OPINION

Tina Joemat-Pettersson must be suspended - Gordon MacKay

DA says Minister of Energy's call for investigation into fuel sales is nothing more than attempt to distract from her own incompetence

Strategic Fuel Fund Investigation: DA Calls For Minister’s Suspension 

28 July 2016

The decision today by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to investigate rogue activities of the Strategical Fuel Fund (SFF) - in part for the complete sale of South Africa’s strategic fuel stocks in December 2015 – is nothing more than an attempt by the Minister to distract from her own incompetence and cover up the blatant mismanagement at the Department of Energy.

Of further concern is the very flawed nature of the proposed investigation. 

The SFF are being investigated for activities flowing directly from a Ministerial directive. This would suggest that the directive itself will be subject to investigation and as such so too the Minister. It is therefore untenable that the Minister should retain her position while such an investigation is undertaken.

As such, I will today be writing to the President of the Republic, urging him to suspend Minister Joemat-Pettersson until an investigation conclusively exonerates the Minister of any wrong doing.

It should be noted the Minister is calling for an investigation of the activities of the SFF – the very activities that were approved by the Minister herself through the provision of a ministerial directive under the Central Energy Fund Act.

That the Minister is now investigating the actions taken by the SFF post facto strongly suggests that Minister and her Department are either grossly incompetent – in that they failed to grasp the fundamentals of the deal proposed by the SFF - or that the Department and SFF have deliberately misled the Minister. Of course, a third option is that the Minister knowingly participated in the sale for some yet unidentified personal gain. 

At the very least this investigation demonstrates the Minister’s gross incompetence or at the very worst indicates corrupt intentions. Neither of which is comforting for the South African tax payer. Joemat-Pettersson’s incompetence not only puts her own Department at risk, but pose a threat to jobs in the sector, which could see the figure of 8.9 million unemployed South Africans rise.  

If the Minister is serious in her intention to probe the ongoing mismanagement at the SFF and act in the best interest of South Africa – she would step aside and take some paid leave. 

Issued by Gordon MacKay, DA Shadow Minister of Energy, 28 July 2016