The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), a statutory body reporting to the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, has suspended its chief executive officer, Zama Xalisa, over allegations of misconduct relating to “lack of diligence and judicious execution of duties”.
“The board has taken a decision to put Mr Xalisa on precautionary suspension with pay, effective October 2, on allegations of misconduct”, following an investigation, said the council.
When pressed on what was meant by “lack of diligence and judicious execution of duties” the council failed to respond to The Citizen.
Acting chairperson Harry Prinsloo said suspension “forms part of consideration of the findings and implementation of recommendations”.
Earlier this year, The Citizen reported that an unauthorised performance bonus of R355,000 was paid to Xalisa without conducting a performance evaluation.
According to an internal letter, seen by The Citizen at the time, Xalisa had persisted on being evaluated before the end of the financial year in contravention of the performance contract and performance management system.
Xalisa had denied any wrongdoing and said his performance evaluation was done after he had been paid the performance bonus and, therefore, there was no need to pay back the money.
We also reported that a performance audit report conducted by the office of the auditor-general had found that board members were fleecing the entity by paying themselves board meeting fees for meetings for which no minutes, attendance registers and claim forms were submitted.
Sindile Faku, who was a member of the council, had resigned without giving reasons for his resignation. “Mr Faku tendered his resignation to the minister,” Prinsloo said.
“Essentially, council specific matters with respect to appointments and resignations are dealt with at ministerial level. There was however, no indication of the reasons for his resignation.”
In the interim, Dr Simphiwe Ngqangweni, a senior manager of the Markets and Economic Research Centre at the NAMC, has been appointed as acting chief executive officer for the duration of Xalisa’s suspension. Attempts to reach Xalisa for comment were unsuccessful.