Zokwana interrupts disciplinary hearing to ‘protect classified documents’

Zokwana interrupts disciplinary hearing to ‘protect classified documents’

Mr Senzeni Zokwana, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is seen during a press briefing at GCIS, 6 February 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The minister believes the hearings could affect ongoing investigations by the Hawks, the NPA, and the Public Protector.

Controversy surrounds Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana who has gone the extra mile in an attempt to halt the disciplinary hearings of three officials.

The minister, represented by advocate Porchia Long submitting on his behalf, argued the need to protect classified documents in an attempt to halt disciplinary proceedings against deputy director general Siphokazi Ndudane, Nazime Parker, and Thembalethu Vico

He believes the hearings could affect ongoing investigations by the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority, and the Public Protector. Zokwana has also attempted to get a court order from the Western Cape High Court to stop the director general Mzamo Mlengana from continuing with proceedings in an effort to protect the classified documents. Zokwana argues that some of the testimonies could touch on the protected disclosures and possibly affect national security.

It was tabled that Zokwana had attempted to resolve the matter with director general Mlengana as he felt the investigations should be dealt with by external law enforcement agencies.

A New24 report alleges whistleblowers made certain protected disclosures to Zokwana while he was on suspension. Zokwana appealed to Mlengana, who continued, despite Zokwana’s instructions to halt proceedings, to institute the disciplinary proceedings against the three officials.

Long has submitted an interim order to prevent the use of documents when the hearing continues on Thursday.

The investigation against Zokwana continues after City Press reported that former president Jacob Zuma was being investigated by the Hawks for allegedly accepting a R1 million cash bribe from a Western Cape abalone dealer in exchange for keeping Minister Zokwana in his cabinet.

The Citizen earlier reported that an affidavit submitted to the Lyttleton Police station in Centurion alleges that businessman Chaile Seretse, Zokwana, union federation Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, and agriculture department deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane each received a R300,000 bribe from the same businessman, Deon Larry.

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