Mike Mlengana thinks a disagreement with Minister Senzeni Zokwana led to his suspension as director-general by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
Mike Mlengana’s refusal to sign documents for projects that had not been correctly tendered, and ongoing disagreement about issues in the fisheries department, could be reason for his suspension as director-general of DAFF.
According to a press release issued by the department, Minister Senzeni Zokwana has suspended Mlengana as a “precautionary measure” pending an internal investigation.
Mooketsi Ramasodi, the deputy director-general for agricultural production, health and food security is the acting director-general.
Mlengana, who was appointed as director-general last year, told Landbouweekblad how “shocked” he is about the state of the department and said he would not protect people who “make the country poorer.”
“I applied for the job to strengthen the department’s capacity to deliver services at grassroots level. [The reality is that] I must spend 99% of my time reporting to committees. It’s not about delivery, but about the lengths one must [be prepared to] go to, to satisfy a politician.”
Mlengana said he and the minister (Zokwana) had argued when he refused to undersign documents to appoint a corporate individual at the fisheries department. “I said we cannot approve the appointment if it is not tendered.”
DEPARTMENT NEEDS STABILITY
According to Annette Steyn, the DA shadow minister of agriculture, the department has a history of high personnel turnover at the DG level.
Steyn said she hopes the investigation would be completed as soon as possible to give the department some stability. This was very important because three provinces, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape are suffering from ongoing drought and there have recently been two cases of bird flu reported.
“Agriculture is going through a period of uncertainty, especially after discussions on land reform. Mike understands farmers because he has an agricultural background,” said Steyn.