27 November 2012

South Africa: Media Response On the Findings of the Public Protector - Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

press release

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has noted the findings of the Public Protector's report on the alleged violation of the Executive Ethics Code by Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The misleading claims made by various media reports warrant clarification. It is incomprehensible that the Minister is accused, by the media, of using public money to fund the holiday of her children and their au pair. We wish to emphasise that the Minister paid for the return tickets and accommodation for her children and their au pair. In addition, she covered the costs of the changes to the tickets. These costs were non-refundable. The Minister would have purchased new return tickets for all three if she had been correctly advised.

The Minister was not allocated an official residence at the time. She is a single parent with minor children and has the responsibility to provide suitable accommodation for them. She stayed in a reasonably priced guesthouse in Pretoria for six (6) months, which she vacated due to circumstances beyond her control.

Therefore, the request for any luxurious accommodation was not at her behest. The Minister spent significant time, money and personal effort to relieve the burden that her lack of accommodation was placing on the state. To date, she still lives in temporary accommodation in Cape Town. The perception by the media that the Minister was extravagant is rejected with the contempt it deserves.

Subject to the above, the Ministry, however, welcomes the remedial action recommended by the Public Protector and will develop an implementation plan to be submitted to the Public Protector within the stipulated time frame.

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