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DA looks to join fisheries court action

Cape Town - The DA will seek permission to intervene in Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's legal challenge to the public protector's report relating to her department, it said on Monday.

Democratic Alliance spokesman Pieter van Dalen said in a statement the DA would seek permission to join the legal proceedings as an intervening party.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Picture: GCIS. Credit: GCIS

Joemat-Pettersson said on Sunday she would approach the High Court in Pretoria in an attempt to have the report reviewed, and possibly set aside.

According to the department's head of legal services Kanthi Nagiah papers were served on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Friday.

Van Dalen said the proposed legal challenge was frivolous and premature.

“Indeed, the report can only be the subject of review once it is tabled and debated in Parliament,” he said.

Joemat-Pettersson said she was launching the legal challenge because Madonsela refused to reconsider her findings that the minister was guilty of improper conduct and maladministration in regard to a tender.

Madonsela's report “Docked Vessels” was released on December 4.

Madonsela recommended that President Jacob Zuma consider disciplinary action against Joemat-Pettersson for “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss of confidence in the fisheries industry in South Africa, alleged decimation of fisheries resources in South Africa and delayed quota allocations due to lack of appropriate research”.

Madonsela said the director general in the presidency should chart a course for taking action against Joemat-Pettersson within 30 days.

The public protector began the investigation after a complaint from the DA.

The party asked for a probe into the awarding of an R800 million contract to the Sekunjalo consortium to manage the department's fleet of research and patrol ships.

The contract was subsequently withdrawn.

Sapa

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