A partnership between government and the Rietpoort community has helped build a healthier ecosystem and created 100 job opportunities and more than 300 person working days. For Rietpoort, a small settlement near Bitterfontein in the Namaqua West Coast region, something as simple as fencing has made a significant contribution towards the building of lasting relationships. It has also helped to address environmental, social and economic challenges.

During the project 5,2km of new stock-proof fencing was constructed while 15,6km of run-down jackal-proof fencing was replaced. Western Cape minister of agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, says job creation as well as farmer support and development are two of his priorities.

“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 with the opportunity to access work so they can provide for their needs and that of their family,” he adds.

Fencing project strengthens drought resilience in Rietpoort

Ashia Petersen of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture says the fencing project has given Rietpoort and the neighbouring farming communities a leg up. “The fencing project has strengthened their drought resilience and increased lambing percentages as a result of effective predator monitoring, and overall improved veld conditions.”

Dr Meyer elaborates on the project’s benefits. “Fencing, if properly planned and executed, has not only proven to be a measure to manage available grazing and contribute to sustainability but also creates jobs. By erecting fences and stock water systems, fencing camps off for breeding rams to improve the management of lambing intervals, and separating the grazing area from the community we can build their resilience and support livelihoods.

“The Western Cape Government is committed to creating more job opportunities during the post-COVID-19 economic recovery phase. More jobs and opportunities will create human dignity and wellbeing for the citizens of the Western Cape.” – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture