Former environmental portfolio committee chair Langa Zita is set to become the next director general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. According to well-placed sources in the department, Zita's name has been forwarded as first choice to Public Services Minister Richard Baloyi and Cabinet for approval.
Zita has a strong background in the South African Communist Party, is said to be a close ally of Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi and has been one of Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's closest advisers in the past few months.
Zita was not initially in the running for the position, after Njabulo Nduli left the department last year. But by the time a second round of interviews took place, he was closely involved in departmental decision-making and had emerged as favourite.
Not everyone is happy with Zita's looming appointment. Factions in the department who oppose him are worried about his management skills. Other department officials said that while they were sceptical at first about his quick rise in the department, they had grown to respect his socialist background and described him as an intellectual who cares deeply about pro-poor and agricultural issues.