PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has slapped Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson on the wrist for spending R1.6- million of public funds on lengthy stays at lavish hotels in one year by simply reprimanding her.
Zuma yesterday wrote to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, informing him he had reprimanded Joemat-Pettersson for violating the executive ethics code.
Public protector Thuli Madonsela last year found the agriculture minister guilty of breaching the ethics code by, among others, spending more than R420000 at a Johannesburg guest-house during the 2010 Fifa World Cup and another R151000 of taxpayers' money to fly her children home from a holiday in Sweden. Zuma's reprimand of Joemat-Pettersson follows a recommendation by Madonsela that he should take action against his minister for her breach of the ethics code.
The DA said yesterday Zuma had been soft on Joematt-Pettersson and it would ask parliament's joint ethics committee to look into the matter.
Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj dismissed suggestions the agriculture minister had merely been slapped on the wrist, saying the president had dealt with her "sufficiently".
Zuma's letter does not indicate whether Madonsela's recommendation that the R151000 used to fly Joemat-Pettersson's family from Sweden be refunded, had or would be complied with.