Unions have expressed the belief that the merger, which came into effect on April 1, was rushed.
THE MEC for the newly established Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mase Manopole, said she would continue to engage with employees and ensure that all staff were placed following the merging of two departments.
Staff members had previously burnt tyres outside the offices of the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation in Kimberley in protest against the merger.
The Public Servants Association of SA (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) had both expressed the belief that the merger, which came into effect on April 1, was rushed. Concerns had been raised regarding the shortage of office accommodation, the duplication of posts and cases where employees were promoted before the process was concluded.
Manopole said the merger was in line with Premier Zamani Saul’s pronouncement in 2019 that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development be merged with the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation, to form a new Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development.
“The establishment of the new department is influenced by the need to rationalise provincial departments for better alignment and co-ordination for improved service delivery. I am aware that there have been a number of concerns from some of our employees,” said Manopole.
“The premier has always undertaken that no one will lose their jobs and that all staff will retain their existing conditions of service.
“I also want to reiterate that I will continue to engage in a seamless and consultative process with employees who will be placed in various units in the new department,” she added.
The MEC indicated that the new department would continue to ensure that rural communities, women and the youth become important role-players in the agriculture and environmental sectors.
“Farmers will be assisted to adopt sustainable methods of production that will enhance productivity through research and extension services.
“Households will be encouraged and supported to produce their own food as part of the food insecurity mitigation plan.
“In addition, the new department will provide leadership in environmental management, conservation and protection towards sustainability for the benefit of the people of the Northern Cape and South Africans in general.”