Turton, CSIR cut ties

Suspended water researcher Anthony Turton is no longer employed at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the two parties said on Monday.

”The CSIR and Dr Turton have agreed, by way of a confidential agreement, that the employment relationship between them be terminated with effect [from] December 8 2008,” said a joint statement.

”The agreement was concluded without any acknowledgement of liability by either party and the parties wish each other the best in their respective future endeavours.”

The decision was taken in Pretoria.

Turton was suspended in November after the CSIR stopped him delivering an address on South Africa’s water quality at a conference.

CSIR head Sibusiso Sibisi said at the time Turton’s presentation was withdrawn because it was substantially different from the written paper that had been circulated previously.

The CSIR executive deemed the presentation unsuitable because of graphic pictures and poor demonstration of links between cause and effect.

The organisation also said at the time the researcher was suspended because of comments he made to the media.

Turton told the South African Press Association at the time he had extended an ”olive branch” to the CSIR. He said it was not correct that he leaked his paper to the media in advance of the conference.

He had intended the paper to be a non-controversial consensus position, and for that reason had circulated it ahead of time to a wide range of scientists, NGOs and government departments.

It was one of these NGOs, not himself, who sent it to the media.

He said he was in any case an authorised media spokesperson for the CSIR on water issues.

”I have no anger in my heart, I have no belligerence,” he said at the time.

”I have no interest in pursuing this to a higher level: I just want to continue doing my work as a scientist.” — Sapa

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