Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana. Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Johannesburg - Newly appointed Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana has denied that a gift of brandy was a bribe in order to acquire land in the Eastern Cape, the City Press reported on Sunday.

The chief of Ntshatshongo village in Willowvale, Manduleli Bikitsha, is taking Zokwana to court, alleging that the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries is occupying land in the area illegally.

Bikitsha said that Zokwana did not follow the correct procedure to acquire the land according to traditional practice and instead used a gift of alcohol to secure occupation of the area where he keeps his cattle.

“Zokwana did not follow that process. He simply gave (a headman) brandy and thought that was enough,” Bikitsha said.

Zokwana confirmed to the newspaper that he was using the land “for now” but insisted that he had followed the correct process.

“The village people, the community gave me the land. A person of my stature knows protocol in these situations and I followed it to the letter.”

Zokwana confirmed he had given the brandy but said that it was a normal practice in rural communities to give brandy when a person wanted to acquire land.

The case is now set to be heard on June 26 in the Willowvale Magistrate's Court. - Sapa