Cape Town - DA MP Pieter van Dalen has asked the Hawks to investigate Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson following the public protector’s probe into her department’s awarding of an R800 million tender to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said in her report last month that Joemat-Pettersson had interfered with the investigation into the tender process and had tried to have the probe shut down.
Van Dalen said this was in violation of section 11 of the Public Protector Act and constituted a criminal offence and also violated section 181 (4) of the constitution.
Madonsela said in her report that a week before she was due to release her draft report, Joemat-Pettersson had tried to “incite” Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe to stop the investigation on the grounds that the investigation was “unnecessary”.
Madonsela viewed the minister’s act as interfering with her investigation and an attempt to undermine the independence of two constitutional bodies. She said Joemat-Pettersson’s interference was at odds with the constitution, which held that no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of Chapter 9 institutions.
Van Dalen said on Monday that this was the second time Joemat-Pettersson had been found guilty of an offence by the public protector.
“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. I have therefore laid formal criminal charges against Joemat-Pettersson,” Van Dalen said.
He also called on President Jacob Zuma to “take the necessary action in accordance with the findings of the public protector”.
In her recommendations for remedial action Madonsela recommended that Zuma consider disciplinary action against Joemat-Pettersson for her “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss of confidence in the fisheries industry in South Africa and alleged decimation of fisheries resources in South Africa and delayed quota allocations due to lack of appropriate research”.
The minister’s spokeswoman, Palesa Mokomele, said: “Any response to this issue will be made in court. We will respond then.”
Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko confirmed that Van Dalen had approached the unit to investigate the matter and that it was looking into the information he had presented. No charge had been formulated yet. He said the procedure was that if the investigation uncovered any wrongdoing, a criminal case would be opened.