Land Bank chairperson gets the chop

Recently appointed Land Bank chairperson Themba Langa has been removed as the chairperson and member of the Bank board of directors by agriculture and land affairs minister Lulama Xingwana.
Issue date : 18 July 2008

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Recently appointed Land Bank chairperson Themba Langa has been removed as the chairperson and member of the Bank board of directors by agriculture and land affairs minister Lulama Xingwana. This, just two week after rumours first surfaced that trouble was brewing at the helm of the already embattled Bank, when told Farmer’s Weekly that despite being “very unhappy” about certain incidents, including losing his risk and audit committee chairs, he had no intention of resigning. The reasons cited for his axing are that he’d “disregarded collective decisions of the board, had undermined its decision-making processes and had [employed] unilateral decision-making”. In the interim Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, the deputy chairperson, has been appointed acting chairperson. – David Steynberg farmer’s weekly

New chief director for KZN land affairs

Nomcebo Zondi, an attorney who has held a variety of legal positions in the KwaZulu-Natal justice department, has been appointed provincial chief director of the province’s land reform office. She was officially welcomed by the Land Affairs director-general, Tozi Gwanya, at a function in Pietermaritzburg recently. She replaces Mdu Shabane, who has been promoted to deputy director general of Land and Tenure Reform. I n his welcoming speech, Gwanya acknowledged the challenges experienced by officials in the execution of their mandates for land reform in the province, but also urged these officials to hasten the pace of land delivery. He also addressed the issue of an integrated approach to land reform that would encompass poverty alleviation, economic empowerment and food security. – Lloyd Phillips

Veterinary meds industry keen to see Manto’s new bill

The  SA veterinary PHARMACEUTICALS industry, which makes products essential to improved animal health in the livestock production sector, is waiting with bated breath to see how the proposed Medicine Control Amendment Bill tabled before parliament will affect it. A ccording to a statement issued by the health ministry under Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, this Bill aims to ensure that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) functions effectively and as an agency with a chief executive who is accountable to Dr Tshabalala-Msimang.

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The MCC has, in the past, been fairly autonomous in approving or rejecting the registration of new human and animal health products destined for SA’s market. However, the health minister will now have the final say regarding what health products are allowed onto the market. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the might actually be abolished and replaced by what will be known as the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). Reports also indicate that while the registration of veterinary products will come under the or SAHPRA and Dr Tshabalala-Msimang, it will also be carried out in consultation with the agriculture and land minister Lulama Xingwana.

W hile a number of veterinary pharmaceutical companies approached by Farmer’s Weekly indicated that their policy was not to publicly comment on government regulations, the SA Animal Health Association said that, on behalf of the industry, it was in the process of drafting a statement on the proposed Bill, which would be released to the public in the near future. M eanwhile, the CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber, Dr John Purchase, told Farmer’s Weekly that he had not yet seen the proposed legislation. He noted, however, that animal health products currently fall under Act 36 of 1947 and its extensive regulations. “The process of having new products tested and registered has caused enormous problems with registrations sometimes being delayed for over two years,” he said. “This not only affects veterinary pharmaceutical companies negatively, but also the livestock industry because new and improved technologies don’t reach the market quickly enough to ensure competitiveness and to cope with sudden disease or pest outbreaks. We are so desperate in this regard that any change can only be an improvement.” – Lloyd Phillips

Disgraced KZN agri head sues the premier

Former head of KwaZulu-Natal’s agriculture and environmental affairs department Dr Jabulani Mjwara, who is being investigated after over R100 million in department funds went missing during his time in office, is now suing the province’s premier, S’bu Ndebele, for over R1,5 million. D r Mjwara filed an affidavit with the Pietermaritzburg High Court claiming that, in his disciplinary hearings before the premier and the agriculture and land affairs MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu in April last year, a verbal agreement was reached whereby Dr was urged to resign in exchange for receiving his salary up to August 2008. C laiming that the final figure would have included a general salary adjustment, Mjwara said the final amount due to him as a result of the agreement was R1 514 788.

However, as he had not received this amount from Ndebele and Mthimkhulu,he had decided to sue regarding the matter. r Mjwara has made news headlines several times regarding the missing millions and because the investigation into his alleged maladministration is taking so long. More recently, he hit the headlines when The Witness revealed that his company, Planet Waves, was the preferred bidder for a R12,8 million tender put out by the Msunduzi Municipality. This was to dredge the Camps Drift canal in Pietermaritzburg, the starting point of the annual Dusi Canoe Marathon. – Staff reporter