Dept backs Joemat-Pettersson

The Agriculture Dept says its minister should be applauded for her hard work.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department has defended controversial Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, saying she should be applauded for all the work she's done under such a big portfolio.

Last month the Public Protector recommended President Jacob Zuma take action against Joemat-Pettersson for maladministration and wasteful spending in the awarding of an R800 million tender to Sekunjalo Consortium.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is now calling, yet again, for the minister to be sacked.

But the minister's spokesperson, Palesa Mokomele, says the department is contesting the Public Protector's findings.

"The recommendations are currently with the president so we're also waiting for any action that the president will take."

She says it must be remembered the minister has been leading a relatively new department, which covers three very important sectors since its creation in 2009.

"Bearing that in mind and bearing the challenges of three very vast and different sectors, we have to applaud her for what she has done up to now. It's not easy to get three departments, you have to merge."