Agricultural economist Thabi Nkosi has been appointed as the new non-executive chairperson of the Land Bank. Finance minister Enoch Godwongana said the appointment was in recognition of her particular professional and academic talents, as well as the “urgent and continuing need to achieve gender equality in the workplace”.
The term of the previous board of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa ended on November 30. Godongwana recommended that Cabinet appoint and reappoint ten non-executive board members. He nominated Nkosi as non-executive chairperson, to which Cabinet agreed.
Nkosi, who is a respected agricultural economist, has diverse and extensive experience in agribusiness, agricultural policy-making, and agribusiness operations.
She has worked in numerous positions in the field, in both the private and public sector. Currently, she serves as an independent non-executive trustee for the National Empowerment Fund and chairperson of Mintirho Foundation (Coca-Cola Bottlers SA Agriculture Investment Fund). She serves as an advisory director for the agritech company KHULA.
Godongwana says there is compelling evidence that the uneven playing field between women and men, in terms of employment, income and education, comes at a huge cost to the economy and broader society.
“This is why, in addition to the moral imperative, we must not flinch away from the goal of achieving gender equity, especially when we have an abundance of young, highly qualified, and skilled women eager to contribute to the betterment of the country through public service,” Godongwana said.
As non-executive chairperson of the board of the Land Bank, Nkosi will be leading the revival of the country’s largest agricultural-focused lender. It is currently in dire financial straits.
Her qualifications include a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a post-graduate diploma in business administration and management and an MSc and BSc (Agric) in Agricultural Economics.
Nkosi was appointed along with two other female black professionals in other key positions in the public service. Pamela Mondliwa was appointed as Godongwana’s special advisor on economic policy. Nokwanda Mahori is the new parliamentary liaison to the ministry of finance.
Tobacco smuggling ringleader jailed
The South Africa Tobacco Transformation Alliance (SATTA) has said it is “greatly encouraged” by the jailing of DP Naik, a director of Oakbay Trading, and a central player in Southern Africa’s illicit tobacco criminal network.
Naik was sentenced to ten years in jail, thanks to action by the South African Revenue Service, for falsifying export documents and diverting cigarettes back into the South African market without paying excise and duties.
His criminal network was responsible for “exporting” cigarettes to Zambia, when they had in fact been round-tripped and sold illegally in South Africa. This enabled Naik to dodge paying customs and excise charges of around R18-million.
According to SATTA Spokesperson Zacharia Motsumi this approach is not new. However, it is the first time in a long time that they have seen such decisive action against it by SARS. Motsumi said they are encouraged by it.
“The illicit sector, of which Naik is a part, has devastated the South African tobacco market, and illegal sales now far outnumber those sold legally.
“We say thank you to SARS for acting against Naik and his company and hope to see equally decisive action against the other top dogs involved in this criminal activity. Their names are known, their centre of operation is known, and their networks are known,” said Motsumi.
SATTA said it wants SARS to keep up the pressure. SATTA vowed to cooperate in whatever way it can.
“We look forward to seeing the illicit networks being dismantled, piece by piece – with their products destroyed, their machines and vehicles confiscated, and their time in jail as lengthy as possible,” said Motsumi.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.