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13 Mar 2013 15:33
In November last year, Thuli Madonsela recommended that Zuma consider reprimanding Tina Joemat-Pettersson for violating the executive ethics code. (David Harrison, M&G)
Zuma's reprimand of Joemat-Pettersson for breaching the executive code of ethics is nothing more than a slap on the wrist for a minister who deserves to be kicked out of Cabinet, the Democratic Alliance spokesperson Annette Steyn said on Wednesday.
It was clear that Zuma was willing to "sacrifice accountability and clean government to protect members of the Cabinet who are politically close to him".
"In doing so, it sets the dangerous precedent that government officials can behave in whatever manner they please, provided they find themselves in the right faction of the ANC," she said.
In November last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended that Zuma consider reprimanding Joemat-Pettersson for violating the executive ethics code.
Madonsela said, among other things, the department's acting director general should recover about R150 000 which Joemat-Pettersson unlawfully incurred for return flights for her two children and their au pair from Sweden to South Africa in January 2010.
Failed to apply his mind
The City Press reported at the time that Joemat-Pettersson claimed she cut short her holiday in Sweden and urgently flew back to South Africa – costing taxpayers R400 000 – to help out with Zuma's wedding.
Steyn said on Wednesday while Zuma read literally the protector's recommendation for the minister to be reprimanded, given her "blank cheque mentality", he failed to apply his mind to a range of other recent scandals involving her.
"This recommendation should have been the last straw. I will be writing to President Zuma to request that he take firmer action against the poor leadership of minister Joemat-Pettersson."
In particular, he should provide Parliament with details regarding the "supposed" factors that mitigated against her removal, Steyn said.
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