Embattled Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson is facing a R1 million lawsuit for defamation by department official Sue Middleton.
Middleton, who was suspended last year as acting deputy director-general, has accused the minister of using taxpayers’ money to conduct personal vendettas, according to Die Burger.
Annette Steyn, the DA’s agriculture spokeswoman, said the news came as “no surprise” as the minister had become famous for using her position “to muscle her way into the administrative processes of the department to the point of suspending employees at will… as was the case with Middleton last year”.
Steyn said she would ask for the minister to appear before Parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture.
Yesterday Middleton referred all questions to her lawyer Glen Cassels. He could not be reached for comment but it is understood that Middleton had served papers on Joemat-Pettersson at the end of last year.
Middleton was at the centre of the row last year over the temporary appointment of Smit Amandla Marine to run one of the department’s research vessels.
While the ministry did not issue a statement on the matter yesterday, spokesman Pelsa Mokomele said a statement could be issued by the department today.
Last May Joemat-Pettersson told the Cape Town Press Club that she would crack down on allegedly corrupt officials in her department. Within hours she suspended Middleton for signing off a deal that would allow 15 Smit Amandla Marine personnel to provide skills on a navy ship researching the total allowable catch for hake on the SAS Africana.
At the time the minister said that her ministry was “not a Hollywood set”, but it gives it a jolly good shot.
We know that pharmaceutical companies are eyeing Africa for their next phase of growth.
It seems that therapeutic medicine is what the drug makers are looking to sell to African consumers as the continent’s population falls prey to lifestyle diseases like communities in the West, where pharmaceutical companies have been generating most of their revenues.
IMS Health forecasts show that by 2016 drug spending in Africa will reach $30 billion (R274bn), and the continent is set to overtake Latin America by 2020 if the market doubles from its current levels.
But Allergan, the largest cosmetic medicine player in the local industry, says that with the growth of the middle class on the continent, people no longer associate things like botox and dermal fillers only with movie stars. Aesthetic medicines are becoming more mainstream.
The anti-ageing market is anticipated to reach about $274bn this year, with more than $100bn of that devoted to aesthetics. “Africa generally is going to be a huge focus,” said Doug Ingram, the president of Allergan Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Allergan is one of the companies expecting to raise its market share. South Africa is one of its highest-growth markets right now after experiencing 25 percent growth in its dermal filler treatment for lips and 10 percent on botox last year.
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Donwald Pressly and Londiwe Buthelezi.