Former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Parliament - The National Assembly on Thursday approved a once-off gratuity of R2.1 million for former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson who lost her post in President Jacob Zuma's March Cabinet reshuffle.

The windfall was approved as part of the department's adjusted budget, and was diverted from funding earmarked for a national solar water heater project.

Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis objected to the payment, which had been cleared by National Treasury but needed parliamentary approval.

Davis said Joemat-Pettersson did not deserve a reward as the still unexplained sale of South Africa's strategic oil reserves at a heavily discounted price in December 2015 happened on her watch.

She denied that the transaction, which happened without the required approval from National Treasury, had been a sale, and claimed that it was rotation of unsuitable oil stock instead. But her successor Mmamoloko Kubayi confirmed that the reserves had in fact been sold. 

Davis said: "Instead of holding her accountable for her actions, this adjusted budget proposes giving the former minister a R2.1 million reward in the form of a 'once-off gratuity'. To make matters worse, the R2.1 million is to be deducted from a renewable energy project.
"Why should we give minister Joemat-Pettersson a R2.1 million golden handshake when she personally authorised the theft of our oil reserves at a cost of R2 billion to our economy?"

African News Agency