AGRICULTURE Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has parted ways with her director-general, Langa Zita, after two years over irreconcilable administrative differences.
Mr Zita was suspended in June after he and the minister disagreed on priorities and strategies the department needed to follow to keep essential services in the fight against viral outbreaks that have crippled several farming sectors.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson has remained under pressure from various industry players, including red meat and ostrich producers, who suffered losses after disease outbreaks led to a ban on exports which has not yet been resolved.
The department bungled procurement procedures leading 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 took over management of the department’s maritime patrol vessels on April 1 for at least a year.
The sector recently expressed reservations about the navy’s abilities, which included the crewing of the vessels, the technical management of the vessels, operation, accounting and safety and seaworthiness of the ships.
Palesa Mokomele, spokeswoman for Ms Joemat-Pettersson, said the minister and Mr Zita "have mutually agreed to part ways amicably", hastening to add that the handshake was yet to be determined.
Annette Steyn MP Democratic Alliance spokeswoman on agriculture, forestry and fisheries said yesterday that she believed Mr Zita "may receive a R2.5m golden handshake".
Ms Steyn said Mr Zita’s handshake could comprise nine months’ full salary and 30% of each month’s salary until the end of his contract — which was set to expire in 2014.
"Our calculations indicate that the final amount could be as high as R2.5m, an extraordinary amount of public money to hand out to an undeserving candidate," she said.
Ms Mokomele said: "Calculations into Mr Langa’s (Zita) package have not yet been done. These calculations will be confirmed by the Department of Public Service and Administration."
Sipho Ntombela would remain acting director-general.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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