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DA urges Zuma to get rid of Joemat-Pettersson

13 January 2014
Sue Blaine

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma should “pull the plug” on Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson following Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report last month‚ the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday.

Ms Madonsela recommended — for the second time — that Mr Zuma consider disciplinary action against Ms Joemat-Pettersson.

“It is now abundantly clear that Minister Joemat-Pettersson is not fit for public office. The only person who can remove her from her position in Cabinet is President Zuma. He must pull the plug on Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s term of office. It is time for her to go‚” said DA agriculture‚ forestry and fisheries shadow minister Pieter van Dalen.

In her December finding‚ Ms Madonsela pointed to maladministration‚ improper conduct‚ and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in what she described as mismanagement of aspects of South Africa’s R5bn fishing industry on Ms Joemat-Petersson’s watch.

In 2012‚ on Ms Madonsela’s recommendation‚ Mr Zuma reprimanded Ms Joemat-Pettersson for violating the executive ethics code. This was after Ms Joemat-Pettersson unlawfully spent about R150‚000 on return flights for her two children and their au pair from Sweden to South Africa in January 2010.

“This is the second time Minister Joemat-Pettersson had been implicated in an offence by the public protector‚” said Mr van Dalen.

“The last time she escaped with a mere slap on the wrist. This time she cannot be allowed to escape the consequences of her actions.”

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the matter was receiving attention from the Presidency‚ and Mr Zuma would inform the public after he had taken a decision.

This is not the first time the DA has called for Ms Joematt-Petersson to go. Mr van Dalen said she should have been fired last year after Parliament’s agriculture‚ forestry and fisheries portfolio committee was told fisheries management was clearly “in the wrong hands”.

This was said in a report by Parliament’s research unit intended to guide MPs from all parties in their oversight of state departments.

Mr van Dalen said he had approached Parliament’s ethics committee chairman Ben Turok and standing committee on public accounts chairman Themba Godi‚ and had asked them to investigate the minister’s conduct. © BDlive 2013

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