Hanekom appointees shown the door

Jaspreet Kindra The purge of former minister of agriculture and land affairs Derek HanekomOs appointees continues with the departmentOs two deputy directors general having been given marching orders. The deputy directors general anti- apartheid struggle veteran Stanley Nkosi, who heads land reform implementation, and Sue Lund, in charge of land reform policy, were informed two months ago that their positions were being advertised. They are expected to leave at the end of this month. Mail & Guardian reported earlier this year that Nkosi, a Robben Island veteran identified with a policy favouring the rural poor, would be next in line of those shown the door. Highly placed sources described the removal of Nkosi and Lund as part of a campaign by Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Thoko Didiza to replace officials closely associated with Hanekom and his pro-rural poor policies with her own people. Departmental sources said both officials have reached an Oamicable arrangementO. The department has been caught up in a dispute over the direction land reform should take since 1995, when Hanekom was minister of land affairs and Didiza was deputy minister of agriculture. Hanekom and his appointees believed in policies which emphasised uplifting the rural poor and giving impetus to small- scale farming, while Didiza prioritised the creation of a black commercial farming class.

The situation came to a head when the two ministries amalgamated in 1996 and Didiza became HanekomOs deputy. The infighting worsened when Hanekom was dropped from the Cabinet in 1998 and Didiza took charge of the ministry. A number of senior officials associated with Hanekom and caught up in an ideological dispute between policies have found themselves out of the department. The most prominent casualty of this dispute was the former Land Bank managing director Helena Dolny. Lund and Nkosi, who have been with the department since its inception, were not available for comment. DidizaOs representative Gay Khaile said the process of restructuring which the minister had inherited has been under way for more than a year. There will be three deputy directors general instead of the existing two, which required the positions to be advertised.

The three will be responsible for financial management, land reform and deeds, survey and mapping and, says Khaile, current deputy directors general are not excluded from applying. Among OHanekomOs menO who have already left the department are director general Geoff Budlender and chief directors Richard Levine and Snakes Nyoka. Another chief director, Lala Steyn, is also believed to be leaving.

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