Tina Joemat Pettersson

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela believed no court of law was likely to conclude she was irrational in finding that Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson had acted recklessly in the awarding of a tender, her office said.

“The public protector further believes that no court of law is likely to find that, with the facts before her, she was irrational in finding that the minister acted recklessly and improperly,” said spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi.

This was in respect of preserving the sea patrol and research functions of the department of agriculture.

Joemat-Petterson was taking the public protector to court to challenge her report on a tender to manage the state’s fishery vessels, which Madonsela said was improperly awarded.

Masibi said Madonsela commended the minister for respecting the rule of law by seeking to get a higher authority to review her decision.

“She – the public protector – however, believes the action is premature as the president has to apply his mind to the report and decide what to do with it.”

But Joemat-Pettersson viewed the situation differently.

“I will be asking the North Gauteng High Court to declare that the report, including the findings and recommendations, are reviewed, corrected and/or set aside,” she said in Cape Town on Sunday.

Papers were served on Madonsela on Friday.

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 the tender. Madonsela had res-ponded that her findings were final, the minister said.