OBP – farmers and vets boil

The Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) is operating in a pendulum, with no signs of management stability.  

Intervention by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, stemmed from arresting the ongoing impasse between the Chief Executive Officer and some ‘faceless characters.’

“Following allegations of mismanagement and wrong doing within the OBP, I have tasked the Director-General Mr Mdu Shabane to establish a process to ensure that all allegations raised by various stakeholders are investigated without fear or favour,” said Minister Didiza when appointing an interim board to weeks ago.

Matters have now escalated beyond the gates of OBP. Insiders say that at the OBP vaccine testing station, employees have been on strike for the past two weeks.

This situation has left farmers and vets from Potchefstroom and Limpopo bitterly frustrated with calls and emails not answered. As it is, almost all private pharmacies specialising in livestock are reporting shortage of reagents.  

Farmers in Limpopo further complained about state vets unable to visit farms due to shortage of vaccines from OBP.

One farmer interviewed said the strike at OBP caused a lot of delays as they could not get results of their samples and blood tests.

“Some of the tests are already being sent to the Cape, but some can only be done in Pretoria. I do not know if you are aware of that” he said angrily.

Reached for comment, spokesperson of OBP Lindiwe Mabena, cheekily referred us back to the department.

The department had said it was aware of the murmurs but could not at this stage establish the veracity of the claims and were still studying arising developments.

On 22 July 2020, Mzansi Agriculture Talk published a scathing opinion by OBP, openly challenging ‘faceless characters’ besmirching the credibility of its Chief Executive Officer, Baptiste Dungu.

“Whilst we have no direct evidence as to the identities of these people, we can only surmise that these could be disgruntled employees, past and present, running scared of the CEO’s and the Board’s zero tolerance on financial mismanagement, corrupt activities, poor performance, lack of accountability, etc.” it said.

It was concerning that the CEO of OBP was not taking farmers into confidence regarding the employee strike and shortage of reagents. 

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