Sunday, December 16, 2018
Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Department of Energy

JOEMAT-PETTERSSON has been elusive since her appointment as energy minister. She infuriated parliamentarians in 2015 by bunking a critical meeting to draft a plan to tackle the country’s electricity crisis. She also wasn’t around when news broke that state oil and gas company Petrosa (which falls under her remit) had made a jaw-dropping R14.5bn loss. Then in October, an astounded auditor-general, Thembekile Kimi Makwetu, demanded to know why she hadn’t bothered to draft plans to rescue her failed units. She wasn’t there of course and her department officials said they hadn’t been able to pin her down in over a year. Her efforts to increase the levels of renewables and oil and gas to the energy mix have ground to a halt. Independent coal-fired producers balked at bidding to supply power to South Africa’s IPP programme throughout 2015 partly because Joemat-Pettersson threw a curve ball when she announced that these projects had to 51% locally owned. The nuclear power project is also on hold. The estimated R1-trillion price tag and the murky deals signed, most notably with Russia, have seen experts, economists and the former finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, object. Joemat-Pettersson, though, has denied binding deals have been made and promised the programme would proceed. But she’s been foiled by finance minister Pravin Gordhan who said the programme won’t go ahead until the country has the cash.


After a scandal-wracked five years as minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, her appointment in 2014 as energy minister raised alarm in some circles. She was born in diamond mining town of Kimberley, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, and holds a BA in English and History from the University of the Western Cape and a higher diploma in education.