Langa Zita Suspended
Langa Zita, the Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has been suspended. No reason has been given as yet. The move has been welcomed by the DA and with a statement of lack of surprise by Agri-SA.
There have been rumblings of tensions between Zita and the Minister for some time and a series of issues raised in the media. In their write up of the suspension, Business Day report:
“Mr Zita was barely 20 months into the job and had been introduced by Ms Joemat-Pettersson as an appropriate candidate with the required background and skills, since he had been her special adviser on policy.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson has of late been under pressure from various industry players, including red meat and ostrich producers, who suffered losses after disease outbreaks had led to a ban on exports.
In the fisheries sector, the department was forced to appoint an independent committee of inquiry into procurement procedures. This led to the suspension of a company, Sekunjalo , which had won the department’s R800m vessel management contract, on suspicions of political interference and corruption. The Navy had to take over management of the department’s maritime patrol vessels on April 1 for at least a year.” (Full story here).
We have been concerned about the roll out of the Zero Hunger Strategy (see here for documentation). The strategy draws on the Brazilian Fome Zero programme, but has unfortunately taken a far narrower framing of the food issue than the Brazilian programme. While the framing of the programme is a concern, the real issue is the apparent lack of roll out. I hope that this move unblocks something in the system. I fear it won’t - at least not with all the politicking being done over the next six months.
University of Cape Town