Cape Town - Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has again flouted the rule of law by failing to comply with a high court order, DA MP Annette Steyn said on Wednesday.
Steyn was referring to a January 9 ruling by the High Court in Pretoria that Joemat-Pettersson was in contempt of court for the backlog in the registration of certain vaccines and medicines to protect crops and animals against disease and pests.
The minister was declared in wilful contempt of an order issued in the same court in February 2011 following an application by the Association of Veterinary and Crop Associations of SA.
“The association brought the contempt application after months of negotiating to no avail with the ministry, to ensure that the order was complied with.
“She now has 30 days (from the date the order was granted) to comply with the court order,” said Steyn.
Joemat-Pettersson had until February 8 to ensure the Registrar of Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies cleared the backlogs.
Steyn said it was vital the backlogs were addressed as South Africa could fall behind in the competitive global market if approval for new medicines was not achieved in time.
“Parasites and micro-organisms are always adapting to overcome vaccines and medicines; it is for this very reason that new remedies and medicines must be constantly developed,” Steyn said.
Joemat-Pettersson had been ordered to pay the legal costs of the latest application.
The minister's spokeswoman Palesa Mokomela said they would comment later. - Sapa