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Joemat-Peterson guilty of reckless spending

Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson spent state money on personal holidays, the public protector has found.

Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson spent state money on personal holidays, the public protector has found.

JOHANNESBURG - Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson has been found guilty on two counts of reckless public spending, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela revealed on Monday.

The findings relate to claims that the minister had wasted hundreds of thousands of rand on expensive accommodation and overseas trips.

The Public Protector analysed numerous allegations that Joemat-Peterson used state money to pay for these trips.

Madonsela said Joemat-Peterson was responsible for reckless and irresponsible expenditure in at least two cases.

She said she found proof that the minister stayed at an expensive guesthouse during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

He accommodation cost R420,000 in taxpayers' money.

Madonsela said it was reckless to spend more than R151,000 of state money on return tickets to Sweden for her children and an au-pair.

Joemat-Peterson's trip was for a government conference and a personal holiday.

"The minister's justification was that she was advised by her chief of staff that she could pay for her children and au-pair. However, the fact that the department was not supposed to incur the costs remains a reality."

Madonsela called on the department to find ways to recover the costs.