AGRICULTURE permanent secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa faces the chop over the fertiliser saga which has sparked clashes between government officials and t
he Reserve Bank.
High-level sources said President Robert Mugabe had already approved the dismissal of Pazvakavambwa who was initially due to have been fired last week but could not because Public Service Commission chair Mariyawanda Nzuwah was not at work.
Nzuwah and Secretary to the Cabinet Misheck Sibanda were said to have been informed of the decision to relieve Pazvakavambwa of his duties.
Sources said Pazvakavambwa was supposed to have received his letter of dismissal on Tuesday after another failure to give him the letter on Monday. Mugabe was said to have authorised the dismissal before he left for Iran this week.
Pazvakavambwa is likely to be replaced by Arex director Shadreck Mlambo.
However, Pazvakavambwa said he was not aware of moves to fire him over the fertiliser saga which led to serious clashes between him and ministers on the one hand and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono on the other during a National Economic Recovery Council (Nerc) meeting last week.
Pazvakavambwa, who was arrested last year for allegedly stealing equipment at a farm, was said to have uttered harsh words against Gono at last week’s meeting during a heated debate over the fertiliser issue which involves South African company Intshona Agricultural Products. Reserve Bank officials said the fertiliser deal was regular but media reports insisted there were problems related to quality.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Pazvakavambwa said he was not aware of steps being taken to fire him.
“I have not been served with any letter. There is nothing like that. I am still at my work and if there is a dismissal or suspension letter, then I haven’t seen it,” he said.
Sources said his dismissal was endorsed after the Nerc meeting in which Gono clashed with several ministers, including Economic Development minister Rugare Gumbo, Deputy Finance minister David Chapfika and Industry and International Trade permanent secretary Christian Katsande, who accused him of not consulting on issues. Vice-President Joice Mujuru chaired the meeting in which Gono was attacked. He later stormed out of the meeting, according to reports.
Pazvakavambwa is being accused of trying to distance himself from the importation of inferior fertiliser from South Africa when he toured and tested samples of the product at the Intshona workshop in South Africa. He was also accused of failing to issue import permits on time.
This comes as Pazvakavambwa, Agriculture minister Joseph Made and Gono are next week expected to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture to answer questions on how inferior fertiliser was imported from South Africa.