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DA: Statement by Pieter Van Dalen, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, on abuse of public money by the Agriculture Minister (29/05/2012)

29th May 2012


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A reply to a parliamentary question has revealed how the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spent over R180 000 between September and November on ANC T-shirts dished out to prospective voters in a Cederberg by-election in September last year.

This is a clear abuse of public money for party political purposes.


We will officially refer the matter to the Public Protector to conduct an Ethics investigation into Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson for abusing her office and public resources to campaign for the ANC.

Photos of the Department’s event show how t-shirts < bearing the ANC slogan “Working together we can build better communities through fisheries” were distributed to residents as a vote-winning exercise.


The reply reveals that 1 000 of these t-shirts were handed out and catering was provided for 1000 people. The minister attempted to justify the obvious abuse of state funds to campaign for the ANC by quoting sections of the Department’s Strategic Plan.

But nowhere does the Strategic Plan permit government to use taxpayer’s funds to run political campaigns. This is also decidedly at odds with the regulations of the PFMA, though the department denies this in its reply.

The by-elections were scheduled for 7 September and 9 November respectively, with the Department events taking place in the weeks running up to those elections.

By campaigning for the ANC in this way, the Minister has again shown that she does not care about the responsible use of public resources. She is already being investigated by the Public Protector for racking up R1.6 million in domestic hotel stays and nearly R900 000 in overseas flights.

Minister Joemat-Pettersson needs to get a serious grip on the finances of her Department and what they are used for. She needs to learn that abusing government money – whether it is for ANC campaigns or her own comfort – is not okay.


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