Cape Town - Embattled Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has hit out at the media, accusing it of making misleading statements about her trip to Sweden with her family in December 2009 that led to an investigation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Joemat-Pettersson has denied that she was extravagant, or that she ever asked to stay in luxurious accommodation. She was responding to Madonsela’s release this week of a report, “Costly Moves”, following the public protector’s investigation into a complaint by the DA’s Lourie Bosman last year that Joemat-Pettersson had violated the executive ethics code by allegedly using public funds recklessly for hotel and guesthouse accommodation, and allegedly undertaking a trip to Sweden at state expense in December 2009 on the pretext that it was an official trip.
Madonsela found that Joemat-Pettersson had failed to concern herself with the prudent use of public funds relating to her accommodation expenses.
Madonsela upheld Joemat-Pettersson’s argument that she had been misled by her chief of staff, Bafedile Bopape, that the department had to pay for the return flights of her two children and their au pair from Sweden in January 2010 .
But Madonsela said this had nevertheless been “unlawful”, and recommended that “appropriate action” be taken by the department to recover from Joemat-Pettersson the R151 858 cost of these tickets and that Bopape face disciplinary action.