Loved and Lost: Tina Joemat-Pettersson 

By Zukile Majova
Political Editor

(18 December 1963 – 5 June 2023)

Tributes are pouring in following the death of ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson at the age of 59. She was found deceased at her home.

At the time of her death Joemat-Pettersson was the chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Policing.

A member of the ANC national executive committee, she was held in high esteem by ANC members who nominated her from the floor to contest the position of first deputy secretary-general at the party’s election conference in December 2022.

She lost the contest to Nomvula Mokonyane.

Having evolved from a supporter of Jacob Zuma, she read the winds of change and presented herself as a supporter of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This saved her political career, with the party’s Integrity Commission clearing her from a charge of bringing the party into disrepute.

This stemmed from a 2019 finding by former public protector Thuli Madonsela who found that, when she was minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (2009 – 2014), Joemat-Pettersson spent over R150,000 to fly her two children and their nanny home from an overseas trip in 2010. 

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said: “Neither the Zondo Commission, public protector nor the courts have made adverse findings against her. On the strength of this, it was resolved that she is a member in good standing.”

With South Africa already battling a power shortage crisis, Joemat-Pettersson was appointed minister of energy (2014 – 2017) in Zuma’s cabinet.

In that portfolio more trouble followed after the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), which reports to the Central Energy Fund, an entity in the Department of Energy, sold 10.3-million barrels of South Africa’s oil reserves for less than the market rate. 

At the time Joemat-Pettersson claimed this had not been a sale but a rotation. The cover-up was exposed in the Western Cape High Court where it was found the SFF sold oil reserves worth over R7 billion to 10 oil traders for R5 billion.

Also during her term as energy minister, the Western Cape High Court intervened to block Joemat-Pettersson’s 9.6 GW of nuclear energy deal with Russia which she had pushed through without it being debated in parliament.

Controversy followed her right to the very end after suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s husband David Skosana opened a case with the Hawks targeting Richard Dyantyi, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee, and ANC MPs Joemat-Pettersson and Pemmy Majodina.

Skosana accused Joemat-Pettersson of trying to extort R600 000 from his family in exchange for the MPs to drop the ongoing probe into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

The ANC said it was deeply saddened by her death while FF-plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald said she was not hostile to the views of the opposition as chairperson of the portfolio committee.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu said funeral arrangements would be announced in due course.

Pictured above: Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Picture source: Twitter


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