27 February 2013

South Africa: MPs Warn Officials for Holding Info

press release

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has received a tongue-lashing from Members of Parliament for consistently withholding discussion documents "until the last minute."

Members of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries met recently to discuss the nomination of new board members of the Agricultural Research Council, an entity of the department.

The term of office for the current board expires in May this year, making it an urgent matter. Chairperson Mr Lulu Johnson, supported by other members, said the committee could not continue with the nomination process, because they needed time to go through the candidates.

"As the committee we should received the list of names and their profiles in advance from the Department, so that we can apply our minds carefully and make an informed decision. Our role is not just to 'rubber stamp' the decisions of the government," Mr Johnson said.

"Agricultural Research Council board members end their term in three months, and the nomination and appointment of the new board members may take longer than anticipated," he added. "We are not sure how many of the current members are still eligible to continue serving on the board and how many have served their maximum terms."

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