Council not consulted on story

In “Thwarted minister pulls rank on director general” (July 6), Charles Molele states that “the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries is in disarray and the situation is the same in the department’s state-owned enterprises [such as] the Agricultural Research Council, Onderstepoort Biological Products, Ncera Centre and the Perishable Products Exports Control Board”.

The Agricultural Research Council was not consulted prior to the publication of the story. We were not given a fair opportunity to present accurate facts and our perspective on the story. The claim that “the situation is the same” at the council is ­categorically inaccurate.

The council is led and managed professionally.
The leadership – president, chief executive and executive managers – has been in place longer than the minister and director general have been in office.

The council’s duly appointed board took office on June 1 2010 following an appropriate consultative process that included public nominations and parliamentary comments.

The board, through its chairperson, reports to the minister; the president and chief executive report to the board. Working relations between the executive management and the board have been without external interference. The minister has not interfered with the council’s governance or management.

The council refutes allegations that the dispute, if there is one, between the minister and the director general has led to interference. The council has not been involved in or affected in any manner by such a dispute, if it exists. – Jacob Mokgwatle, communications manager, Agricultural Research Council

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