The community of Rietpoort in Namaqualand are rejoicing after a fencing project in partnership with the Western Cape government created no less than 100 jobs for more than 300 days.
Rietpoort is a settlement near Bitterfontein on the West Coast. During the project, 5.2km of new stock-proof fencing was constructed and 15.6 km of run-down jack-proof fencing replaced.
Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape minister of agriculture, says residents could not imagine that something as simple as fencing could make a significant contribution towards the building of lasting relationships and addressing environmental, social and economic challenges.
Job creation and farmer support and development are two of Meyer’s priorities.
He says, “We have been supporting farmers in the drought-stricken parts of the Western Cape through our fodder support programme and job creation initiatives such as the fencing project in Rietpoort. Human dignity is shaped and fulfilled by providing someone the opportunity to access work so that they can provide for their needs and that of their families.”
Ashia Petersen, a representative of the provincial government, says that the Rietpoort and neighbouring farming communities have been given a tangible leg up through the fencing project.
“It has strengthened their drought resilience and increased their lambing percentages as a result of effective predator monitoring, and overall improved veld conditions.”
Meyer adds, “Fencing, if properly planned and executed, has proven to be a measure to manage available grazing and contribute to sustainability, but also create jobs at the same time. By erecting fences and stock-water systems, fencing camps off for the breeding rams to improve the management of lambing intervals, and separating the grazing area from the community we are able to build their resilience and support livelihoods.”