SA govt suspends agriculture chief but gives no reason
The South African government has suspended Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) director general Langa Zita without saying why.
DAFF described the suspension simply as “an administrative matter” on the department website, announcing Sipho Ntombela would be taking over as acting director general.
Commercial farmers trade union Agri SA’s president Johannes Möller, said he was not surprised by the news and criticized the government for appointing Zita in the first place.
“Agri SA’s dissatisfaction with service delivery by and relations with (DAFF) was brought to a head during the past year with the controversial statements made by Mr Zita, which served as evidence of his ignorance of and sluggish way of addressing problems of commercial agriculture, as well as his strange views on how he would have liked to liaise with the industry,” the union said in a press statement.
The opposition welcomed the decision with Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Annette Steyn critical of Zita’s performance.
“Mr Zita has done little to put this struggling department back on a solid footing, and the DA has in the past called for him to be removed from his post,” she said in a satement.
Zita was appointed to the post in September 2010 and said at the time his priority would be to help South Africa’s 500,000 smallholder farmers in the country to become commercially successful.