“For example, analyses have been done on experiences and lessons from Ghana to supplement what was learned last year during study tours to Botswana and Uganda.

“The Inter-Ministerial Committee has continued to oversee work on policy research around the important issue of communal land tenure.

“We remain committed to hosting the Presidential Summit on Land and it is critical that we resuscitate the initial plans to convene provincial engagements beforehand.”

He said the institution of traditional leadership must be at the forefront of both land reform and the agrarian revolution.

“The National House partnered with the Solidarity Fund to implement the Farming Inputs Voucher project, which helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic on traditional farming communities.

“I have further been advised that the Department of Traditional Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development now have a Memorandum of Understanding in support of agricultural projects in rural communities.”


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