Row erupts over Limpopo Agriculture MEC’s Nguni cattle

Joy Matshoge, MEC for agriculture in Limpopo, has come under fire for what the Democratic Alliance (DA) has termed “self-enrichment” after she applied for and received 51 Nguni cattle worth about R1 million from the provincial government.

Matshoge received the cattle in two tranches from the Industrial Development Corporation Nguni Cattle Trust Strategy, a project aimed at improving the province’s livestock quality, according to DA Limpopo leader and agriculture spokesperson Jacques Smalle.

Smalle told Farmer’s Weekly that Du Toitskraal, the farm on which the cattle grazed, was also leased by Matshoge from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

“The DA believes that development projects such as these should only benefit the disadvantaged poor and not the political elite,” Smalle said. “MEC Matshoge brazenly insists that she applied before she became the MEC and did so as any other previously disadvantaged person would.

“The criteria is that when you’re occupying a position as a member of the provincial legislature you abide by the code of ethics. You can’t work for the system and benefit from it. What she did is a breach of that code of ethics.”

Smalle said that he had already written to Premier Stanley Mathabatha and the Public Protector asking that the incident be investigated and appropriate action taken against Matshoge.

Mathabatha’s spokesperson, Kenneth Mathivha, confirmed that the premier had received Smalle’s letter.

“The issue is receiving attention,” he said.

However, because the DA had also written to the Public Protector, Mathabatha would wait for her investigation to be completed and act on the findings. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, told Farmer’s Weekly that the matter was being investigated and that it would take about two months to be completed.

Smalle said that if Matshoge was found guilty of abusing her position to enrich herself, the cattle must be returned to the state. The DA would also want to see Matshoge dismissed.

“Wrong is wrong. I want to see a fair process where documentation is laid out and where we can see who signed on what, so that this doesn’t happen again,” said Smalle.

Matshoge’s spokesperson Sipho Dikgale said that the Public Protector must investigate the matter and provide a report on her findings to the premier.

“Then we’ll take it from there,” she added.