Deputy President David Mabuza says the ruling party needs to fast track the issue of land expropriation to ensure food security in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape.

Mabuza was speaking during a courtesy visit to King of AmaMpondo AseNyandeni, King Ndamase Ndamase ahead of the provincial African National Congress (ANC) manifesto launch in EmaXesibeni on Saturday.

Mabuza will no longer deliver the keynote address at the provincial ANC manifesto launch at EmaXesibeni as planned on Saturday as he has to return home to attend to a family issue.

The Deputy President was accompanied by ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile.

He visited the royal house of Amampondo aseNyandeni.

Mabuza says the province is faced with the severe challenge of high unemployment.

“We must speed up the process of land expropriation so that people here can benefit from agriculture. They must work and till their land.”

Traditional leaders say access to land is the only way that rural people can be uplifted out of poverty.

King Ndamase Ndamase says: “Even though there is drought in South Africa it doesn’t affect us that much this side. We think our place is good to plough all the crops that don’t need irrigation. Such as beans, maize can be planted this side.”

The ANC in the province says they will engage the national leadership on a number of challenges such as lack of jobs.

ANC Secretary General in the Eastern Cape, Lulama Ngcukaythobi says: “We will be discussing the problematic electricity issue. They will discuss job opportunities and economic development in the Eastern Cape.”

Many traditional leaders have urged government to bring agricultural projects to rural areas.

The ANC in the province say they are not overtly concerned about winning majorities but they are concentrating their efforts on improving the lives of the poor in the province.

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