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Sun Sep 25 02:21:18 SAST 2016

Chelsea flower show boozer fired

Staff reporter and Sapa | 12 September, 2013 01:25
Tami Sokutu
Image by: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Imbibing while on duty has cost an executive his job as the chairman of a prestigious statutory body.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa yesterday fired Tami Sokutu from his post as the chairman of the SA National Biodiversity Institute board, which promotes South Africa's flora. Sokutu is also an executive at African Bank.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Sokutu was drunk at the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May.

He was reportedly "too drunk to be allowed near guests at a party in South Africa House after the show".

He admitted that he was drunk but denied misbehaving.

Sokutu was quoted as saying: "The fact [is] that a few of us were drunk and I happened to be the chair and therefore noticeable.

"I mean it was a show, a number of us had wine and all that.

"With the combination of wines and alcohol that we were all drinking, I was kind of not quite focused, so to speak," he said.

Molewa's office said: "The minister has recently learnt of an incident that allegedly occurred in May 2013, pertaining to . the chair being under the influence of alcohol at the Chelsea Flower Show .

"In discussing these allegations with Tami Sokutu . the minister and Sokutu agreed that Sokutu should be released from his position as chairman of the board."

Molewa had taken into consideration that Sokutu had recently been on sabbatical and this, in some ways, did not allow him to effectively fulfil his role.

Molewa thanked Sokutu for his leadership over the past six years.

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