Cape Town - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman Lionel Adendorf has been suspended after he wrote a letter to the Cape Times criticising provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman last week.
Deputy director-general for Fisheries Greta Apelgren-Narkadien suspended Adendorf on Friday after the letter was published on February 14.
“It was the last straw,“ Apelgren-Narkadien told the Cape Times.
In the letter Adendorf described Fransman’s behaviour at a memorial service for rape and murder victim Anene Booysens as “inappropriate and disrespectful”. At the memorial Fransman launched an attack on Social Development MEC Albert Fritz and Safety MEC Dan Plato.
Adendorf is an ANC member and previously worked for the party when Mcebisi Skwatsha was chairman of the ANC.
Apelgren-Narkadien said Adendorf “attacked the deputy minister (Fransman) but didn’t declare it was his personal opinion”.
“Our employees have the right to speak to the media but they must say that this is their own opinion. I don’t think he did,” she said.
But Adendorf’s letter was not signed as the spokesman but in his private capacity, Lionel R Adendorf, Bonnievale.
Apelgren-Narkadien denied that she only acted against Adendorf after she received political pressure from Fransman or Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
“I don’t allow people to dictate how I should do my job. No politician will defend my decision,” she said.
Apelgren-Narkadien said Adendorf will be suspended for 60 days for a disciplinary hearing.
She said Adendorf’s suspension was based on three concerns: he didn’t organise press conferences or write articles for newspapers about complex issues in fisheries, he tweeted a “sexist” comment and wrote the letter to the Cape Times.
In the letter Adendorf also criticised Premier Helen Zille when he wrote she “did exactly the same thing Fransman did on Sunday, attacking Fransman in Anene’s name” when she protested outside Parliament last Monday.
Apelgren-Narkadien said she was notified of this but that this wasn’t part of the original complaint against Adendorf.
Adendorf didn’t want to comment on Monday.