The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has suffered in recent years because of widespread corruption, MEC Themba Mthembu has said. "There appears to be an alliance of tenderpreneurs, corrupt officials, some trade union leaders and some powerful people who are bent on helping themselves in the department," Mthembu said on Friday.He made the statement after meeting with commodity associations to share the department's turnaround strategy for the next five years. Speaking very frankly, Mthembu conceded that there were "elements" in the department that were "captured". He said the department had been turned into "some kind of a paradise for tenderpreneurs".Read: There are corrupt officials in the agriculture department – Bheki Cele"The department has experienced some challenges which we are in the process of addressing."Since 2009, the department has seen four MECs come and go and has had at least 10 heads of department. "This high turnover of political principals and department heads has resulted in constant changes in policies and strategic programmes, with minimal implementation," Mthembu said. He said that the department had now taken stricter measures against corruption."We have since decided to have an internal anti-corruption committee which will sit on a regular basis and will also include organised labour."Mthembu said that strong partnerships would lay a foundation for a clear strategy for inclusive development. "Working together, we will create a platform to provide expertise to support smallholder and commercial black producers to achieve their potential."