Joemat-Pettersson leaves with 'head held high'

Cape Town - Former Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says she did her best in the portfolio, and leaves with her head held high.

Speaking to Die Burger after she was appointed energy minister in President Jacob Zuma's new Cabinet, Joemat-Pettersson said the ministry was on a downward slope when she took over.

She said she made more funding available for research and trade, and ensured greater access to markets. However, she conceded she would have liked to have done more, especially providing faster disaster aid to commercial farmers.

Joemat-Pettersson also stated there was a "well orchestrated" campaign to discredit her, and she was blamed for a lot of problems, including the farm workers strike, whereas she actually travelled the country preventing further such strikes.

Both the Transvaal Agriculture Union and Agri-SA told Die Burger that Joemat-Pettersson was approachable and had an "open door" policy, but was also caught up in internal ANC battles.

In January, the DA gave Joemat-Pettersson her third F in its annual Cabinet report card, saying she was the subject of two damning public protector reports and should have been fired a long time ago.

She was also criticised for acting recklessly and unethically by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, in a report on the awarding of an R800m tender.

The new minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries is Senzeni Zokwana, former president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

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