The Business Day Editorial provides this gem of an opinion on our impressively contemptuous, damaging and destructive Minister of Fisheries (and Agriculture).
"THE African National Congress (ANC) has repeatedly said there should be no "holy cows" at Mangaung, yet there are clearly subjects — and individuals — that are considered above criticism or official reproach. Apart from the obvious example of President Jacob Zuma and his heavily subsidised domestic arrangements, another is Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson who, if not a holy cow, at least appears to be royal game.
How else could any Cabinet minister have survived the series of bungles she and her department have committed in recent months? The woman is a walking disaster area, not to mention political liability, yet there is no hint from the Presidency that her job may be on the line. Contrast that with the fate of party members who have been silly enough to cross Mr Zuma or defy the ANC line over the years.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson’s latest ill-considered act is her response to the public protector’s finding that she violated the executive ethics code, wasted taxpayers’ money and "displayed a blank-cheque attitude towards public funds". Rather than accept this slap on the wrist, Ms Joemat-Pettersson issued a statement rejecting the "media perception" that she is extravagant "with the contempt it deserves". She is correct — there is contempt involved, but it comes from her and is aimed at the public.
Some in the ANC struggle more than others to hide their irritation at having to tolerate somebody who is so obviously unsuited to a Cabinet position. The spectre of another Marikana in the farm sector now hangs over Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, prompted to a large extent by Ms Joemat-Pettersson’s reckless assurance to violently striking farm workers that the sectoral minimum wage would be reviewed forthwith, and that they would not face charges, despite having caused millions of rand in damages.
This was plainly not going to happen and Ms Oliphant is now having to deal with the fallout, which may well include renewed unrest next week. Add to this the recent serious errors and omissions by Ms Joemat-Pettersson’s department — the latest an unprecedented decision to ignore scientific advice to cut this season’s quota of west coast rock lobster — and questions arise that Mangaung delegates owe it to their party and country to answer: is there anything Ms Joemat-Pettersson could do or say that would invite censure? And, why is she untouchable?"
[END BUSINESS DAY OPINION]
Perhaps she is untouchable because she transferred R800 million intended for poverty relief projects to Zuma's Nkandla Compound (or no its racist to call it a Compound!) and essentially bankrupted the Zero Hunger Programme (ahh, nothing quite like these 'progressive' Mercedes-driving, 5 star-hotel-living communists making sure that the proletariat is equally poverty ridden). On 3 August 2012, the Mail & Guardian reported that -
"Two weeks ago [Middle of July 2012 - ed], Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, announced the donation of R800-million to Zuma's Masibambisane rural development programme at a government function in Qumanco in the Eastern Cape.
A department official told the Mail & Guardian this week that in doing so Joemat-Pettersson had in effect diverted the R100-million budget for the department's Zero Hunger Programme to Zuma's project. The Zero Hunger Programme is a government initiative to support smallholder farmers and food security in rural areas.
"In essence, the department does not have a budget for the Zero Hunger Programme anymore," said the official. "There was a celebratory mood that, with this intervention, Tina has secured the Eastern Cape for JZ. Initially, the department availed R800-million towards the mechanisation programme of the department to buy tractors and implements. R100-million of this budget was meant for the Zero Hunger Programme, but Tina insisted it [all R800-million] must go to JZ's project."