DA calls on Zokwana to restore SA’s ‘export reputation’

The DA has called on newly appointed agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana to act swiftly to rectify the damage caused by the failings of his predecessor, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

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This followed the announcement by the European Commission that even stricter import requirements will be imposed on SA citrus exports to Europe to prevent the spread of citrus black spot disease.

Annette Steyn, DA spokesperson for agriculture, said in a media statement that Joemat-Petterson has failed to prioritise animal disease and pest control measures, as the DA had urged in 2013.

This was in light of an EU delegation’s visit to assess whether sufficient disease control measures were in place. “In their subsequent report, the delegation highlighted that there was still a clear lack of sufficient control measures in South Africa and the enforcing authorities were not sufficiently empowered to act by existing legislation,” said Steyn.

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She added that Joemat-Pettersson’s tenure was characterised by “inactivity, incompetence and poor policies” which have “jeopardised our nation’s food security.”

Steyn said that, at the earliest available opportunity, the DA would request Zokwana to table a comprehensive plan on how he planned to rectify “the regulatory legislative lacuna that currently exists within his department”.

She Zokwana would also need to “explain how he intends to restore South Africa’s exporting reputation.”