Minister of agriculture, forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, said he was delighted to partner with the Nansen in order to gain a better understanding of the country's fisheries environment.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape has called for an urgent investigation into allegations of graft and State capture at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

The City Press newspaper reported on Sunday that former President Jacob Zuma accepted a R1 million cash bribe to keep minister of DAFF Senzeni Zokwana in his role in order to prioritise abalone processing and fishing permits for select companies in the Western Cape.

Beverley Schäfer, DA Western Cape spokesperson on economic opportunities, tourism, and agriculture, said what was most concerning was the allegation that DAFF deputy director-general, Siphokazi Ndudane, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, and Zokwana himself all received R300,000 bribes from Western Cape businessmen for facilitating talks with Zuma.

"I call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently launch a full inquiry into the clear state capture of DAFF, and to remove Minister Zokwana from his position immediately if he truly cares about cleaning up rampant corruption in national government, as promised in his 2018 State of the Nation Address," Schäfer said.

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"President Ramaphosa must also conduct a complete overhaul of the department following the arrest of nine DAFF officials in connection with abalone poaching just this month."

Schäfer accused DAFF of clearly not caring about fulfilling its departmental mandate, at a high cost to the fishermen and women robbed of jobs, and the Western Cape fishing communities ravaged by rampant abalone poaching. 

"The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape understands that fishing and agriculture are a lifeline to employment and prosperity for thousands of our residents," Schäfer said.

"We refuse to let the deeply entrenched corruption in the ANC’s government rob our people of jobs, and endanger our communities by creating an enabling environment for criminal abalone syndicates."

 African News Agency/ANA