/ 11 July 2008

AgriSA slams dismissal of Land Bank chairperson

Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana’s decision to fire Land Bank chairperson Themba Langa will leave the institution in disarray, AgriSA said on Friday.

”AgriSA is extremely disappointed that the reputation and capacity of the Land Bank as development finance institution have been further undermined,” the organisation’s president, Lourie Bosman, said in a statement.

The endless dismissal of senior officials at the bank has compromised the institution’s ability to discharge its core functions, he said.

”Events during the past few years have resulted in the Land Bank becoming an increasingly smaller player as a credit provider to the agricultural sector, nor have the challenges pertaining to the transformation agenda of agriculture been addressed satisfactorily,” Bosman said.

Perennial problems at the Land Bank have made it difficult for new entrants in the sector to access finance while forcing established farmers to do business with commercial banks.

”In order to make a meaningful contribution towards development funding, the confidence and support of commercial farmers and agricultural institutions that are financed by the bank are critical,” Bosman said.

Langa has also been removed as a member of the Land Bank board of directors.

”The minister removed Mr Langa from his position because of disregarding collective decisions of the board, undermining decision-making processes of the board and unilateral decision-making,” the agriculture ministry and Land Bank board said in a statement earlier in the week.

The board’s deputy chairperson, Professor Herman van Schalkwyk, will act as chairperson until further notice. A new chairperson will be appointed as soon as possible. — Sapa